As Florence ebbs, rain continues

Rain outlook. (Courtesy of the National Weather Service)
(Courtesy of The National Weather Service)

A flash flood warning is in place for Floyd County and surrounding areas until at least 3 a.m. Monday.  Wind advisory in effect until 4 a.m.

The former Hurricane Florence is now an ebbing tropical storm but one that still threatens both the Carolinas along with us in Southwestern Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky today and Monday.

The storm that flooded the Carolinas, has left at least 17 dead while destroying communities still has moisture left to go somewhere and some of that will most likely fall on us.


Rain outlook. (Courtesy of the National Weather Service)

Writes Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt:

For Southwest Virginia, and really for the Carolinas, too, this is a much better set of circumstances than what looked likely 2 or 3 days ago, when it seemed Florence’s remnants would hang around the Virginias and the Carolinas like an unwanted house guest for half or more of the coming week.

The chief problem for us is that in order to get where it’s going, Florence has to drag that mass of rain from the Carolinas over us. The track over West Virginia will keep us on the wet east side, where moisture continues to be drawn right off the warm Gulf Stream offshore. Also, tracking west of us, what will by then be a tropical depression or remnant low that was once Hurricane Florence will be pulling easterly to southeasterly wind against the mountains, enhancing lift through upslope flow.

We are not going to simply miss Florence’s rain. It is not going to rain itself out over the Carolinas, because it hasn’t stopped drawing fresh moisture from off the Atlantic. And it is not going to go far enough west to miss our region — we’d still have wet winds against the mountains squeezing out rain if, for some reason, it did veer 150 miles west for some reason. The potential for a faster moving system is our best hope to avoid severe or extreme flooding. The heavy rain is coming, hopefully it can speed through rather that dawdle. The danger, though, is being caught under one of those intense rain bands, pulled north continuously over a narrow path as the storm itself moves north, perhaps even still siphoning moisture off the Atlantic.

The National Weather service says a “catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding risk” exists much of North Carolina, northern South Carolina and southwest Virginia Sunday and into Monday.

For most of our region, the best guess is that 3-6 inches will fall between now and midnight Monday but 6-10 inches are also possible in spots along the Blue Ridge if hit by one of the several intense bands that remain in pockets that could move through the area.

Myatt says both the New River and Roanoke rivers could flood by Monday.  The National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service projects the New River at Radford will crest at 22.5 feet by Monday evening — about eight and a half feet above flood stage.

Want to monitor flood projections in detail for our area?  Check this link.

Heavier bands of rain began moving through our area overnight Saturday and into Sunday.  It could get worse.

Appalachian Power Sunday morning reported 56 customer outages near Copper Hill and another 458 near Pillot in Floyd County and 194 out near U.S. 221 northeast of Floyd and over Sandy Flat and Poor Farm Roads SE for more than two-and-a-half hours.


Stay alert.

A water vator image of tropical depression Florence on Sunday morning. (CIRA/CSU/NOAA)

Updated at 4:45 pm Sunday, Sept. 16.  Our thanks to Kevin Myatt for his help and knowledge.  The Roanoke Times and The Floyd Press are part of the BH Media newspaper group.

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