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More Rain, Minor Flooding for Soggy Ohio Valley

By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
December 16, 2011, 2:31:06 AM EST

Areas from the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys will continue to experience minor flooding issues and soggy ground up through the end of the year as more rounds of rain are in the offing.

Upcoming rainfall may not be as excessive as it has been recent weeks and months.

However, according to Midwest Weather Expert Jim Andrews, "You get more bang for your buck in terms of rainfall this time of the year."

Andrews is referring to low evaporation rates produced by lower temperatures, lower sun angle, shorter days and virtually no foliage.

The pattern of large-scale storms frequenting the region will continue over the next couple of weeks. And while some of the precipitation can and will fall in the form of snow in some parts of the region, a lack of sustained cold will lead to melting of this snow.

Most of the storms from the southern half of Missouri to the southern half of Ohio on south will tend to be in the form of rain versus snow.

The greatest rainfall anomalies since Sept. 1 of this year have been from northern Ohio southwestward to southern Arkansas. Part of this area including Cincinnati, Ohio and Cape Girardeau, Mo., have received close to or over 2 feet of rain since early September, which is twice their normal rainfall for the period.

We have had reports that there are still soybeans and corn left in muddy inaccessible fields in some areas, due to the wet, soggy conditions.

Interestingly, it is the Wabash River in Illinois and its tributaries that have had most of the high water issues recently. This is because the rain has been bunched up over the past couple of weeks in this region, despite near- or slightly below-normal rainfall earlier this fall. Moisture-loaded wet snow also fell on part of this basin during late November.

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River gauge status as of Dec. 14, 2011 from the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

You can trace high water and high flows from the Wabash, downstream to the Ohio and the lower Mississippi.

According to Meteorologist Meghan Evans, "Because of the saturated state of the ground and the prospect of multiple additional drenching storms forecast for the region in the next couple of weeks, the risk of small stream and poor drainage area flooding will continue virtually with each storm."

The lesser rivers that feed the Ohio and lower Mississippi will continue to run above normal levels during and beyond this period and bring episodes of lowland flooding as a result of recent past, present and near-future storms.

Parents are urged to keep tabs on young children who may play near the banks of small streams during the holiday vacation. The soggy soil along the streams may give way.

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