Heavy rains create river bottleneck
When it comes to rainfall, April 2011 was indeed a month for the record books.
PADUCAH — April 2011 was indeed a month for the record books.
It comes as no surprise that last month was the wettest April ever, with a total of 15.9 inches of rain measured at the National Weather Service in Paducah, smashing the old record of 14.5 inches. In fact, we have already received over 70 percent of our average yearly rainfall in just four months.
Rainfall estimates over the past 30 days show nearly the entire Local 6 area has received anywhere from 12 to over 20 inches of rain since early April.
As we look at a wider view of the Central U.S., we discover that between 10 and 20 inches of rain has fallen all the way from central Ohio, across most of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and even down into Arkansas and Oklahoma. Nearly 200,000 square miles of land that has to get rid of nearly a foot of water.
So where does all of that water go? Unfortunately for now, it can't really go anywhere.
There are hundreds and hundreds of smaller rivers and streams that eventually drain into the Ohio River. Since the Ohio hasn't been able to drain into the Mississippi, this creates a bottleneck effect.
Think about what happens when a bunch of cars all leave the same place at the same time. It takes a while for everyone to funnel from the parking lot onto the highway.
Unfortunately for right now, many of our backyards are acting as the parking lot for the waters of the rivers until they can drain into the Mississippi River and head to the Gulf of Mexico.