This weekend’s rainfall has briefly alleviated dropping water levels on the Mississippi River, but it didn't put a dent in persisting drought conditions in the area. National Weather Service meteorologist Robin Smith says most places in western Kentucky got 4 to 5 inches but they are still up to 20 inches below average rainfall. The Mississippi River levels are between 12 and 13 feet but Smith expects those levels to drop back to 5 feet in just a few weeks.
The Army Corps of Engineers has begun reducing the flow from a Missouri River reservoir, a move expected to worsen low water conditions on the Mississippi River and potentially halt barge traffic at St. Louis within weeks.
The now-Category 1 hurricane Isaac is expected to hit landfall near New Orleans tonight. National Weather Service meteorologist Robin Smith says Isaac’s effect on this region could vary, but that rain is expected Friday night and Saturday.
Meteorologists say the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac could bring welcome rain to some states in the Midwest this week, although it is unlikely to break the drought that gripped the region. States in the Mississippi River valley are the most likely to benefit from the storm. Some areas are more than a foot of rain short this year. The National Weather Service predicts 2 to 6 inches of rain later this week. Heavy showers could also aid traffic on the Mississippi River, which has seen temporary closures due to low water conditions.
Six county-wide burn bans remain in western Kentucky after Marshall and McCracken county officials lifted their bans today. The river counties of Ballard, Hickman, Fulton and Carlisle still have burn ban notices in effect. Christian and Graves counties also have burn bans.
Damage Reports are coming in following a line of storms in far western Kentucky that continue to move east through our region. Police in Crittenden County say there have been a few reports of trees down across a few roads, but nothing severe at this point. There is a storm shelter open at the Crittenden County Courthouse. In Hopkins County officials say they’ve had no reports of damage thus far. A shelter is open at that courthouse as well. Officials in Ballard County say strong winds ripped the roof off of a trailer in LaCentre. And there are also some reports of trees down..