Meridian Star

February 13, 2013

Rain breaks local record

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     If you got a set of new golf clubs for Christmas, chances are you haven't been able to swing them much so far this year, thanks to above normal rainfall so far this year.

    In fact, Monday's rainfall broke a record for the date of Feb. 11 that has stood since 1903.

    Mike Edmonston, meteorologist with the National Weather service in Jackson, said Key Field in Meridian recorded 3.48 inches of the wet stuff for the 24-hour period on Monday.

    "That is a record that has stood for more than one hundred years," said Edmonston.

    The former record was 2.37 inches. On Tuesday, Edmonston seemed to think another record may be set for Feb. 12, if heavy downpours continued to fall.

    "The two-o'clock readings were right a 1 1/2 inches so if one or two thunderstorms moved through that might put the area over the record of 2.9 (inches) set in 1945," Edmonston said.

    The year started out wet. For the first 16 days last month Key Field registered more than 5 inches of rain above normal, according to rainfall totals compiled by the National Weather Service in Jackson. This month, although it hasn't been quite that bad, the area is already 2.5 inches above normal for the month, with the totals from Tuesday still yet to be measured.

    All in all, Lauderdale County and Meridian are more than 7 1/4 inches above normal for this time of year and spring hasn't really begun. Thankfully, no problems with flooding have been reported.

    "I don't have any reports of any flooding either in Meridian or out in the county," said David Sharp, executive director of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency. "Due to the topography of the area, rain runs off quickly. Plus, we haven't had extremely hard downpours for extended periods of time so the creeks and rivers have been able to handle the amount of water."

    The culprit, again, was a frontal zone that moved at a snail's pace out of the Plains states, through Texas and Louisiana. As it moved closer to the Gulf of Mexico, the moisture was picked up creating the lines of storms that slowly marched across the Southeast.

    It is from these storms Sunday evening that a strong tornado was spawned causing severe damage in Marion, Lamar, Forrest and Wayne counties in southeastern Mississippi. The twister swept through Oak Grove, Hattiesburg and Petal leaving a swath of devastation in its wake. No one was reported killed but some injuries were reported and extensive damage to homes, businesses and the campuses of Oak Grove High School and the University of Mississippi were noted.

    A little more than 1 inch of rain fell at Key Field Monday. Since Dec. 1, 2012, the area has received 23.75 inches of rain. Normal rainfall averages around 12.5 inches for this period but thanks to this latest front, which makes the third major rain event since December, the area is 11.23 inches above normal. Since Jan. 1 of this year, almost 15 inches of rain has fallen, 7.3 inches above normal.

    The good news is that beginning today the rain should be all but gone bringing a few days of sunshine. Winds should be breezy out of the south-southwest with high temperatures in the mid 50s creeping up to near 60 by the weekend.