February 2018 divides Louisiana into two very different weather stories

Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 4:43 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When it comes to February's weather across Louisiana, we almost have a "Tale of Two States."

February rains were near-normal to below-normal for most areas near and south of the I-10/I-12 east-west corridor.  Most locations in that same area also recorded near-record to record warmth for the month.

For the remainder of the state, temperatures for February were again warmer-than-normal but not to record levels. However, the bigger February story for most central, western, and northern parishes was the rainfall.

With widespread double-digit rain totals for the month, February 2018 proved to be the "wettest" February on record for a number of locations in these parts of the state.  Monthly extremes included almost 14" of rain near Plain Dealing and a whopping 17" near Boyce (CENLA).

Of course, rains like these can leave agricultural fields unworkable. They also lead to river flooding. Serious flooding.

Minor-to-moderate flooding is underway along Louisiana's Red River Valley, a region that has been plagued by flooding frequently in the last couple of years.

For Louisiana's stretch of the Ouachita, flooding is not currently underway but waters heading south from Arkansas are expected to push that river into minor-to-moderate flood by the weekend.

Flooding is also occurring across much of the Calcasieu and the Sabine River basins in southwest Louisiana.

There has even been flooding in the eastern Florida Parishes along the Tangipahoa and Pearl Rivers, mainly due to water coming "downhill" form Mississippi.

The big rains were not limited to the Pelican State. In fact, February record and near-record rainfall was reported from Louisiana northward throughout much of the central Mississippi River Valley and across most of the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys.  That has led to flooding along the Mississippi main stem.

While crests forecasted along the Mississippi through Louisiana will come in well-below levels seen in 2011, peak river stages could reach "top 20" levels.

The main impact of the Mississippi River in Louisiana will occur between the levees: interrupting river commerce. However, issues such as seepage, sand boils, and even construction delays near the levees (imposed by the Corps of Engineers) can be expected.

Impacts will be seen in the Atchafalaya basin as well. Although rainfall throughout most of that basin was near-normal to below-normal in February, the combination of high flows from both the Red River and the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya are certain to push that river into flood.

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