COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It feels like we have been talking about it for years (maybe it’s just been months)… it’s Dry! Like abnormally dry for most of us.
Nearly 43% of the state is under a “moderate drought” as of last weeks’ drought monitor. In fact, the drought monitor that comes out Thursday should look worse as its data period ended this morning.
The good news is that we have a high parked off to the east of us and this is going to pump in moisture from the south. Also, there is a low along the Gulf Coast that is pummeling that area with rainfall as it is barely moving. This low is bringing inland large amounts of moisture in the deep south and heavy rainfall. It’s also aiding that Gulf moisture to make its way north… and that high to the east of us is helping to transport moisture farther north…. right to us.
Check out below the radar estimates for rainfall across the Florida Panhandle. Both of the radar estimate images are from the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee and Tampa.
The image below is rainfall totals from Saturday-Tuesday, the color in white is 20+” of ranfall, with the 4-8″ totals along north of the Tampa Bay.
The image below shows the heavy rainfall in the “armpit” of Florida, where rainfall in the dark red is 6-8″ of rain from Sunday-Tuesday.
Remember that very comfortable morning had Sunday morning? Monday was equally as nice and dry. Humidity has been low, and now that’s changing quickly.
Not only will the humidity level climb to uncomfortable swampy levels for the rest of the week, but we are also going to have our atmosphere moisten up. If you think of our atmosphere as a sponge, we are going to quickly make that relatively dry sponge quite wet. It will be to the point that any type of nudge into that sponge will produce a leak in the form of rain. Yes, that isn’t exactly how it works, but you get the idea.
Something to consider, is that we are not going to have a great forcing mechanism to give lift until Sunday’s cold front. However, day-to-day, daytime heating will produce our lift… meaning we’ll generally have afternoon and evening storms each day.
Below I have mapped low/mid-level winds and moisture that will be moving into our area. You will notice our relatively dry air (orange colors are dry, whites are still semi-dry, green is moist) that is being replaced today.
On Wednesday you will notice the a wave of better moisture moving into our area, our atmosphere will be noticeably more moist Wednesday.
Below: Southerly low will continue to bring another wave of moisture, giving us additional chances of afternoon/evening storms.
Below: More moisture transports up into our area, with a slight lull over Ohio. I think we will see our lower chance of storms (but still a chance) on Friday. This should end up being our warmest day (a degree or two warmer).
Below: Saturday ahead of the incoming cold front, we will have more rain and a few storms around in our warm and humid atmosphere.
Below: The cold front approaches from the northwest, our best chance of seeing more linear storm formation will occur with our cold frontal boundary. This also should be area-wide our best chance of rain with the front.
Below: Post-cold front, a blast of much drier air and slightly cooler air ushers back into our area along the northerly flow.
Over the next few days, I do not see more than about a 40-50% chance of storms any single day (afternoon/evening). This means some folks will enjoy beneficial rain while others get none. Because we will have relatively weak flow to steer these storms, I do anticipate pockets of heavy rain just about any given day Wednesday-Saturday. I do not see severe storms in the forecast the rest of this week.
However…heavy rain will be a real threat, and a serious one to keep an eye out for. Our ground it quite dry in most spots, so runoff will be a real thing.
Below is an image from the Weather Prediction Center at NOAA, for the 7-day outlook for rainfall. Notice almost the entire state of Ohio is forecast to see 1.75″ – 5.4″ of rainfall over the next week. This especially looks good for us in Central Ohio as most of our area is in the 3-5″ range on this, and it will be coming over a 5-6 day period.
Getting this much rain in a short time will not quite end a drought, but it will definitely put a dent in it. Oftentimes some of these numbers may seem a bit high, but I think in some of these rainfall events we could see 1-2″ of rainfall in an hour or less. Add up a few of these events, and these totals seem possible. Just remember if heavy rain does fall in your area: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!