More rain to come, motorists urged to slow down
Posted: Friday, October 30, 2009 8:58 pm
By JOHN BRANNON
Messenger Staff Reporter
Northwest Tennessee, specifically “Union City proper,” has received double the amount of rainfall it normally does in the month of October.
That is according to a meteorologist at the Memphis office of the National Weather Service earlier today.
“Normal (total) rainfall is 3.50 inches,” said Marlene Nicholson. “Right now, it’s 6.47 inches for October 2009. And you’ll get possibly another inch on top of that for Union City proper.”
Obion County University of Tennessee Extension office director Tim Smith, along with all other agriculturalists, has kept a nervous eye on the sky the last few days.
“It’s the wettest October I’ve seen in a long time,” Smith said. “Farmers don’t like it at all. We’ve been lucky, though, if that is the word. Other areas east and south of us got a whole lot more (rain). We skipped a whole lot of rain we could have gotten, but what we got is still way too much.”
Smith said Obion County farmers have about 5,000 acres of corn and 85,000 acres of soybeans still in the field. Normally, corn shelling is complete by Oct. 31 each year.
“If it dried off today, it would probably be Monday before they can get back in the fields,” he said. “Two to four days of sunshine will do it.”
Ms. Nicholson at the NWS office in Memphis said there would be periods of heavy rain this morning, followed by scattered light showers the rest of the day.
“You can expect maybe an inch of rain, maybe a little more, in northwest Tennessee,” she said. “There’s a line of heavy rain moving in. You’ll get maybe an inch more rain, then cloudy, and light rain the rest of the day.”
She attributes the event to a cold front moving through, southwest to northeast.
“It’ll push through and clear off tonight,” she said. “I know this is very rough on farmers, all this wet weather. But after today it’ll be dry Saturday and Sunday. Right now, we have a dry forecast right through next week.”
In response to a flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has issued a traffic advisory in anticipation of the predicted heavy rains yet to come today.
Kentucky highway maintenance crews across the region have been checking drainage structures for clogs to help prepare for potential flooding.
The approaching weather system is likely to create hazardous driving conditions.
Hence, these safe driving tips have been offered:
• Limbs and such.
“There is concern that downed limbs and other ice storm debris (left over from the January 2009 ice storms) will continue to wash out of wooded areas and into highway cross drains and pipes,” the advisory states.
“Potential is great for additional localized flooding along highways, roads, and streets when drainage structures become blocked by debris.”
• Use caution.
“Motorists are advised to use appropriate caution as rain moves from west to east today and tonight. Motorists should remember to turn on their headlights whenever daytime rain requires the use of windshield wipers.
“Driving with your lights on in daytime improves safety by helping make your vehicle more visible to other drivers.”
• Flash flood.
“A flash flood watch means there is potential for flooding to develop very quickly. Record rainfall during October has left the soil saturated. Many streams are already near or at bank full. It takes very little rain to push creeks and streams over their banks, creating potential for flooded roadways.
• Slow down.
“Motorists should be prepared to adjust their speed to meet deteriorating driving conditions.”
• Stop, turn around.
“Motorists should avoid driving through floodwaters. Remember, turn around, don’t drown. As little as six inches of running water can push a vehicle off the roadway or knock a motorist off his feet.”
Published in The Messenger 10.30.09
flash flood watch, Kentucky, Tennessee