Why have these river floods lasted so long?

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Many residents across the Gulf Coast have asked why river flood events, particularly the one we have been experiencing, last weeks when the normal flooding in our area normally recedes after a day or two. News 5’s Caroline Carithers spoke with Jonathan Howell at the National Weather Service in Mobile about these details.

Howell explains, “We are experiencing some of the worst river flooding that we have seen across much of Alabama since 1979.”

Normally in our area, we see heavy rainfall rates all at once that go directly into our river basins and then flow into the Gulf of Mexico rather quickly. However, over the past couple of months, we have seen 200 percent to 300 percent above-average rainfall rates in areas to our north (central MS and northern AL). These areas happen to be where the headwaters of mainstream rivers that flow through our area are located. So the rain falls in these rivers and that water flows in large volumes over a large amount of time into our local rivers.

Howell also tells me that with the volume of water we have seen in our rivers, we have seen what we call backwater flooding. This means that the amount of water becomes too much for our main rivers and we start to see flooding in our creeks and tributaries, which has caused many homes to be flooded in our area.

River flooding is usually worse in the winter months than any other time in the year because this time of year we get more frequent cold fronts that bring heavy rain.

Check out the video for more details!

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