Five-Inch Rains Soak Region, Flood Roads
By WestKyStar Staff
WESTERN KENTUCKY - Bands of heavy weekend rains, pocked with threats of severe thunderstorms and funnel clouds, inundated the region and caused flash flooding and road closures.
Showers on Friday night and Saturday morning set the stage for a formidable line of storms that marched slowly across the Midwest and crossed the Mississippi River late in the afternoon. Storm spotters in northwest Tennessee reported a funnel cloud, and wall clouds and radar-indicated rotation launched tornado warnings for several western Kentucky counties.
A tornado watch for the entire region continued past midnight Saturday, but the main events in the overnight hours were torrential downpours that brought radar-indicated rain totals of five or more inches to parts of McCracken, Livingston and Crittenden counties, as well as points in Johnson and Pulaski counties in southern Illinois.
Saturday at Paducah's Barkley Regional Airport, the National Weather Service office measured a record-setting one-day total of 4.19 inches or rain, with another .79 inches recorded early Sunday.
The early-evening tornado warnings sent stores like Walmart scrambling to herd customers into designated safe zones. Later Saturday night, the heaviest deluge of rain quickly filled storm drains to overflowing, and dozens of Paducah streets and intersections were barricaded with water over roads. McCracken and Livingston counties also had many ditches overflow and block roads.
Dawn Smith, the owner of the Livingston County house pictured in this article, said "this is the worst my yard has looked since the floods in the spring of 2011".
By late Sunday morning, most of the flash flooding had receded, but some Carlisle County highways were still experiencing road closures, including US 62 west of Cunningham, and KY highways 121, 1628 and 1820. US 62 reopened later Sunday afternoon.
Even as breezy Sunday afternoon sunshine started to dry out most of western Kentucky, the back edge of the slow-moving front was just clearing out of Hopkinsville and Madisonville.
The upcoming week looks to be practically rain-free, which should allow fields to dry and farmers to return to harvesting crops.