Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2 Canes from the Past and Tropical Storm Bill

You may have heard of (hurricane) Ike, but do you know Elena?  They are both worth getting to know as we prepare for heavy rain in parts of the Local 6 area from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill.
The Local 6 area may not lie on the Gulf Coast but inland tropical impacts have been felt many times before in our weather history.  Most people remember how the winds from the remnants of Ike brought record-breaking power outages to the Ohio Valley. Hurricane force wind gusts were recorded in Louisville after tropical storm force winds blew across Carbondale, Owensboro, and Poplar Bluff. 28 deaths were attributed to Ike in the Ohio Valley by the time it moved on to Ontario, Canada. It took Ike only a few hours to travel across the Ohio Valley on September 14, 2008 but as the day came to a close, over 600,000 people were without power and a State of Emergency was declared by Governor Steve Beshear.  Of course this only happened a few years ago. Another record-setting hurricane that brought severe inland impacts to the Local 6 area blew thru a couple decades ago. It's name was Elana. 

It was the peak of the 1985 Atlantic Hurricane Season when Elena was born a Category 1 Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. On September 2 it made landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi and fueled a wealth of thunderstorms all the way up through the Mid-South for several days, including Western Kentucky. The peak rainfall for our area was reached on September 5, 1985 when Paducah recorded 7.49" of rain for the day. Flash flooding left many stranded and searching for dry ground. According to the Harlan Daily Enterprise, Perkins Creek raged submerging cars and trapping guests of a nearby hotel on the second floor. (see photo to left) To read more about Elena from the Harlan Daily Enterprise, click here.
The one reason we look to invite decaying tropical weather into the area is to get summer drought relief...especially once August arrives. With a wet Spring and early June, flooding is a concern as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill arrive at the end of the week. The areas of concern to us for the risk of flooding continue to be across SE Missouri and Southern Illinois. While the risk is not as great, we can expect periods of heavy showers and storms across Kentucky and along the Tennessee state line as well. 
A weak cold front to our north is trapping Gulf of Mexico moisture associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill across the Ohio Valley and Midwest. High pressure over the Southeast is enhancing the compact placement of the moisture that will lead to heavier downpours over those same regions. See below for the latest computer model forecast concerning rainfall totals through Saturday morning.
Wednesday Evening Update - RPM Computer Model

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