28 June 2016

Up to 8 Inches of Rain Fall on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I live here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and we had a severe flood event last night. Nearly 6 inches of rain fell at my house. This comes after my post yesterday about the difficulty in forecasting extreme events like floods. Look below and read what I posted to my local viewers about the event. This area is flat, so we did not have any loss of life, but it was very similar to what happened in West Virginia a few days ago.


Radar Rainfall Estimate. The yellow area is over 6 inches of rain in Western Wicomico County.

Radar Rainfall Estimate. The yellow area is over 6 inches of rain in Western Wicomico County of Maryland.

We were very lucky this morning because Delmarva saw a rain event that was similar to what West Virginia experienced a few days ago. The lack of mountains kept this from being a killer flood, but it did wash out roads and caused major travel issues through the morning. I mentioned on air last night that if there was one thing that every meteorologist could tell everyone, it would be that “you need to worry much more about water and lightning, than tornadoes and wind”. Water is a BIG killer.

We say turn around don’t drown for a reason.

Extreme weather events, especially rainfall are very difficult to forecast. The main reason is that they are very rare. 

You can see a loop of the water vapor imagery from overnight at the link highlighted. The GOES satellite has an imager with a channel that can see a certain frequency of infrared light that is very sensitive to water vapor , and we can see that the moisture from this flood event came from the Gulf and the Pacific. Dark areas are dry air in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere. Blue and bright white are the cold tops of storm clouds. Moisture shows up gray.

Notice the rainfall was from several different thunderstorm cells that developed over southern areas of Delmarva. Major flood events tend to happen when we get “training of storms” across an area.

Below is the Pemberton Elementary weather gauge screen, located just on the west side of Salisbury. 6.78″ of rain since Midnight!