Flood Watch in effect Wednesday to Thursday for heavy rain


    In spite of a lot more clouds compared to Monday our temperatures warmed above 60 degrees for the third straight day in Huntington and Charleston. Only a few brief showers and spots of drizzle dampened area roads at times.

    While our warm weather will continue Wednesday the rain chances are about to increase significantly. A cold front that moved in here today (and produced the clouds and spotty showers) is stalling out and transforming into a warm front as an area of low pressure tracks northeast from Arkansas. During the overnight a strong low-level jetstream will form and tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, sending in streaming north into the Ohio Valley.

    Rain and even some thunderstorms will start to increase by dawn at least over Kentucky and Ohio...and then progress east into West Virginia as the morning goes on. Some of us, especially east of the Ohio River, may have a fairly calm morning commute before the heaviest rain arrives but make sure to carry the rain-gear along to work and school. By lunchtime I expect many of us will have some hefty showers and thunder moving through. That area of rain will tend to follow the front draped over us. It appears it may shift into the Coalfields by late afternoon but then lift north again Wednesday.

    The placement of the front will be key in terms of who ends up with around 1" of rain (manageable) and who gets 2" or potentially more (which would result in some flooding). Some of the models have started showing higher amounts for the Coalfields but yesterday they were showing SE Ohio. Right now I'm watching the northern half of Kentucky and western WV and extreme SE Ohio (Lawrence/Scioto Counties) for the most likely candidates for 2"+ amounts. Either way you'll want to monitor streams and creeks over the next 48 hours and obey any road closure signs that inevitably will be put up. In addition, with the recent freeze and thaw and heavy rain rockslides are likely to occur as well so be prepared for detours, especially Thursday morning.

    That front will get kicked to the north by a stronger low pressure system Thursday morning, allowing some sun to break out and winds to really kick up from the south. That will send temperatures up to between 70 to 75 degrees, threatening the record high for the day (Huntington's is 71 and Charleston's is 74). Then a cold front will sweep through Thursday evening with some gusty showers and thunder one more time before it dries out and turns sharply colder for Friday. We'll halve Thursday's high temps by Friday afternoon with readings in the 30s and gusty winds. We'll drop into the teens by Saturday morning...a full 60 degrees colder than Thursday!

    Depending on where the axis of heavy rain sets up rivers will be rising into the weekend in spite of drier weather. Another round of rain early next week could prompt more flood watches in our area.

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