The potential for heavy rainfall continues to increase across the area, especially as we move into the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe. Significant amounts of rain will be possible, with the main impacts expected to be along and north of the Bobby Hopper tunnel. These areas could see thunderstorms, which would enhance rainfall rates and cause increased flooding potential.
The system will begin to push into the area overnight tonight, though only a few rain showers are expected. Most of this initial rain will be focused across Northwest Arkansas, though the River Valley could see areas of drizzle. It is important to note that our high temperature for Tuesday will actually be met tonight, as the thermostat reading will be falling throughout the daytime hours!
Tuesday looks like the most likely day for heavy rainfall in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, especially as we head into the afternoon hours. Embedded thunderstorms could develop within the heaviest rain bands, and these may “train” over the same areas, bringing significant rainfall potential. Flash flooding concerns also look quite high this day, as the WPC (Weather Prediction Center) has already put most of our area in a Slight risk for excessive rainfall (Level 2 out of 4).
Heavy rain (with a few rumbles of thunder) will continue into early Wednesday morning, with the flash flooding threat sticking around across most of the area. There may be a lull in the activity around 7-11AM, before a final round of rain moves through Wed afternoon-evening. This second round of precipitation will likely not be as heavy as what will be seen on Tuesday, but there still could be isolated flooding with an already saturated ground. The Weather Prediction Center currently has a Marginal risk for excessive rainfall (Level 1 out of 4) for Wednesday.
When all is said and done, 2-3″ of rain is likely for most locations in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, with locally higher amounts possible north of the Bobby Hopper tunnel. Current trends show that Benton, Washington, Madison and Carroll counties have the best chance for seeing significant rainfall right now, though that can certainly change as we go throughout the event.
Regardless of where the heaviest rainfall sets up, most locations in our area will see the potential for flooding. Out of all of the hazards that we see in the United States, flooding is the most dangerous. Only 2 feet of moving water is needed to sweep away vehicles, with 6 inches of it being enough to knock you down. If you see moving water on roadways, turn around and find an alternate route, or get to a sheltered location that is higher in elevation.
As always, stay tuned to the latest information from your Weather Authority Team as things can and will change! Follow us on social media for updates, and be prepared for the threat of heavy rainfall as we go throughout the first half of this week!