High Water Risk Assessed

Friday 4 AM Update

Rains fell steadily most of the day and night on Thursday, but the lack of prolonged heavy rains seems to have kept high water problems to a minumum. A report from Kenna in Jackson County WV indicated small streams were running high late Thursday evening.

Early this Friday morning it was apparent that no serious flooding was to occur this time around!

A Flood Warning was issued for Carter and Greenup Counties until 4:15 AM. A call to Carter 911 at 3:40 AM uncovered no high water of consequence, though some nuisance high water did flow across Highway one near Hitchens for a time. That's good news for folks who live in the Little Sandy Valley and along the Tygarts Creek. Recall it was just last year that two devastating floods swept through Olive Hill in Carter County, one on Kentucky Derby weekend and a second in July.

Here is a look at the Hydrographs from the National Weather Service so you can see what the river or stream in your neighborhood is predicted to do. Keep in mind these forecasts may be dated and are just that, "Forecasts".


Just find the river gauge on your stream to see your special hydrograph.

Heaviest Weather of 2011

The title of tonight’s blog says it all. The most impacting weather event of the year (so far) is heading into town in time for a soggy Thursday-Friday.

A couple of things to consider before I get into the meteorology and sociology of this event. First and foremost, my colleagues at the National Weather Service have identified a broad area prone to high water. That region centers on Southern Ohio, Central WV and Northern Kentucky (mainly counties along and north of I-64).

If your area is not included in the Flood Watch, you must remember this fact; namely, a watch means areas “IN AND CLOSE TO” the specifically alerted counties ALSO have a threat for flooding. Basically, we are saying everyone is at risk for high water BUT the counties along and north of the Ohio River are at a higher risk.

Look for rains to arrive and quickly turn heavy on Thursday after a dry morning school bell. So it should be raining hard in time for lunch and the afternoon school dismissal especially along and north of I-64. Dare I predict some kids will get drenched for not carrying the umbrella and rain slicker when they leave in the morning.

Note I hinted that at 3PM rain would be falling mainly along and north of 64, since it appears the heavy rains will have shifted away from the Coalfields during the mid afternoon.

By evening, a second round of heavy rains will be arriving from the west. Areas that had a break in rain in the afternoon will again be gobbled up by the new wave of rain.

While street flooding will have accompanied the first round of rain, this evening surge of water will fall on a saturated ground. The result is likely small stream flooding with stout rises also on rivers.

We will be watching the northern rivers like the Scioto, Little Sandy and Hocking a bit more closely than southern streams like the Tug and Levisa Forks, and the Coal and Guyandotte Rivers, since rainfalls should be higher points north, emphasis on “should” be higher.

By the way, the weather pattern unfolding bears some resemblance to the March 1-2, 1997 deluge that sent many rivers including the mighty Ohio into flood. That year, torrential rains fell on a Friday night-Saturday morning, let up, only to be followed by a second wave of downpours on Saturday night. Many rivers including the Scioto, Guyandotte, Hocking and even the Mighty Ohio went into flood.

I recall reporting from Sandy Hook that Saturday as the Little Sandy threatened the senior center. That Monday, a hip-booted clad Bill Murray wadded knee deep through downtown Chesapeake as he showed a national TV audience how the Ohio River was flowing down Main street.

Since that event occurred over a 2 day period and in a warmer atmosphere, this present rain storm should not replicate the 1997 storm’s wave of high water. Still, I sense the Ohio will be rising swiftly this weekend after the rains pass as other small rivers rise toward flood stage.

With another heavy rain possible by Sunday night and Monday, the Ohio may have another shot at approaching flood stage.
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