Spring Flood Threat

(NBC News)  Spring may be here, but the long winter hasn't finished taking its toll on much of the United States.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting minor to moderate flood risk across much of the country.

National Weather Service scientist Rob Hartman says cold weather has put spring about two weeks behind.

"The atmosphere and landscape is just not ready to go.  I think we're ready but it's not ready," Hartman says.

When we finally do thaw out NOAA says about half the country will face a minor to moderate flood risk because of above average snow pack.

Most concerning is an area near the Great Lakes, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

"The riskiest situation they could be faced with would be a quick warm up this spring accompanied with some rainfall," Hartman warns.

People in flood prone areas are already preparing their homes.

It's a stark contrast to the West, which is stuck in a relentless drought.

In California some farmers and ranchers are cutting back on production and firefighters are preparing for another busy wildfire season.

Scientists are also predicting below normal temperatures this spring in the North and East, but warmer than normal conditions in much of the Southwest.

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