Significant Drought Relief Arriving

Thursday, July 12, 2012: Significant Drought Relief Slowly Arrives

Good Thursday morning, folks!  We’re soon to receive just what the doctor ordered!  We have been dealing with moderate to severe drought conditions across much of the area, but the next four to five days will bring significant opportunities for showers and thunderstorms. 

Before we look ahead, here is a quick look back at the ISOLATED thunderstorms that only impacted a minority of the crowd, yesterday.

Strong winds toppled a tree into a home in Johnson County.  Farther west, in Estill County, there are reports that about 50 trees came down in a separate strong thunderstorm. 


Rainfall totals were pretty sparse, by the numbers, simply because there weren’t many isolated thunderstorms that crossed the paths of rain gauge locations.  With that said, the Paintsville / Johnson County storm did bring a good bit of rain and drought relief to some areas.

The widespread action has been south of the front, in Tennessee and beyond.  That front is just beginning to waver back to the north, into Kentucky.

This morning, high clouds have been streaming in from the south, ahead of the richest moisture.  Renea Holman took this beautiful photo shortly after sunrise this morning.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Renea!  It’s a beauty!

IN GENERAL, a forecast of 1” to 3” is pretty reasonable for the entire area with this event.  There is some degree of uncertainty with rainfall totals, because some of the showers and thunderstorms that we will get this weekend will be convective (thunderstorms), which are subject to heavy rain over very local areas.  Meanwhile 7 or 8 miles away, totals will be much, much less for the individual thunderstorm. 

Because we’re dealing with a few days in a row of thunderstorms and rainfall, I’d like to think that the very local differences will dampen out to a point that everyone receives around, or potentially a little more than 1", with LOCALIZED areas seeing more than 3”.  Computer models (and some websites geared toward the public) will generate very specific forecasts (example: 2.31” for one town but 1.72” for the county seat, one county away), but in the real world, those numbers and forecasts don’t truthfully express the uncertainty we deal with.

WITH ALL OF THAT SAID, I’m running with a 1” to 3” forecast for the entire area, but 2” to 3” totals will probably be more common in a band from near Lake Cumberland into the Bluegrass Region, with 1” to 2” more likely in the mountains and coalfields of eastern & southeastern KY.

On the "tame" side, here is our in-house model for rainfall totals through Saturday evening.  This is a bit drier than most of the other model forecasts.


On the higher end, here is the WRF / NAM forecast for total rainfall through only 2PM on Saturday.  This is much more aggressive, with a nice band of 2" to 3" right across the Bluegrass and Lake Cumberland Regions.


Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the rain! 


Categories: Storm Team Weather Blog

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