Several people have contacted the WDAY weather office lately, noting that the snow piles have settled quite a bit and wondering if the spring flood threat has diminished because of this. Although the lack of much new snow since mid-January may have eased the concern a bit, the settling of the snow on the ground has absolutely nothing to do with the threat of flooding. Freshly fallen snow is about one part ice to ten parts air. Old snow that has been settling is still around two-thirds to three-quarters air. So when it settles, the ice is merely becoming denser.
There remains around four to four and a half inches of water in the snow around the region, about the same as there was in mid-January. There is already the basis for at least a moderate flood on the ground, with several weeks of potential precipitation to go. That we have not added much to the snow is a good thing. That the snow has settled means absolutely nothing.