Heavy Rains Just Keep On A Comin'
Ground becomes more saturated each time...and flood potential increases
The weather patterns across the southern United States became more spring-like after the middle of February. As a result, Middle Tennessee weather over recent days has, generally, been much warmer and wetter. Two heavy rain events occurred in the Mid State during the last week of February. The first was on February 24th and 25th, when two-day rain totals of 3 to 5 inches were common over the extreme north, and 2 to 3 inches were common over much of the remainder of Middle Tennessee. Rainfall at Nashville International Airport broke the old daily record for the 24th, of 1.45 inches, set back in 1965. The new daily total became 2.10 inches. The map below shows the rainfall distrubtion in the Mid State, using Cocorahs data obtained from our volunteer rainfall observers:
The second heavy rain event occurred between the night of February 27th and the night of February 28th. Once again, the heaviest rain totals occurred across the north, where Cocorahs Rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches were common. Lesser amounts between 0.50 inch and 1.5 inches were common across the south. Nashville almost eclipsed its daily rainfall record of 1.67" (set back in 1987), when 1.63" of rain fell in the rain gauge at Nashville International Airport. The map below shows the distribution of rainfall observed by our Mid State Cocorahs observers.
These heavy rains led to some unusually high totals for the month of February. As you can see in the image below, many areas over the north received between 7 and 9 1/2 inches of rainfall in February! These amounts were some two to three times above normal. Monthly rainfall at Nashville International Airport was 5.54 inches, which was 1.85 inches above normal :
Another Heavy Rain Event looks increasingly likely for this weekend. The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center's 2-day rainfall forecast for Saturday and Sunday (issued on Friday) looked like this:
Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches will be common, with local amounts to near3 inches. Areas that have already had a lot of rain over recent days will be more prone to increased runoff, ponding of water and localized flooding. The longer we remain in a wet weather pattern, the wetter our topsoils will become. The wetter the soils become, the less additional water they can absorb. Thus, when heavy rains fall, runoff occurs more easily and flooding becomes more likely.
Those living in or traveling through Middle Tennessee should remain alert to the general increase in flood potential with each passing Heavy Rain Event. You should know what to do and where to go if flooding is observed. This is especially important for those living in flood prone areas--especially near rivers and streams--and those who encounter flooded roadways when traveling. Remember: when you are out driving and come to an area where water covers the road, Turn Around! Don't Drown!
Here are some BAD reasons people have actually given for driving through flooded areas, prior to realizing their mistake. They were shared at a recent National Weather Service Conference, where flooding issues were discussed:
1) I drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle and thought the warnings about flood waters were really meant for people driving cars, not trucks.
2) I just wanted to see how my truck would perform in deep water.
3) I had never driven into a fooded area and just wanted to see what it would be like.
Another person accelerated around a highway barricade, during a live TV broadcast, and managed to make it out of the deep water--only to have his truck stall out, come to a complete standstill, with steam coming out from under the hood. Oddly enough, several other vehicles had already become stranded in the water and were clearly visible to the driver before he accelerated past the barricade.
These people were all fortunate. Though their vehicles suffered, they made it through their experiences alive. Many others, every year, are not so fortunate.
It's never wise to challenge flood waters!