Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 26-29 Potentially Catastrophic Flooding

A potentially catastrophic flooding situation is unfolding for parts of the South Plains in the next couple of days.

The Weather Prediction Center has outlooked portions of eastern Oklahoma and extreme northwest Arkansas in a High risk of rainfall exceeding flash flood guidance to the right of a line. In essence, this is the risk of very heavy rainfall in a given area. There is a Moderate risk extending from northern Texas, portions of eastern Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, central and southern Missouri, and extreme west-central Illinois. Those in the Moderate risk should make preparations for very heavy rainfall, while those in the High risk area should make preparations for potentially-widespread flash flooding.

The Weather Prediction Center places an 11.87" rainfall maximum over eastern Oklahoma for this storm system over the next 72 hours. Given that Oklahoma went through a record-breaking rainfall event in May of this year, this impending rain event will only add stress to an environment that has already dealt with a very intense rainfall event this year. Amounts on the order of 4-7" are projected for northeast Texas, while central and southern Missouri into northwest Arkansas and portions of east Oklahoma are outlooked for 7-10"+ of rain. Again, this is not something to take lightly. Rainfall on this magnitude, especially in areas that received extreme rainfall several months ago, is expected to cause flash flooding, possibly on a severe scale.

To Summarize:

- Heavy rain is expected to cause flash flooding over the next few days.
- This rain could be as high as 12", with amounts over 6" possible in portions of eastern Oklahoma, southern Missouri, and western Arkansas.
- Preparations should begin now for potentially severe flash flooding, especially in the areas mentioned above.


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