Derby Weekend Weather and Events
Late this Friday night, showers and thunderstorms are popping up on the HD Doppler Radar scope. Since this morning’s rains saturated the ground in many places, the risk of new storms has prompted a precautionary Flash Flood Watch from my skilled colleagues at the National Weather Service.
Night time storm watches are particularly disconcerting since there is an element of “what you can’t see can hurt” mentality.
Basically, the region that saw the heaviest rains this morning includes the Ohio River Communities from Athalia to Huntington to Ironton and south along the Big Sandy from Catlettsburg to Louisa and Pikeville-Williamson. This region measured a general 1 to 2 inches of rain water this morning. Those rains have left behind a soggy environment that is prone to flash flooding IF NEW STORMS train over the same areas hit this morning.
As for these new storms, they passed through Louisville during the card at Churchill Downs before the Kentucky Oaks and will be crossing Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio before midnight. Severe Weather warnings were issued and the track was cleared until the danger of lightning had passed.
At a race track the risk of storms is heightened since horses are easily spooked. In that regard, a late afternoon storm before the Derby could upset the horses and make for a chaotic 138th "Run for the Roses".
In themselves, tonight's new cells can drop a quick half inch of rain which would spur stream rises.
The bigger concern comes after this first line passes our region. Will there be new showers and storms that fire along the wet boundary left behind by this first band? Sometimes in spring, especially May, that wet boundary can serve like a railroad track as a path for new squalls to form and move. That action is called “training” of thunderstorms and is notorious for many of our floods here in Appalachia.
By first light of day Saturday, the weekend will dawn grey and murky with the heavens weeping especially along and south of I-64. Any high water should wane by the lunch hour as skies brighten and the showers shift farther to the south.
So for Spring Festival goers heading to the Heritage Farm Museum in the Harveytown section of Huntington and for Spring Market Days fans in Spencer, rain should be gone in time for most of your big day.
There is some concern that it could rain as late as 10am in Charleston for the Race for the Cure and the Girl Scouts Centennial parade (hosted by the lovely and talented Carrie Cline), but odds favor the rain to quickly shift away from downtown Charleston shortly there after.
By Saturday afternoon the sun will be bashfully peaking out from behind the departing cumulus clouds and skies should trend bright and breezy in time for Saturday evening prom marches along and north of I-64 (St Albans included). There is still the chance of a lingering shower through the Coalfields (and for prom walks like that at Logan High) until sunset.
Sunday morning is apt to dawn foggy, so early morning church goers should factor is a little extra time for that drive to your worship place.
By Sunday afternoon sunshine should be in abundance, great news for UC grads who will be donning their caps and gowns outside at 2 pm with a warm and sticky temperature near 80.
As for this risk of high water, keep in mind May flash floods tend to hit with little advanced notice. So here’s a reminder to watch water levels on your own if you live along a stream prone to flash flooding.
Josh will update you first thing in the morning on any high water problems.
Now as for the Derby, I expect showers and thunderstorms to be moving away from Louisville on Saturday morning leaving behind an off track. But given the superior subterranean drying system used as Churchill Downs, I would expect a fast track and post time temperature of 82 as the trumpeter calls the horses to the track for the singing of My Old Kentucky Home.
I will select my Derby winner when I add to this blog on Saturday.