Weather advisories issued for Pike County

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Heavy rain, dense fog and potential for stronger winds could pose a problem for Pike County travellers today.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Pike County, including Troy, lasting from Tuesday morning into early Wednesday morning.

“It’s just a watch as of right now,” said Micheal Garrison, a NWS meteorologist. “It starts at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and runs through 6 a.m. Wednesday. It’s just an estimate of how heavy the rain will be over the area, and we felt a flash food watch might be needed.”

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The average rainfall amounts can be anywhere from two to three inches, but Garrison said it could be closer to three inches of rainfall and some localized areas could see as much as four inches of rain.

“We feel like the greater threat is going to be with flash flooding and the heavy rain,” Garrison said. “We’ve estimated that rainfall is going to be three inches area-wide. You should see heavier localized amounts, with the localized amount closer to four inches. You could get four inches of rain depending on the area, which could cause flooding in lower areas of the county.”

The watch signifies that there are chances conditions may develop that could lead to flash flooding. A flash flood is very dangerous, and while a watch is meant as what most would consider a warning, conditions could still be favorable for a flood.

“The rain is the main threat,” Garrison said. “Then, during that time period as well, especially, from noon to roughly 6 p.m., I would also pay attention to the threat of thunderstorms and have a way to receive alerts to stay informed of your area’s weather.”

The NWS are anticipating widespread showers and thunderstorms developing across the region Tuesday morning and persist through Tuesday night ahead of an approaching cold front.

In anticipating hazardous weather conditions, the NWS also issued a weather outlook report, which states for days two through seven, or Tuesday through Sunday. There is a low-confidence, low-end threat for isolated, severe storms with damaging winds, hail and weak tornadoes today between 1 and 6 p.m. The threat are could shift further south and east after 6 p.m. and he threat could last until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

We looked at all that (Monday), and we can’t rule that out completely,” Garrison said. “Although the threat of high winds and isolated tornadoes is low, it’s not a zero.”

While the chance for tornadoes is low today and Wednesday, Jeanna Barnes, Pike County Emergency Management director, said Pike County residents should still remain aware of the weather situation through Wednesday morning when the advisories expire.

Pike County is certainly no stranger to severe weather this time of year,” Barnes said. “It was just two years ago we had two tornadoes strike the county on the evening of Christmas Day. Everyone should remain weather aware over the next couple of days and check local media and the National Weather Service for updates.

Because the threat of heavy rainfall is so severe, the chance of roadways flooding is also high. According to Barnes the best philosophy to keep when driving on flooded road ways is “turn around, don’t drown.”

“Although there is the possibility of damaging winds, small hail and an isolated tornado, perhaps the biggest threat with this event is the potential for heavy rain that can lead to flash flooding especially in areas that do not drain quickly,” Barnes said. “City streets can flood quickly with no warning. Remember if you can’t see the road you have no idea how deep the water is. Don’t drive through flooded areas.”

In the event of severe weather, Barnes said a person should rely on multiple sources of information rather than just one, such as the outdoor warning system.

“We always like to stress the use of multiple alert systems, because the outdoor warning system is intended for people that are outdoors,” Barnes said. “The sirens have approximately one-mile radius, but that radius was determined for a clear day. If you’ve got a loud storm with heavy rains and potentially strong winds, the sound of the sirens will be quickly drowned out. And, the sirens are susceptible to a lightening strike or malfunctioning.”