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W.Va. State Climatologist: Heavy Rain And Flooding May Last Through September

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Flood waters have inundated parts of the state all summer.

West Virginia’s climate expert said concentrated rainfall and flooding conditions may continue for a while.

Dr. Kevin Law is a Professor of Geography at Marshall University and is West Virginia’s State Climatologist.

He said Huntington, for example, has had the two wettest July on record for 2021 and 2022.

Law cited multiple weather factors for the deluges the state is experiencing.

He said first, an unusually stationary jet stream trough is creating a path for low pressure rain systems traveling into the Ohio Valley.

“It's kind of a steering pattern for storms,” Law said. “We've been seeing a lot more of a trough extending into the Ohio Valley, and that's led to a lot of these low pressure systems following that path.”

Second, he said high pressure systems in the North Atlantic, sparked by climate change, are blocking any escape or relief.

“You have these blocking highs that prevent things from moving out,” Law said. “That's been the culprit keeping things more persistent in our area.”

Law said future weather models show these combined inclement weather patterns may be with us for several more weeks.

“It's not really until you get more toward the end of September, where they're kind of dialing it back a little bit,” Law said. “We should be expecting some more precipitation, at least over the next few weeks.”

Law added that high summer temperatures, due in part to continued global warming, are churning stronger pop-up storms into the mix.

He said the wet weather systems are concentrating on central and southern West Virginia.

“As you go further and further north, there's less rain,” Law said. “Believe it or not, over in the Eastern Panhandle, we've been talking about drought.”

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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