Southern Plains States Faced with Serious Flooding

The western troughing pattern, with occasional cut-off lows that have been hanging around the west coast have done good work in eliminating the drought that was entrenched in the Southern Plains past few years. The copious amounts of rain that have fallen in the last month or so has not only taken out a large part of the drought, but caused serious flooding issues in the region. This heavy rainfall stemmed from several storm types; rounds of trailing severe thunderstorms, large areas of stratiform rain as well as slow moving storms the would drop significant amounts of rain. These have all occurred in the Oklahoma/north Texas region since the end of April.

[map type=”hybrid” autofit=”1″ disable_scrollwheel=”1″] [pin tooltip=”Lake Eufalufa”]Lake Eufalufa, ok[/pin] [pin]Norman[/pin] [pin]Wichita Falls[/pin] [/map]

The flooding is not only wreaking havoc on farmers in the area, whose crops are struggling due to all the rain, but also the general population as several major highways in the region have been washed out and forced to close. Lake Eufalufa, one of Oklahoma’s major lakes is currently 14 feet above normal, causing many campsites nearby to be shut down. In Wichita Falls, Texas, neighbourhoods in low-lying areas were forced to evacuate ahead of the next system – the city announced they would be cutting power at all these neighbourhoods to prevent electrical fires. In Norman, Oklahoma, heavy rains from trailing storms turned parts of its Main Street into a fast flowing river this past week. It’s unclear how many people have been affected since the beginning of May throughout the south but two people are known to have died in the floods. The good news is the extreme drought, which covered 29% of the region last year, is now down to 0%.

Past 30-day rainfall in Oklahoma shows significant rainfall across much of the state, with a 495mm tally in Norman.
Past 30-day rainfall in Oklahoma shows significant rainfall across much of the state, with a 495mm tally in Norman.

More rain is in the forecast for most of these regions this weekend – with possibly another significant rainfall in the works. In some of the hardest hit areas, such as central Oklahoma, more than 75 additional millimetres could fall this weekend; flood watches are already in effect and meteorologists are urging residents to limit travel.

Showers With A Chance of Thunderstorms Tonight & Friday

Showers and isolated thunderstorms will push into the Red River Valley tonight, signalling the start of the next major low pressure system to move across the prairies.

A low moving NE out of Eastern Montana has spread rain into much of Southern Saskatchewan through the day today, and is posed to bring more rain into Southern Manitoba.  Thunderstorms have initiated along a warm front draped W-E across North Dakota and will move northwards, supported by a 40-50kt southerly 850 jet and large scale ascent with a strong southerly flow aloft overriding the warm front.

Winnipeg should see rain beginning late this evening into the overnight period and through much of the day tomorrow as the precipitation will continue to blossom coming out of the United States.  All in all, most of the Red River valley should see 20-30mm of rain by the time the rain lets up on Friday evening, with local amounts possibly reaching 50mm underneath a few of those isolated thunderstorms, should they manage to develop.

This is, unfortunately, not good news to many of the Farmers in the RRV, who have had to battle saturated grounds through much of the latter half of the summer.  This is also bad news for the RRV in general, as we continue to have the soil re-saturated as we approach the winter freeze.  Should a long stretch of dry weather not occur, this wet fall could lead right back into a wet spring due to overland flooding.