Not over yet: Drenching downpours to renew flood threat in hard-hit communities
Powerful storms stalled over Appalachia from July 27-28, with rivers still rising on July 29. At least 16 people were killed and hundreds forced to flee from their homes.
After days of drenching downpours and catastrophic flooding unfolded across a large swath of the United States last week, AccuWeather forecasters remain very concerned for a repeat performance from Mother Nature into Tuesday.
Last Tuesday, large portions of the St. Louis metro were under water and hundreds of people had to be rescued after a foot of rain fell in some locations over the course of just 24 hours. St. Louis was then hit by more heavy rain later in the week. The threat shifted east as the week progressed and by Thursday, historic flooding devastated several towns in eastern Kentucky, leaving at least 35 people dead.
These instances of destructive flooding were brought to life as a result of a slow-moving front tracking across central and southern portions of the country. Drenching storms along this slow-moving front were able to exhibit a phenomenon known as training which caused the hardest-hit areas to record colossal rainfall totals.
AccuWeather forecasters warn that a similar atmospheric setup can ultimately aggravate flooding concerns in hard-hit communities and create new issues elsewhere.
Drenching storms have been firing up daily across a more than 800-mile-long corridor of the southern and eastern U.S. Persistent showers and thunderstorms will continue to pop up each day and remain active into Tuesday. Further south of the main threat area, major flooding potential was seen in Gosport, Alabama as the Alabama River reached over 53 feet in water, expanding past the flood stage of the river that stood at 42 feet.
With this activity, the threat for flooding will encompass large portions of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
"Due to the recent heavy rains across portions of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Virginias, the soil is incapable of retaining water, resulting in major flash flooding concerns," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham explained.
Residents and travelers across the Tennessee Valley will need to stay alert for flooding dangers, as hazardous conditions can develop very quickly. Low-lying areas along small streams and secondary rivers or poor-drainage zones are often the most troublesome spots to be near when torrential rainfall occurs.
Into Sunday night, the focus of the heaviest storms was on the Tennesse Valley and portions of the Ozark Mountains. The Ozarks were pounded by rainfall to end the week as some locations in Arkansas and Missouri picked up half a foot of rain.
36-hour rainfall totals as of Saturday night.
Sunday night, the core of the heaviest storms began to shift and target the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic.
Areas at the greatest risk for flooding concerns to arise early this week include cities like Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; Roanoke, Virginia; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Southeastern Kentucky also remains firmly in the danger zone for downpours through Monday night and into Tuesday.
"While the same extreme rainfall amounts observed in southeast Kentucky a few days ago are not expected through the early week, there can easily be enough rain to hamper cleanup efforts and possibly send rivers back into flood stage," Buckingham cautioned.
Although flash flooding as a result of heavy rainfall is a serious threat to lives and property, any rainfall that permeates the ground across the Southern and Eastern states helps to alleviate drought concerns.
Saturated soil will also help keep temperatures from skyrocketing across the southeastern quarter of the United States once persistent storminess comes to an end.
"Moist soil will not heat up as much or as quickly as dry soil due to the energy involved in the process of evaporation," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys explained. "This will work to keep temperatures this week at typical summer levels across the Tennessee Valley and surrounding areas, rather than the record-challenging levels forecast to occur farther north."
Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts™ are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.Report a Typo
Top StoriesMore Stories