Friday, March 4, 2011

Heavy rain expected in the Mid-South Friday night and Saturday

The National Weather Service has posted Flash Flood Watches for the entire Mid-South as a slow-moving frontal system approaches the region from Arkansas and low pressure moves along the front.  This afternoon, the front resides over central OK  but will move slowly east across Arkansas overnight before reaching the Memphis area around 10am Saturday.

Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible to our west tonight, but are not expected to remain severe as they move east into our region.  However, "general" thunderstorms are possible throughout the night and especially ahead of the cold front tomorrow morning.  These storms will enhance precipitation totals where they occur and bring some cloud-to-ground lightning.

The heaviest precipitation will likely occur in morning hours Saturday ahead of and just behind the cold front, though scattered showers will likely linger throughout much of the day.  Rain totals will likely be near 2" for nearly everyone, though places that see more convective activity could see totals as high as 3"+.  For this reason, the Flash Flood Watches have been posted.  The map below shows average precipitation amounts for the period from 6pm tonight through 6pm Saturday.  Many locations could see more than the 1.75" posted for the Mid-South area.
24-hour rainfall totals, forecast by the NWS - 6pm Friday through 6pm Saturday
After the cold front passes, temperatures will drop quickly into the 40s during the afternoon hours as wind shifts to the north and remains gusty.  Sunday morning's low temperature will be in the 30s and it will barely reach 50 on Sunday afternoon.  The next weather-maker arrives around mid-week.  Click here for the complete MWN Forecast.

MWN encourages you to read over flood and flash flood safety tips in case water rises in your neighborhood, especially if you live in a flood prone area.  Remember that it is hard to see flooding when driving at night, especially to gauge the depth of water crossing the road.  Do not drive into areas where water covers the road. It takes as little as one foot of rushing water to sweep a car off the road and it's sometimes hard to tell if the roadbed underneath the water is intact. "Turn Around, Don't Drown" is the NWS slogan.  The pictures below, provided by Andrew Simpson, were taken 10 minutes apart on February 28th in East Knox County.  Water can rise VERY quickly!
Before flash flood
During flash flood - 10 minutes later
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