Extreme Weather News

Slow-moving Frontal System Triggers Storms, Flooding Across Ohio Valley

Slow-moving Frontal System Triggers Storms, Flooding Across Ohio Valley

A slow-moving frontal boundary draped across the central US from the Central Plains across the Middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys and into the Mid-Atlantic region has been providing the focus for numerous showers and thunderstorms the past few days while an associated East-West oriented, upper-level jet stream located near the front has helped to organize and strengthen the storms. This has lead to severe weather and flooding across the region. The latest episode began when thunderstorms formed and organized into a line across northern Illinois and southern Lake Michigan on the evening of June 22nd (local time). These storms caused several small tornadoes over north-central Illinois followed by wide spread wind reports across Indiana, Ohio and into West Virginia as the storm complex continued to grow as it propagated southeastward overnight. After these storms weakened over the Central Appalachians, a new line of storms emerged oriented East-West across northern Kentucky through central West Virginia that slowly drifted southward.

Slow-moving Frontal System Triggers Storms, Flooding Across Ohio Valley

GPM captured this image of the East-West oriented line of storms at 9:41 pm EDT on Thursday June 23rd (01:41 UTC 24 June 2016). The image shows rain rates derived from the GPM GMI (outer swath) and DPR (inner swath) overlaid on enhanced IR data from the GOES-East satellite. By this time, most of the heavy rain was located over southern Virginia along the border with North Carolina where rates are shown to exceed 50 mm/hr (~2 inches/hr, shown in dark red). Meanwhile a broad area of light to moderate rain (blue and green areas) stretches from the Atlantic Coast all the way through southern West Virginia and back into central Kentucky.

So far in West Virginia, which received up to 9 inches of rain, at least 7 deaths have been reported as a result of flooding caused by the storms while numerous others have needed to be rescued, including around 500 people trapped inside a mall after a nearby bridge was washed out.

Slow-moving Frontal System Triggers Storms, Flooding Across Ohio Valley

 

  • Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Stephen Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC)