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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • NWS: Isaac’s rain could put dent in drought

  • While residents along the Gulf Coast can’t wait for Hurricane Isaac to move on, residents in the parched Midwest can’t wait for remnants of the storm to move in, which is expected to occur this weekend.
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  • While residents along the Gulf Coast can’t wait for Hurricane Isaac to move on, residents in the parched Midwest can’t wait for remnants of the storm to move in, which is expected to occur this weekend.
    According to the National Weather Service, the chances of rain (40 percent) arrive Friday. The chances of rain jump to 60 percent Friday night, stand at 70 percent Saturday and are 60 percent Saturday night. There still a possibility of rain (30 percent) Sunday.
    “Saturday looks like pretty much a washout,” said Ben Miller, a meteorologist with the NWS in St Louis.
    Not only is rain expected, there could be lots of it. In a special weather statement, the NWS advises that 2 to 4 inches of rainfall are possible over the weekend, with locally higher amounts possible as the center of the tropical system moves over Northeast Missouri and Illinois.
    According to Miller, Northeast Missouri could finally see some substantial rainfall.
    “It looks that way,” he said. “It all depends on the exact track the remnant low takes and it’s way too far out to say that.”
    The NWS advises that the very low water levels now being seen on most creeks and streams could change quickly if heavy rain falls.
    “We desperately need the rain, but we don’t want a whole bunch too fast,” said John Hark, the emergency management director for Hannibal and Marion County. “There could be a lot of runoff if it (rain) comes fast. People living along small streams, creeks and waterways need to think about that.”
    Hark continues to encourage people, particularly those who live in areas prone to flash flooding, to sign up for the county’s new telephone-based alert system that went into service in July.
    People can sign up for the free service online at www.marion911.com, www.marionema.com and www.palmyrapd.com, or by calling Marion County 911’s non-emergency number - (573) 221-1121.
     
    Drought dent
    Even if 4 inches of rain falls, talk of a drought won’t end.
    “It (weekend rain) is not going to end it, but it will put a pretty big dent in it,” said Miller. “We’re just too far down in rainfall for this to end it. We need 9 to 15 inches over several weeks and months to get over the hump of it.”
    Even if this weekend’s rain doesn’t end the drought, it will still be a welcome sight.
    “It will be better than what we’ve seen,” said Alix Carpenter, a University of Missouri Extension Service agronomy specialist. “Anything will help at this point and time.”
    Page 2 of 2 - While the anticipated rain will help ease the drought, it will come too late to benefit this year’s corn crop.
    “It may delay the harvest of corn that’s already mature,” said Carpenter.
    The rain could still benefit the soybean yield.
    “Although we’re seeing fewer beans per pod than normal, the rain should allow the beans to fill out properly,” she said.
    The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is concerned that the anticipated high volume of rainwater could stress storm-sewer systems. District officials are suggesting their customers limit use of things like dishwashers and washing machines during heavy rain.
    In Hannibal, Matt Munzlinger of the Board of Public Works says heavy rain should not tax the city’s storm-sewer system.
    “If we’d had a bunch of rain and the ground was already saturated... But I don’t anticipate too many problems,” he said. “Our flow rates are low enough that we should be able to handle anything we get.”

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