What factors play a part in high Connecticut River water levels?

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — It has been one active week for the Connecticut River, especially in Hampshire County near Northampton.

Monday, the first river flood warning was issued, meaning the river rose above its minor flood level of 112 feet. 

This type of flooding happens annually, and can even happen multiple times per year. The rising water comes primarily from the melting snowpack both up north and locally, as temperatures warm. Add a saturated ground from plenty of rain this month, and recent rain all across New England and you’ve got springtime river flooding.

The flood warning continued into Wednesday when 22News went to the Oxbow Marina to talk to the owner about what else plays a factor in the high water. 

“How much up north are we going to get, how much snow is there, up north, above Bellows Falls. That also is a factor involved. Uh, how full are the Army Corps of Engineers flood control dams, are they half full? Are they full? Can they hold more?,” Mick Dudah explained to 22News. 

For smaller local rivers, flooding any other time of the year is more from ongoing heavy rain, rather than melting snow.

Back in November 2018, it only took just about two inches of rain to raise the water high in the Westfield River. If it’s a wet month, and more rain is coming, the ground can’t soak up as much water, so more runs off into rivers. 

There were no river flood warnings as of Sunday afternoon, but later this week levels could get close as we’re expecting more rain.

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