Heavy Rain, Flooding & Twisters

With summer underway across the northern hemisphere, the main headlines as of late have included flooding related to snow melt in Canada rolling down into North Dakota, residual wildfires in the desert southwest and tornadoes in the Ohio River Valley.  More on some of this in a moment.  But first, let me focus on the gloomy,damp conditions that North Central Wisconsin has been experiencing much of this week.  Just a week or so ago, many spots in the region were on the verge of dropping below average for rainfall.  However some bouts of heavy rain, along with a few thunderstorms rolled across from Sunday through Wednesday.  The rainfall totals from Monday to Wednesday looked something like this...

Thanks to the wet weather, we had a hand full of rivers in the Wisconsin River Valley which quickly rose to bankfull, if not flood stage from Tuesday to Thursday.  Fortunately, the flooding was not too widespread.  On the other hand, many folks residing in low level spots or that tend to have the sump pump going in the early spring, most likely heard them going again thanks to the rain.  Yes, the ground wasn't very saturated prior to the arrival of all this wet weather, but now much of the area is just about to that point.  There is some relief in the forecast as the pesky low that caused all of the heavy downpours is heading east, with the clouds being replaced by sunshine for Friday and most of the weekend.

Meantime, you'll remember back on Tuesday there was a Tornado Watch out for a 4 counties in the viewing area and extending down in southern Wisconsin.  Green Lake and Fond Du Lac Counties ended up with two separate tornadoes Tuesday afternoon, resulting in EF1 damage SE of Green Lake and SW of Alto.  The maximum wind speeds were between 90-100 mph with damage to barns, trees and power lines.  Ironically, on the same day last year, an EF2 tornado hit Eagle in Waukesha County.  For a full recap of these severe storms to our south, check out the NWS Milwaukee.

Moving on to Wednesday, the same cold front that pushed through Wisconsin, made in-roads across the central Great Lakes, down through the Ohio & Tennessee River Valleys, into the Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic states.  More storms producing primarily wind damage were the result, but there was a notable tornado in Louisville near the famed Churchill Downs.

This twister hit just after 8pm on Wednesday night, only staying on the ground for 3 minutes.  No less, it impacted barns for the horses at Churchill Downs, along with living quarters for some of the staff at the horse track.  The  tornado came very close to Papa Johns Cardinal Football Stadium (home of the Louisville Cardinals), but dissipated without doing any damage to the facility.  I don't believe there were any races being held at Churchill Downs leading up to this severe weather event but certainly due to the damage, races were postponed on Thursday.  This was one of 5 tornadoes confirmed to have impacted northern Kentucky and southern Indiana.  For more on the effects, and radar images, follow the link to the NWS Louisville.

If that wasn't enough active weather, wildfires were still burning and smoldering in parts of Arizona and at one point had snuck close to the New Mexico border.  Conditions out there, not surprisingly are staying pretty dry and breezy heading into the weekend.  Once the flames are put out, the double edged sword from the burned areas is that once the monsoon rains develop later in the summer season, there could easily be flooding and mud slides.

Summer-like weather is expected to return to North Central Wisconsin beginning this weekend and rolling through much of next week.  By Wednesday and Thursday, the mercury may be climbing back into the upper 80s, perhaps even touching 90.  Thus it appears taking the kids to the pool or finding a cool, shady spot outside will once again be a good idea as June wraps up.

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