Widespread Flooding Likely Late Saturday Into Sunday
We're enjoying a quiet Friday with just a few mid-high level clouds around the area. Temps have been a bit slow to warm but with some sun breaking out this afternoon we'll spike into the 50s. Southern parts of the area will even reach near 60.
Meanwhile they are digging out from a foot of snow up in Chicago as a potent low pressure system tracks east across the Great Lakes. The snow from that system is missing us well to the north but southwest winds ahead of its associated cold front are helping transport milder air our way. Unfortunately that milder air will soon become moist air...and a lot of rain will be moving across our area this weekend.
We'll have a nice evening and overnight as clouds lower and thicken but showers will begin moving into the area at dawn from west to east. Some of us in WV will get a few hours to get some things done outdoors but the rain will expand and increase in intensity as we get into the afternoon. Rain will become heavy at times by later in the day as that front settles in and a low pressure system forms along it. Where that low tracks (which will be where the front stalls out) will be the area of heaviest rain into Saturday night. That appears, right now, to be in southern West Virginia and Kentucky but it's still early enough that this could change and shift farther north. Either way expect steady to at times heavy rain Saturday night into Sunday morning as that low tracks by. Once it passes there may be a lull in the rain for a while before more returns later in the day with a trailing system. By Sunday night enough cold air may catch up to the moisture to change lighter precipitation over to some snow and/or sleet.
Right now it looks like a general 1 to 3" of rain will fall in our area, with the 2+" amounts more likely south of Charleston/Huntington. Should that occur, the southern rivers, streams and creeks will be susceptible to widespread flooding...in part from the terrain of the Coalfields and the snowpack in the West Virginia mountains still on the ground. This means rivers like the New, Guyandotte, Tug and Levisa Forks will have to be monitored Sunday. I expect a large number of road closures Sunday morning in the south, especially in flood-prone counties such as Lincoln and Boone. The streams and creeks will then empty into the aforementioned rivers, which will then work downstream and causes rivers on the Kanawha, Coal, Mud and Big Sandy rivers. If you live near any stream/creek/river you'll want to continue to monitor the forecast closely this weekend and be ready to seek higher ground!
We'll be updating you throughout the weekend on the progress on this storm.