Over the weekend, we told you about several days of upcoming active weather that included several chances for severe weather. While that is a serious concern there is another issue which could produce widespread problems, flooding. Many parts of Iowa have received more than six inches of rain in recent days, and area rivers and streams were already near or above flood levels. With a lot more rain expected in the coming days (seen in the 7-day rainfall graphic above), what is a problem now could turn into disaster very soon.
First, the severe threat. There are several rounds of severe weather possible across Iowa this week, starting with Memorial Day. A storm system is stalled out over the Upper Midwest and it’s draped nearly stationary front across Iowa. Today, that frontal boundary is expected to serve as the focus for severe thunderstorm development this afternoon and evening, especially across the southern half of Iowa.
With the dynamics in place, all modes of severe weather will be possible. This includes large hail, strong damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. While this threat takes shape tonight there is another major concern for flooding. I don’t have to tell you the ground is already plenty saturated in every corner of the state. With the front going nowhere fast, storms that develop along or near it may begin to train across the same area. This will produce both the very real threat of flash flooding in the short term and major river flooding in the long term.
One saving grace to a more catastrophic flood is the occasional breaks most parts of Iowa have seen between rounds of rain. That’s especially true for eastern Iowa, where rivers were already cresting above flood stage over the weekend.
Bottom line, everyone needs to stay tuned to the latest forecasts, regardless of your plans. If you travel and come across a road with water on it, DO NOT drive through it. You don’t know how deep it is and how strong the current is. It doesn’t take much to sweep a car off the road. Our chase team will be monitoring today’s severe weather threat and we plan to bring you updates throughout the day on Facebook.