Eyes on Mighty Ohio

Watching the Mighty Ohio

River watchers galore are answering the call of the mighty Ohio this week as rising waters showcase a familiar March spectacle; namely, high water during the transition from winter to spring.

With more rain to fall on Thursday, the preliminary crests forecasted for the Ohio are naturally subject to revision. After all, until the last drop of rain falls in the Ohio Basin, predictions for where the river will crest are purely a function of a computer’s interpretation of how the water will channel into the Ohio.

Take last week, when both forecasted crests on the river overshot their target by a few feet due to an over-forecast of how much rain will fall. That’s why interests along the river should stay abreast of future predictions.

My colleagues from the National Weather will be running their river models with regularity the next few days. My suggestion to you is to use their website and track the “change” in the crest day to day.

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=rlx

Dave Meadows from the Army Corp adds, "we work with the National Weather Service by telling them how much water we are holding back. That data goes into the river crest forecasts". Naturally the more water the Corp holds back, the less makes it into the main stem of the Ohio.

That will be especially true on Thursday as I sense the heavier rains will fall along and northeast of I-77. So from Charleston to Parkersburg to Pittsburgh, considerably more rain will fall than say from Columbus to Huntington to Knoxville. That axis of “heavier” rain will help us fine tune the crest on all rivers including the Great Kanawha and Mighty Ohio.

In general, Thursday will see the Ohio and Kanawha hold steady, maybe even drop a bit, before a spike up in water occurs Friday into the weekend.

Interests along the Ohio in low lying areas should be prepared for the nuisance high water of the past week to ratchet up a notch beginning Friday thru the weekend.

Again to recap, the waters will hold steady even drop a bit in places on Thursday before a steady rise toward or even past flood stage is realized Friday into the weekend.

Since heavy wet snow is becoming an increasing risk especially in the mountains of WV Thursday night into Friday, the length and peak of high water will also become a function of future snow melt up north and how fast the change from rain to snow occurs. In fact, I sense several inches of wet snow will also fall from Huntington-Charleston north to Point Park in Parkersburg and Oglebay Park In Wheeling Thursday night.

I don't know about you, but I say true spring weather can’t come early enough this year!
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