Ongoing wet weather conditions and a forecast for more of the same have officials concerned about the potential for flooding, particularly early next week.
A hazardous weather outlook issued Thursday by the National Weather Service office in Huntsville states total rainfall amounts during the next several days could reach 5 inches in areas of northwest Alabama.
Weather service meteorologist Kurt Weber said much of the concern centers around next week.
“As we get into the next week, we’ll have one or more rounds of rainfall,” Weber said. “During that time, Sunday night into early Wednesday, we could get 2 to 4 inches, and maybe some locally higher amounts. It’s something we’ll have to watch.
“The main things we’re probably looking at from this will be minor flash flooding or river flooding. Right now, we’re not forecast to have anything go above flood stage, but we’re in a wait-and-see mode.”
The weather service outlook states that, with the soil already saturated, some ponding of water and brief flooding in urban areas could occur in areas that have poor drainage.
Weather officials said 1.79 inches of rain was recorded at the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals during a 30-hour period that began Wednesday morning. The total does not take into account heavy rainfall that fell in the Shoals on Thursday afternoon. Water was standing in some fields and outdoor athletic complexes.
The continued outlook calls for a wave of heavy rainfall Sunday night into Monday as a cold front passes through the Shoals. Steady rainfall will continue after that as another low-pressure system develops Tuesday into early Wednesday.
George Grabryan, director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, advises motorists to keep tabs on the weather.
“The concern is that we’re pretty saturated from the rainfall over the last few days,” Grabryan said. “People in areas prone to flood and who have to traverse roads in low areas really have to be on watch.
“Drivers tend to see what they consider to be a little bit of water on the road and think they can get through it, but it takes very little water to wash you off the road.”
Fortunately, temperatures are expected to remain above freezing throughout this period, so there is no chance of wintry precipitation, Weber said.
He said Mississippi, western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas likely will be hit worse than northwest Alabama.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|