Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Philberta Pounds Area With Heavy Rain & Lightning

Lighting Strikes Between Clarks Hill & Colfax

Well this storm certainly has a cutting edge to it and the latest model runs early this morning all agree on at least 2 inches of rain to close to 3 inches of rain from Kokomo to Lafayette through Attica. Boswell to Monticello Logansport and Peru are in the 1 to 2 inch range with less amounts farther north. The devastating 3 to 6 inches of rain still looks to be from St. Louis to Terre Haute Indianapolis and over to Columbus. Major flooding could hit those areas as a result. You can see last night at 9:32 p.m. Philberta was rumbling across the area with 14 cloud to ground lightning strikes per hour. This was in sharp contrast to the over 100 strikes per hour back in Illinois late in the afternoon. The same cold front that caused that lightning outburst will move our way today so expect an increase in lightning and remember your lightning safety rules. At this time no severe weather is expected but we all know that lightning kills more people in Indiana every year than tornadoes so take it seriously.

It is good to know we now have lightning tracking capabilities at TV-18 and I am working as quickly as possible on making it available on our web-site. Last night our lightning tracker worked to perfection. My wife was on the phone while I was looking at a lightning strike in Tippecanoe County on our computer and she not only saw it instantaneously but let me listen to it over the cell phone. This is some excited stuff! It certainly will help keep everybody safer, especially during our peak storm period in May and June and when all those softball and baseball leagues start up.

Now back to Philberta....Here are the keys for us: Emergency Management officials in White County say the Tippecanoe River can handle 3 inches of rain and the forecast is for 1 to 2.5 inches. The Wabash River from Lafayette to Covington can handle close to 3.5 inches of rain. But if we get over 3.5 inches and push 4 inches we will need to watch for more significant flooding. But if areas farther north in White County can stay below the 3 inches that will be the key for keeping Philberta from creating havoc and major flooding in our viewing area. Folks are still out of their homes from our two big floods earlier in the year and some are just getting ready to get back into their homes. So the good news right now is the forecast crest right now keeps the Wabash River at Lafayette below the critical 20 foot crest by late week and the Tippecanoe River is not expected to push folks out of their homes again. But the State Hydrologist did say this can still change and we will have to monitor it really closely. I will hopefully give you the all clear by later today and during this evening's newscast. Here is a look at our 3 headed monster above.

Philberta is a complex storm with a meandering frontal boundary. I do think a cold front will help push the warm, tropical air farther south by this evening. So this will in effect put an end to the heaviest rain. But we could still see another half-inch of rain tonight into Wednesday morning. So right now it looks soggy, but at least I am not expecting a repeat of our January and February floods.

Another saving grace we will have is that it has been quiet for the last two weeks and we have already melted all of the snowpack. Even with last night's rainfall as of midnight we were still having a drier than average month. Take a look above.

The latest in-house model runs did increase our total forecast rain amounts overnight, but notice we stay below the critical 3 inches of rain in Lafayette which means areas to the north in White County should remain below 3 inches. THIS IS GREAT NEWS for our viewing area, but remember we still have to watch for lightning and flooded roadways, and since we are right on the edge of the 4 to 6 inch rains to our south we will need to still watch things closely. Join me tonight for the latest and make it a great day even if it is rainy and gray outside.


Anonymous said...

We have been lucky today as far as rain fall amounts, I hear that the heavy rain may start this evening and into tomorrow? The weather channel just flashed that there is a chance of 4 inches still? What is Philberta going to do?

Anonymous said...

To Mary Anne,
I read your post from this morning, Thankyou, my words are from my heart. I as you have seen the heart breaking effects of the floods, some of my family members and friends still have not yet returned to their homes. I am glad for you that you did not have to leave your home. Kind words are important, and support for all involved, like you said we are all in the same (boat) This is what Mikes blog should be about, all of us pulling together, supporting each other and paying attention to Mike's forcasts.
Thank You!

Anonymous said...

I am confused the national weather service just said that we could see 4 inches of rain, but you are saying 1 to 1.5 inches of rain. I hope that we dont get that much rain, cause Carroll and White counties don't need it. Can you please clear this up for me Mike. I depend on your forecast.

Anonymous said...

I know you can only forecst so far into the future, but when do you see this gloomy, rainy, cool weather coming to an end so we can enjoy the sunny, warm Spring days??? Oh, please just give us some crumb of hope to look forward to....I know this is a silly post and question, I am just suffering extreme cabin fever htis year!!! Humor me. Thanks!