“We currently have (river) conditions that we don’t usually see prolonged at this time of year over a wide area where it just makes us more susceptible to flooding than we normally would be at this time of year. “, Hal Klingenberg, chief forecaster at the National Weather Service in Jackson, Kentucky, told CNN Friday morning.
“For most areas, we’re looking for an inch and a half to two inches of rain to occur within a relatively short time frame of one to three hours to start causing significant issues again,” Klingenberg said.
Friday’s storms will be capable of producing very significant precipitation rates, prompting the Weather Prediction Center to issue a slight level of excessive precipitation risk for the Tennessee and Ohio valleys in central Utah. Atlantic.
For parts of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, WPC says Friday is “more of a slight upper-end hazard with isolated to scattered flash flooding likely, but less confidence in a more widespread/organized hazard. “.
Klingenberg, who had several colleagues directly affected by the devastating floods, said: “You tend to be a lot more careful once you’ve been injured and once you’ve been hit by something like a natural disaster.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear provided an update on Friday, the eighth day of flooding in the state, confirming the death toll of 37 in five counties has not increased.
“While we have thousands of people who have lost their homes that we need to stabilize, steady progress is being made and real and meaningful progress, particularly in the last eight days,” he said.
The governor said officials are focused on conducting wellness checks on Friday due to concerns about slow-moving thunderstorms that could bring heavy rain on Saturday. He added that nine cooling centers remain open in different counties as heat conditions are expected to increase after the storm.
Beshear said President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to eastern Kentucky on Monday to meet with families affected by flood devastation and survey recovery efforts at the local Disaster Recovery Center, operated by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management. Agency.
Flood watches are in place for most of Kentucky, southern Ohio and Indiana, extending east into Maryland as heavy rains over the next two to three days could result in flash flooding.
An area of heavy rain moves through Kentucky and Tennessee on Friday, with most activity expected to reach flood-damaged areas of eastern Kentucky from Friday afternoon through evening.
“One of the high-resolution models indicates the possibility of up to nine inches of precipitation over the next 48 hours over part of southern Kentucky. The precise location of this event will certainly change over time, but it is an indication of the tropical nature of the potential downpours and their severity,” explained CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Longer term, even more rain is forecast for eastern Kentucky residents Sunday through Wednesday as a cold front approaches the region, bringing new rounds of thunderstorms increasing the threat of even greater flooding.
Threat of flooding from Ohio Valley to Appalachia
A nearly stationary boundary stretches from the Central Plains through parts of the Ohio Valley and into eastern Canada, creating the focus of heavy rains over the next few days.
“While the latest models are very different in where the heaviest rains are, all show more pockets of possible flooding through Sunday across the Ohio Valley,” Myers said.
Another area to watch this weekend will be Appalachia in West Virginia, West Virginia in South Carolina for what are called landless storms.
“Most of the current flooding events have come from training storms, this weekend the storms may be locked in one place as the topography prohibits their movement and enhances their buildup,” Myers said.
Given recent wet conditions, heavy downpours or repeated rains could lead to localized flash flooding.