High Humidity Spells More High Water

Thursday's downpours portend a heighted risk of flooding on Friday. Tony blogs up a new high water threat.

Thursday Evening Update

I have watched with close scrutiny this afternoon the new storm pattern. Heavy rains have dropped a quick .3" to 1" of rain thru Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Western West Virginia.

Jerry Wolfe from Hurricane reports .8" in Putnam County just after the WV Women's Amatuer Golf Crown was decided. Gene Evans from the East end of Huntington measured .3".

Trouble is these rains fell on an already saturated ground (on my jogging route water is standing in the meadow 3 inches deep) so when the main event arrives late tonight and Friday morning, the amount of runoff will be close to 100%.

Our supercomputers suggest a general 1"-2" of rain on Friday but with one important caveat. Pockets of 2"-4" of rain are likely given the high octane air (tropical humidity via the Caribbean) and the forecasted perfect combination of a contortion in the jet stream winds aloft (providing energy for storm development) and a steady flow of moisture in the lowest 5000 feet of the atmosphere.

Our in house computer suggests a split in the heaviest rains with a band swamping the Ohio Valley from Portsmouth to Ironton to Gallipolis while a second centroid of heavy rain gobbled up the Southern Coalfields and Kanawha Valley. Don't take the computer's specific interpretation verbatim. It is there as a first estimate. Where heavy rains train, one band after another for a few hours, is where the flooding will be most pronounced. Time will tell.

Flood Concerns Won’t Go Away Easily

Now that a tropically humid air mass has set up shop in our region, it is going to take a healthy cool front to push it away. That said I want to make it clear that until the humidity drops, we will run the risk of a cloudburst any place any time.

Given how wet the ground is after today’s rains (when most areas received at least 2 downpours and an inch of water), it appears local flooding is a good bet when and where the next round of drenching storms occurs.

The most likely period for high water will come Thursday night and Friday morning. Still until we see the newest rains on radar, it is impossible to pinpoint where the flood risk will be highest.

My gut says the ground is wettest in Northern Kentucky, far Southern Ohio and WV Counties along and north of I-64. So from Vanceburg and Greenup to Ironton and Proctorville onto to Winfield and Sissonville, you may have a slightly greater risk of stream flooding Thursday night and Friday dawn than others.

By the way, I ran some stats and since the growing season began back in April, our region is running 3 to 6 inches above normal in the rain department for most with Coalfield towns like Belfry, Matewan, Wharncliffe and Gilbert as much as 8 above normal.

One thing for sure, barring a round of high winds with the passage of a fall hurricane, we are in for a banner year of fall foliage.
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