Recap of the Weather Net July 19 to July 20

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Thanks to everyone that stayed up with us for the weather net last night, especially the stations from Butler and Hamilton Counties that seemed to be hardest hit. What we saw was the phenomenon where one storm after another follows the same path. This can be very dangerous. With every passing storm, more heavy rain is dropped. The worst hit areas received over six inches of rain over about 5 hours. If I remember correctly, it was somewhat over 10 inches falling in a short time that caused the flooding in Falmouth and other communities in 1997. This was a similar situation. Of course, most of you know that.

The first few storms brought high winds and then heavy rain, not to mention a brilliant light show. Later, the winds were not as bad, just more heavy rain. The National Weather Service used reports relayed by spotters to issue severe storm and flood warnings. We were allowed to stand down after the storms dropped below severe levels. It was still raining very hard, but everyone knew it and keeping the net operating at that point really served no purpose. Doppler radar is very good at estimating rainfall amounts.

Thanks to all who called in reports. In this case the reports of tree damage were excellent. Many were exemplary reports, including tree size, age, condition, and type of damage. This allows accurate estimation of storm character. Obviously a large healthy tree being uprooted is more cause for concern than a small rotten tree losing a few branches. Reports were also received on what direction trees were felled. Since most seemed to go the same way, the damage seemed to be from straight line winds.

Many rain reports were also received. Many were measured reports which are more valuable than estimations, because they are more accurate. They help to confirm radar based estimations. Thinking back, the first couple reports we heard in the 4 – 5 inch range sounded unbelievable. Rain that heavy coming that fast is rare. But, the reports kept coming. Then came the reports of street and stream flooding. Those reports seemed to confirm the rain amounts.

This was a fantastic net with many valuable reports received. In fact, we’d have to look pretty hard to find anything wrong with it. Even the number of reports of lightning have dramatically decreased, which we appreciate, because they really aren’t used to issue warnings. We would like to ask that all of our spotters continue to adhere to our published reporting criteria unless directed otherwise by the net control operator. As a reminder, what we are looking for are:

  • Damaging winds (generally 50 MPH or greater)
  • Hail 1/2″ in size or greater
  • Wall clouds, funnel clouds, or tornadoes
  • Flooding (1 foot of water in the street, or any stream out of banks)
  • Rain 1 inch per hour or greater

The only area I saw with any room for improvement at all was that we kept receiving reports of power outages which we can’t do anything about. So please, only report an outage if you see that one of the criteria above caused the outage.