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Hazardous Flooding Continues Across Broad Zone of the U.S.

Natural Disasters
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

A dangerous flash flood situation unfolded earlier this week from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley and lower mid-Atlantic, where torrential downpours repeated daily. A stalled frontal boundary across the Middle Mississippi River Valley into the Ohio River Valley brought rounds of heavy rainfall and flooding from Tuesday through Friday morning. Consistent heavy rain and thunderstorms crossed Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia. Additional rain and thunderstorms developed from eastern Missouri through southern Indiana and western Kentucky impacting the region heavily Wednesday night, and again Thursday night. The ground was already moist across most of this corridor making it easier for this amount of rainfall to produce major flash flooding in the region or exacerbate ongoing flooding problems.

Dangerous Flooding in Kentucky

A flooding disaster unfolded in eastern Kentucky from Wednesday night into early Thursday with abundant damage and fears of significant loss of life in Breathitt, Clay, Owsley, Floyd, Letcher, and Pike counties. At least six counties have declared local states of emergency. Over the past three days, areas in eastern Kentucky have seen almost 10 inches of rain. In Buckhorn Lake, 10.4 inches, in Pippa Passes 9.27 inches, in Rockhouse 9.00 inches, in Oneida, 8.87 inches, and in Hazard, 8.55 inches.

There were reports of flash flooding, mudslides, and power outages across the mountainous region where thunderstorms have dumped several inches of rain over the past few days. Poweroutage.US reported over 23,000 power outages in eastern Kentucky, and nearly 10,000 more in southern West Virginia and among the mountains of western Virginia. Unrelenting rounds of excessive rainfall will continue to be a threat into this weekend, from Colorado to North Carolina. Not only will a persistent weather setup continue the risk of flash flooding in urban areas and along small streams, but it will also lead to significant rises in water levels of secondary rivers in the region.

Alarming Flash Flooding in Missouri

St. Louis was impacted with an all-time record 24-hour rainfall of 9.04 inches that has less than one chance in one thousand to occur per year, according to the National Weather Service. Up to a foot of rain fell northwest of the city Tuesday, triggering widespread flooding that has continued throughout the week. On Thursday afternoon, several feet of water were reported in the city of St. Louis, which was put under a flash flood warning early that afternoon. As of Thursday evening, some areas were reporting upwards of seven feet of water. The excessive rainfall, with amounts of around a foot, that targeted Missouri to southern Illinois occurred along a narrow band that was only a dozen miles wide. Downpours occurred on either side of the zone, but flooding in these areas was more isolated. From Thursday night through Sunday, a long, broad zone of 2-4-inches of rainfall is forecast from eastern Colorado to eastern Tennessee, and western Virginia, with a zone of 4-8 inches of rain most likely from southern Kansas to southern Missouri.

There is the potential for a disaster similar to St. Louis and eastern Kentucky to be repeated farther to the west and south. Some cities with a high risk for major flash flooding this weekend include Pueblo CO, Dodge City KS, Branson MO, and Nashville TN.

Dangerous Rainfall and Flooding to Further Impact Across U.S. This Weekend

A serious flash flood risk will continue to unfold this weekend from portions of the central and southern Plains through the mid-Atlantic. The ground is already saturated across part of this corridor and any additional rainfall has the potential to produce major flash flooding in the region or exacerbate ongoing flooding problems. Creeks, streams, secondary roads, and interstates can all quickly be overwhelmed by the surge as rain falls at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour in some areas. Flash flooding will pose the greatest risk to life and property within the pattern, but forecasters also say that thunderstorms embedded within the downpours could become locally damaging.

The nearly 10 inches of rain which fell yesterday across parts of eastern Kentucky is causing the Kentucky River to enter moderate to major flood stage from Revanna to Jackson, Kentucky. Moderate flood stage is forecast to last through Sunday before river levels recede, but additional rainfall later this weekend may raise concern again for river levels to rise. A State of Emergency has been declared for parts of eastern Kentucky as extreme property damage and fatalities are expected. Sunday into Monday, Tennessee through the central Appalachians including far eastern Kentucky can receive another round of flooding downpours which can prolong the river flooding concerns.

Slow moving storms producing large quantities of rainfall are ongoing from Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle extending east to southeast through the Tennessee Valley. This front will remain largely stationary through the weekend across the hilly terrain of the Ozarks in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Although this area is generally in a drought, heavy rain falling in a short amount of time, with rates in excess of 2 inches per hour, can still lead to flash flooding given the nature of the terrain across this region.

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