Flash flooding concerns arise this week as drought persists

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:18 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -Heavy rain is likely this week due to a cold front moving into the Ozarks. Even though we’ve stayed in various stages of a drought for most of the summer, this rain could produce flash flooding in some areas.

Part of the blame lies on the soil and its lack of moisture, which leads to more compact soil.

This can lead to excess water running off of the soil instead of penetrating it, becoming useless in ending the drought. When rainfall rates exceed a certain rate, flash flooding becomes imminent, but it’s sometimes worse when the soil won’t cooperate in terms of drainage.

In the video above, we’ve demonstrated this phenomenon on a smaller scale with cups of water on dry versus pre-moistened soil. Within seconds, the pre-moistened, healthier soil soaks up the swath of water. However, the dry soil hardly takes any of it.

Ideally, a long soaking rain can help slowly open up the dirt below us, allowing the waterflow to reach deeper, but we can’t control the type of rain we receive.

That doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

Megan Terry, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, explained some ways you can help your yard prepare for heavy rain.

“If they moistened their yards just a little bit, just to get that hardened soil a little looser, so it can absorb more water, I think that could be beneficial,” Terry said.

Manually tilling the soil can also be helpful for drainage, but neither potential solution will guarantee zero flooding.

Low-lying areas with dry, compacted soil should remain aware of the flooding concern this week and on, at least until the drought improves.

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