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April 3-5 flood event in KY, OH and WV - updates
This is an ongoing blog post about the storm system affecting the Central Appalachian region today. New updates are listed first.
Update 8:05AM Friday: And with that, it looks like we're done! The system is moving east at a good clip now, with the heavy rain dropping off in intensity. Flooding looks to be confined to areas west of the border. The closest flood warnings aren't too far away, but I don't see much worth making a 90 minute drive for. The RUC model and radar trends suggest that the threat is over for West Virginia. As with all weather situations, I can't completely turn my back on this one yet - but an expedition is looking less likely at all today.
Update 3:12AM Friday: Flooding is slowly working its way to the east. Flash flood warnings are up as far east as the Lexington metro, with a large area of training heavy rain lined up across Kentucky. Radar estimated rainfall south of Louisville is approaching the 5 inch mark:
The RUC model has started to come more into line with the radar trends. The NWS has expanded the flood watch eastward well into West Virginia, and the timing points to a daytime event closer to Charleston than I originally thought (with the Charleston metro itself now in the crosshairs). I am actually getting a little concerned about the magnitude of this event just looking at the radar configuration. West Virginia can't handle those rainfall amounts as easily as central Kentucky can. Five inches of rain here will be no small thing.
Update 8:19PM Thursday: Not much happening so far anywhere close to us yet. Models seem to want to place the heaviest rains well to our north and west later tonight.
Radar shows a few impressive thunderstorm clusters over southern Missouri and Illinois that, according to the loops (animations), appear to be heading in this general direction. Just looking at radar, it seems the models might already be too far north with their heavy rain swaths. At this point there's not much to do but wait a few more hours to watch how the situation plays out. I doubt I'll be heading out anytime soon, since seeking out flood video is nearly pointless at night. If the bands of training storms end up south of where the models are predicting (which seems probable at this point), then by tomorrow morning there could be plenty of creeks out of their banks within an hour of here.
The other subject that may present itself overnight is lightning. Plenty of that showing up across Kentucky back through Missouri, moving this way. I have my doubts about much of that making it this far east, though. Going now to catch a quick 2-3 hours of sleep before checking on things again around midnight.
7:26AM Thursday: HPC's latest excessive rainfall graphics are painting 4 to 5 inch rainfall amounts nosing into the Huntington area over the next 24 hours.
The models also concur with massive QPF blobs. If these forecasts are correct, then this could be one of the more significant flooding events in this area in quite some time. It only takes 2 inches of rain over a few hours to start getting creeks out of their banks in the terrain configuration around here. So today is looking like a flood coverage day around the tri-state region and possibly into northeastern Kentucky.
Radar is showing the first waves of precip coming across Kentucky. There shouldn't be any issues with this, but this rain will work to prime the ground for future rounds of heavy rain expected later today. Blanket flood watches are already up for the entire area: