What the record snow could mean for potential spring flooding

Tired of all the snow? Don’t wish for an instant warm-up quite yet.

A record-breaking month of snow could cause problems for parts of Minnesota down the road.

The last time Minnesota saw major snowmelt flooding was 2014. With all the snow on the ground right now - everyone wants to know - are we on track for a repeat?

According to the National Weather Service, the current snow layer is measuring out to three to five inches of water, depending on where you are in the state. Couple that with a heavily saturated soil and two to four feet of frost depth, that melted snow may have nowhere to go but out.

"A better way to talk about it: take a glass of water and in the summer, spill it on the cement and it goes elsewhere, that's like the frozen ground,” said FOX 9 Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard. “Take a glass and pour it on the grass, it absorbs. That's our best case scenario."

Leonard says right now, it’s too early to tell which way things will go.

"At this point, that's all we have: potential for flooding,” said Leonard. “There's a lot of factors that will go into the possibility of a spring flood. First and foremost, the forecast. How slowly we can melt down the pack."

“As we move through the month of March, if we get temperatures just getting into the 30s, mid-40s and temperatures going back below freezing at night that gives us what we call an orderly melt,” said Craig Schmidt, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. “So a little bit of melting, then it slows down. A little bit of melting then it slows down.”

Heavy spring showers or a sudden warm-up, however, will melt the surface snow before the ground can thaw.

“Models right now are showing a fairly decent, gradual warm-up and that would be the best possible scenario, but we’re keeping our eye on later in March,” said Schmidt.