The start of 2020 has already brought its fair share of heavy rain. Parts of the area have already picked up more than an inch of rain and we are less than a week into the next year. The end of this week will turn very wet again. Here's the set up. A cold front will approach on Thursday and then stall through the upcoming weekend, possibly just north of the Ohio River. Parts of the mid-Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio valleys are bracing for multiple waves of heavy rain and even thunderstorms. Kentucky may get caught in the axis of heaviest rainfall, where several inches (3" to 5") will be possible. This far out there is still considerable uncertainty as to where the heaviest rainfall will be.
The potential for this amount rain would be enough to put us on alert for localized flooding. We are also coming off recent heavy rain events and the ground is saturated. Some area rivers are running high with above-normal winter pool levels. Flooding problems may arise quickly as the rain continues to fall through next weekend. Low-lying and poor drainage areas, plus low water crossings will be most prone to flooding. As we get closer to the event, and if confidence continues to rise, flood watches may need to be posted.
It doesn't appear that this "wet January" pattern will break anytime soon. The 6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center gives the Ohio Valley better odds of seeing above-normal precipitation. Lexington averages just over three inches of total precipitation in January. And all this precipitation is likely to fall all as rain. Temperature outlooks also tip warmer-than-normal through at least mid-January.