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2016 Was a Wet and Warm Year – NWS Paducah

2016 Was a Wet and Warm Year – NWS Paducah

Bill Stephens, Web Editor

January 2nd, 2017


The year 2016 was noteworthy for the many rainfall records that were eclipsed. The year kicked off with major flooding along the Mississippi River, including record high river levels in the Cape Girardeau area. During the summer, numerous cities recorded over 20 inches of rain, making it their wettest summer on record. The year was also noted for persistent warmth. Every month except May averaged warmer than normal at Paducah.  Here are the top five weather stories of the year:

1. Record flooding on the Mississippi River (Jan. 1-3) 

There were numerous road closures. The Ohio River bridge between Wickliffe, KY and Cairo, IL was closed on December 31 due to high water over the Kentucky side of U.S. Highway 51/60/62. The road reopened a week later. The Governor of Illinois issued a disaster declaration for some of the hardest-hit counties. A number of homes were flooded on both the Illinois and Missouri sides of the river.  The city government of Cape Girardeau estimated 20 homes and 8 businesses were flooded in the Red Star neighborhood. Media reports indicated several dozen homes in Alexander County, IL were flooded.

2. Jan. 22 Winter Storm (western KY) 

Freezing rain started late Thursday night (January 21) and transitioned over to snow in the early morning hours on January 22nd. Locations across our area received anywhere from a trace to 10+ inches of snow. Heaviest amounts were seen in western Kentucky, where 6 to 9 inches was common, but isolated even higher amounts were possible.

3. April 26 Severe Weather (mainly IL/IN)

This severe weather event resulted in one EF-1 tornado and scattered reports of wind damage and hail.

A storm damage survey team confirmed that an EF-1 tornado occurred in the Evansville, IN area on Tuesday April 26th. The tornado touched down near the intersection of Highway 65 and Mill Road, 6.5 miles NW of Evansville. Dozens of trees were uprooted or broken. At least 8 buildings were damaged on Diamond Avenue due to fallen electric transmission poles and lines. At least 1 building had part of its metal roofing peeled up Skylane Airport and minor damage occurred to some homes and fences. Straight line wind damage also occurred mainly south of the tornado track with several trees uprooted and tree limbs broken. Several eye witnesses observed the tornado mainly along the northwest section of its track. Tornado ended 1.75 miles NE of Evansville, along N. Villa Drive just south of Morgan Avenue. 

4. April 27 Severe Weather (mainly KY)

Numerous thunderstorms developed along a weak warm front draped across the area and ahead of a cold front approaching from the west. Most of the severe weather took place in western KY where damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes were reported. Repeated thunderstorms tracking over the same locations also resulted in flash flooding.
 Storm damage survey teams confirmed two tornadoes occurred, both near Owensboro in Daviess County, KY.

One tornado touched down 5 miles south-southwest of Owensboro and ended 4 miles south of Owensboro. Dozens of trees or large limbs were broken. Partial shingle loss; loss of fascia or other minor damage to several homes. One home had its front porch blown off. A barn had its doors blown off or bent in. One vehicle was badly damaged. A stand alone carport was lofted at least 1/10th of a mile.

The second tornado touched down 3 miles east of Owensboro and ended 6 miles east-northeast of Owensboro. A mobile home was destroyed with at least 2 dozen others receiving minor damage. Dozens of trees or large limbs broken. A carport and several privacy fences were damaged. Several homes had partial loss of shingles.

5. May 10 tornado at Mayfield, KY (EF-3)

An outbreak of supercells occurred during the afternoon and evening of May 10, 2016. The strongest and longest-lived tornado of the day occurred in Graves and Marshall Counties of western Kentucky. Dozens of structures including mobile homes, businesses, barns, and garages were destroyed. Several homes received major damage or were destroyed. Some cars were tossed around and lofted atop other cars or structures.

Other tornadoes:
EF-1 in Union County, KY tracked from 5.7 miles west-southwest of Morganfield to 2.1 miles west of Morganfield between 6:06 and 6:16 P.M.  Peak winds were estimated near 90 mph. Numerous trees were snapped and uprooted.
EF-0 in Hardin County, IL briefly touched down 2.7 miles east-southeast of Karbers Ridge at 5:56 P.M. Some minor tree damage occurred.

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