Experts Say Storms Frequency Unusual

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Although the amount of storms the Athens area has received has been far from normal, storms like the ones that occurred Sunday night are relatively common for this time of year, according to experts.

The area received a total of 1.19 inches of rain Sunday night and Monday morning, as a result of multiple storms.

The majority of the rain — .9 inches — poured down between midnight and 1 a.m., while another .29 inches came at about 6 a.m. on Monday, according to Kyle Clem, associate director of the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis on the Ohio University campus.

"The moisture, the heat and humidity that we're getting is completely normal for these summer months," Clem said. "But mix that with the peskier, more stationary (weather) systems, and you get these heavy rainstorms."

The storms are coming more frequently than usual because of a large area of low pressure that has been "sitting" in the area for the last nine of 10 days, Clem said. The low pressure is an "uncommonly deep trough" that causes the heavy rain and storms, he said.

During the summer months, a jetstream, or fast, narrow current of air, flows through the area.

"This year, the jetstream all of a sudden went north, but the low pressure stayed," Clem said.

Storms like these don't usually come with the fear of tornadoes or other weather events, just lots of rain and lightning.

But the rain and lightning didn't cause too many problems locally.

"We've had no reports other than the usual low-lying areas where flash floods are common," said Fred Davis, director of the Athens County Emergency Management Agency.

No one was reported displaced by the storm and no major roadways were flooded, despite the flash flood warnings that have been prevalent throughout the last few weeks.

"(The storms) have been spread out enough that it's been nothing out of the norm for the rainy season," Davis said. "It helps that it's been warm and there's lots of grass coverage as opposed to sometimes when the ground is frozen, for example."

High water signs were seen on Richland Avenue in Athens on Monday morning. Andy Stone, director of the Athens Department of Engineering and Public Works, said that the tremendous amount of rain that accompanied Sunday night's storm led to "pretty significant" flash flooding on Richland Avenue around 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

Resident Valerie Dixon said that the road was flooded so bad that her husband had to wait until the water receded to get out of the parking lot at the Ohio University Inn.

Local fire departments and rescue crews did not report any weather related crashes around the area.