Thursday, July 19, 2001

System swooped in from northwest


Weather called not uncommon for summer

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Deadly thunderstorms that ripped through Greater Cincinnati late Tuesday and early Wednesday can happen any time in the summer, weather experts say.

        “It's not common to see deaths from these storms,” Mike Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio, said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we can't predict when that will happen. But the storms themselves aren't terribly uncommon. They usually happen a few times each summer.”

        Early Tuesday night, the bad weather started northeast of Indianapolis. It was fueled by a frontal boundary draped from northwest to southeast.

        “Then the storm arrived,” Mr. Ryan said. “With such moist and humid air masses as we've had, storms aren't difficult to create.”

        Mr. Ryan described the weather as a series of storms that converged.

        Approaching Cincinnati in a 50-to-60-mile-wide swath, the storms moved quickly from northwest to southeast with considerable lightning and rain.

        “Our main concern was flooding, but there was a lot of wind in some places,” Mr. Ryan said. “The wind was clocked at 60 mph at one point in the northern areas.

        “Things were so wet that it was easy for the atmosphere to squeeze out all the excess moisture in a short time.”

        The storm system first hit Butler, Warren and Clermont counties from 8 to 11 p.m.

        It shifted south to Cincinnati and Hamilton County by about 11 p.m., then rolled south into Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky just before midnight.

        Monitoring stations reported 4.73 inches of rain at Reading, 4.15 inches at Hamilton and 5.21 inches at Morrow.

        Mr. Ryan estimated that parts of Clermont County received 6 to 8 inches from about 8 p.m. to midnight.

        He said the average rainfall for the region Tuesday night was 2 to 4 inches.

        It was worse in some places. In Northern Kentucky, a man in the parking lot at the Cross Country Inn in Fort Mitchell reported water as high as car windows. “He was standing on the roof of a car when he made the call,” Mr. Ryan said.

        In Independence, a rain-measuring device registered 2.35 inches between 1 and 2 a.m., said Clayton Dean, an independent weather observer.

        “I've never seen that much rain in a short period,” Mr. Dean said. “It must have been really bad up in Ohio.”

       



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