Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): A late-winter deluge that resulted in flash flooding in our region is just a reminder of what is to come in the next four months.
While we are in the brush fire season desperately awaiting rain to replenish our spring rainfall deficit, we are reminded of recent flooding events. Just two months ago, an 11-week baby boy was found submerged in a car in Pax after three inches of rain slammed our region. Just one week ago, a localized flood emergency developed in Broward County, Florida, when 15 to 25 inches of rain caused devastating flooding.
These are just reminders of what can transpire during the wet season. On average, May is the second wettest month of the year with 4.68 inches of rain while July tops the list at 5 inches.
Our own weekend forecaster Braden Petry has more on our recent flood statistics.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that in the last five years, the weather service has issued an increasing number of flash flood warnings for Fayette County alone. Digging back through the data since 1990, July leads the way with 25 flash flood warnings just for Fayette County.
Only a handful of years, including 1990 to 1995 and 2005 to 2008 were the quiet years during the wet season for our region.
A Flood Watch is the first indicator of the potential for urban, stream, creek and river flooding. When heavy rain is expected or an event is unfolding, a Flash Flood Warning will then be issued. If a major, life-threatening, devastating flooding is in the process of unfolding, a Flash Flood Emergency will be issued.
Flash Flood Emergencies, which are only issued during the rare occurrence of historic flooding and catastrophic damage, were only noted in two of our counties, Greenbrier and Tazewell, in recent memory.
The best advice is to seek higher ground and avoid driving through a flooded roadway. A foot of moving water can push a car off the roadway into a nearby ditch.
Early indications with the transition from a Neutral ENSO to an El Nino pattern show the potential for at least average rainfall this summer. However, most of our summer rainfall comes from thunderstorms that drop heavy rain in a short period of time, so it’s distributed much less evenly than during the other seasons.
For this reason, flash flooding is most problematic late in the spring through summer. Of course, our weather team will keep you abreast of any flooding potential in our 7-Day StormWatch 4 forecast.