Historical Flooding Slams Far Southern West Virginia/Southwest Virginia

WOAY-TV (Bluefield, WV): A storm system with roots off the Carolina coast has triggered historical flooding in the Bluefield area.

Meteorologist Brianna Mowery has the story:

The Bluestone River at Falls Mills reached a record crest of 10.96 feet, surpassing the former historical crest of 8.66 feet during the late January flooding in 1996. That event was brought on by melting snow followed by heavy rain. Meanwhile, the third highest crest on Bluestone occurred during spring flooding in 2010.

A record-breaking 5.25 inches of rain pelted Bluefield. This ranks as the second highest 24-hour rainfall total in Bluefield. The highest total ever recorded for a 1-day period was 5.50” on November 23, 1907.

The culprit for the Memorial Day flooding was low pressure that brought 1-2 inches of rain to the Carolinas and then slowly pushed north into southern Virginia. Persistent rain enhanced by a moist easterly wind that got an extra boost from the terrain in our far southern counties initiated the flooding.

This map shows the two bulls’ eyes of rainfall with the storm system; along the Carolina coast closest to  the storm center and a second bulls’ eye of heavy rain driven largely by the moisture slamming against the eastern facing ridges of the Allegheny Plateau from western North Carolina to southern West Virginia.

The storm was cut-off from the jet stream, so its slow movement allowed repeated heavy rain to fall in the same location.

The stubborn storm will finally move east of the Blue Ridge and dry weather will resume later tonight.

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