Flood Watch may Turn to Warning

Friday Flood Threat Heightens

This very late posting comes in the wee hours of Friday morning as heavy rains approach from the west.

The current wet weather pattern is coming in waves with each succeeding rain ripple having more staying power and hence heavier accumulations. Stream Flooding appears likely on Friday especially in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. In West Virginia, street flooding is the best bet, but small streams may also swell to the brink.

Marina and Josh will be on duty in the morning to update us on where the flooding may get especially hazardous.

In a nutshell, Thursday’s rains averaged .25” to .5” and served to thoroughly wet the ground. Just ask the visiting Nittany Lion golf team. My Alma Mater’s best linksters are in town to defend their Marshall Invitational Golf Title at Guyan Golf and Country Club. NCAA golfers from 17 schools are vying for MI honors this weekend.

Now, a second batch of overnight rains was set to add another inch in many areas. This was to thoroughly saturate the ground and golf courses. By morning some small streams seemed likely to spill over their banks.

While a lull in the heavy rain was likely Friday morning after sunrise, a third batch of convective (capable of downpours) rains was to arrive by early afternoon (late morning points west) with another inch of water. This third round of rain, assuming it materializes as expected was the one that would cause flash flooding.

Pinpointing the areas likely to get flooding was to be a short term (1 hour in advance) forecast dilemma and not one that could be ascertained as of press time (right now it is 1 AM sharp).

In time, cooler air will shut of the heavy rain machine by Friday night. Still, the runoff from earlier rains was likely to send some rivers into flood. Hydrologists from the National Weather Service were especially wary of the Little Sandy, Big Sandy, Hocking and Coal Rivers to name a few.

Since the rain water must eventually work its way into the Kanawha and Ohio, those big rivers were expected to rise stoutly into the weekend. My best guess looking at the hydrographs from NWS is that water makes its way into Magic Island on the Kanawha in Charleston and still another strong rise to just below flood stage will occur on the mighty Ohio itself.

Since rainfall accumulations are always a hard thing to pinpoint, I caution all who live along a stream prone to flooding to monitor water levels frequently. As always be prepared to seek high ground if flood waters approach.

And motorists, if you encounter a flooded road, don’t test the road to see if you can make it. Instead turn around and head away from the rising water. Especially at night when visibility is poor, play it safe!

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