Effects of Gustav may add 3 to 5 inches of rain to already wet summer

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | 8:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A flash flood watch was posted for Boone County beginning Wednesday afternoon as the remnants of Hurricane Gustav make their way into the region.

Rain associated with the tropical system was moving into southern Missouri late Tuesday afternoon. The flash flood watch, which is in effect through Friday morning, puts the greatest threat of heavy rain in parts of Illinois and south-central, east-central and northeast Missouri. Boone County was on the western edge of the flash flood watch.

The National Weather Service expects the tropical system to bring 3 to 5 inches of rain to mid-Missouri, adding to a rainfall total for the year that was already nearly 13 inches above normal as of Tuesday.

The remnants of Gustav are not alone in shaking up the Midwest's weather pattern. A cold front approaching from the Northern Plains is forecast to stall over eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. The frontal system is expected to collide with Gustav's tropical moisture and create the potential for heavy rain.

While National Weather Service graphics indicate upwards of 8 inches of rain in parts of Illinois and east-central Missouri, forecaster Butch Dye of the forecast office in St. Louis said those totals were only expected in spotty, isolated areas.

"For the most part, we expect 3 to 5 inches," Dye said.

It's not uncommon for hurricanes that come ashore on the Gulf Coast to affect weather as far north as the Great Lakes. Dye said, "When a hurricane dies over land, it's always going to bring rain to the area," he said.

The tropical moisture will push yearly rainfall totals even higher. Since Jan. 1, 40.78 inches of rain had been recorded at Columbia Regional Airport, 12.8 inches above the average. The past three months have brought 18.54 inches - compared to an average of 11.57 inches for the same period.


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