What is causing this heavy rainfall and flood potential?
A front will stall across central Kentucky through tomorrow. Several upper-level disturbances will ride along this front, bringing rounds of showers and thunderstorms. Moisture levels will be very high, allowing any storm to produce copious amounts of rainfall in very short time periods.
How much rainfall can be expected?
It is tough to forecast exact amounts with numerous showers and thunderstorms around, as the exact track and strength of the storms (strong storms constantly moving over the same areas) are tough to predict. However, the stalled front in conjunction with the large moisture values will produce very efficient rain-making showers and thunderstorms. These thunderstorms will be capable of dropping several inches of rain in very short time periods, leading to quickly rising streams and creeks which could lead to flash flooding. A Flash Flood WATCH is in effect for much of central Kentucky through tomorrow morning.
Below is the rainfall amount forecast through 8 am on Sunday. Remember, due to the random nature of thunderstorms, some locations may receive much more than this amount, possibly over very short time periods.
What exactly is flash flooding and how can I be prepared?
Flash flooding is caused by excessive rainfall over a short time which causes a rapid rise in smaller creeks and streams which can lead to a sudden onset of flooding. Additionally, poorly drained areas can quickly accumulate standing water across local roadways.
If you have plans this weekend, here are some tips to follow to keep you and your family safe:
1. Never set up a camp site near a creek or a river! Even if it's not raining heavily at your location, rain from upstream can cause the water levels at your location to quickly rise, potentially washing your site away.
2. Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road! The depth of the water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
3. Never drive around a barricade, which is there for your protection! Be especially cautious at night, when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
4. If you come upon a flowing stream where fast moving water is above your ankles, turn around, don't drown! Six inches of swift-moving water can knock you off your feet. Many people are swept away wading through flood waters, resulting in injury or death.
Remember, on average, floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of hazardous weather.