This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Louisana floods of August, 2016

Photo from KOMONEWS.COM, Scott Sistek blog

Residing in Seattle, I know how much rain we get in the winter--southeastern Seattle got all of that rain in 48 hours from a stalled area of low pressure that tapped into tropical moisture. This post is largely a summary of Scott Sistek's blog post here.  Several thousand people have been rescued from flooded areas and the governor (who had to evacuate the Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge) said that they "haven't been rescuing people. We've been rescuing subdivisions."
     The town of Lafayette in the wettest part of the storm reported 10.39" of rain on Friday, a record that toppled in one day when they reported 10.40" on Saturday. This combined total of 20.79" for two days is about what we get in Seattle in an average november+December+January+February (20.99"). The record had been 10.38" and it went from first place to third place in just two days! Baton Rouge had 16.71" in the same 48 hours. 
Radar showing estimated 20"+ in purple. From same source as above.
     The moisture was dragged moisture from the Gulf over the region as it drifted very slowly to the west. While these regions typically experience heavy rains, it is unusual for a storm to stall like this. When I looked at weather.com weather forecast, there is another week of rain and thunderstorms (though the rainfall amounts should be less) and 85-87 degree temperatures. 
     According to weather.com, the storm is heading north and will bring heavy rain into the midwest--St. Louis (5-8" there and in central-eastern Illinois), Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and northwestern Pennsylvania (1"). A number of weather systems are colliding--the stalled low pressure region, moisture heading north out of the Gulf of Mexico, and cool, dry air from Canada heading south.The same pattern is staying in place for a few days. Hot, humid, rainy conditions are also predicted for my University of Illinois friends in Champaign, IL, with a flash flood watch in place as I write this (Sunday afternoon). 
     I hope that all of those affected by this storm take care of themselves and others, and wish you a speedy recovery.