Flash flood watch issued for tonight with more storms expected through Wednesday

More rounds of severe weather and heavy rains are expected through Wednesday night, raising the chances for flash flooding around the Lawrence area.

After 0.63 inches of rain fell at the airport, north of Lawrence, between 11 p.m. Sunday through 1 a.m. Monday, Jenifer Prieto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said severe thunderstorms would once again be a threat along with high winds and hail Monday night. The highest chance for the severe weather in Lawrence would be around the same time Monday night.

The ground is already saturated with rain that fell in late April and into May, Prieto said, speaking by phone with the Journal-World. Because of that, Lawrence will be in a flash flood watch beginning at 7 p.m. Monday.

“A watch means conditions are favorable,” Prieto said. “The soil is 90% saturated right now,”

It’s important to be alert and aware because much of the heavy rain will come at night, which makes it’s difficult to see how flooded a road is, Prieto said.

Lawrence experienced 4.75 inches of rain in April, Prieto said, which was .98 inches above the 3.77 inches of rain that is the average for the month. Already in May, 1.25 inches of rain have fallen, which is .37 inches above the norm of .88 inches.

While most of Sunday’s severe weather, which included some tornado activity, stayed in central Kansas, Prieto said the Lawrence area did have a better chance of severe storms popping up after 7 p.m. Monday.

With Monday’s temperatures rising to 77 degrees and the dewpoint expected in the 60% range, plus a front coming across the area, all the ingredients for thunderstorms developing will come together later Monday afternoon, Prieto said. The severe storms will be along the I-70 corridor and will point north earlier in the evening. However, strong winds and hail could be pointing south of I-70 around 11 p.m.

“We don’t want to use the tornado word unless we have to,” Prieto said. While a few tornadoes could pop up, strong winds and hail would be more of a hazard, based on the weather model.

Prieto’s biggest concern is the potential for flash flooding. Tuesday morning rain could be lingering in the area. Then storms will pop up again Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.


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