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Kentucky Color: New Normal?

By Billy Joe Fudge

After seeing Russell Creek out of its banks and spreading across overflow bottoms, probably 15 different days or more this winter, I'm beginning to ask, "is this the new normal"? The answer is most likely, yes and no!

Historically speaking we've been above average rainfall since November of 2017 and according to numbers I saw recently, 2019 was considerably above average and most of us here in the Great Wooded South had no measurable rainfall in September.

When checking the numbers for Bowling Green, the 21st Century has had two years in the top 10 wettest years and one year in the top 10 driest years.

On the other hand, the 90's had only one of the top 10 wettest years and two of the top 10 driest years. So, in the last 30 years, we've had three of the top ten wettest years and three of top ten driest years. So, I can really draw no conclusions from these tidbits of information.

The ecosystem that is our Earth is dynamic. Dynamic is in this definition, "a flux, a condition of continual and constant change". Should you check out the NOAA Climatology site or other sites with historical weather data, you will see that North American weather and climate, east of the Rockies and South of the Canadian border is in "a condition of continual and constant change". Thus, in just about any locality from Columbia, Iowa, to Columbia, Missouri, to Columbia Kentucky, and on to Columbia, South Carolina, one will most likely hear the same colloquial expression, "if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and it will change".

I was raised on the tallest ridge in the Great Wooded South which is, the "continental divide" so to speak, between the Cumberland River Watershed and the Green River Watershed. In spite of my status as a "ridge runner", I have picked up a few tidbits of mostly useless information concerning the hydraulics of water. However, if you ever come upon a flooded stream and kinda would like to know if the stream is rising or falling, there is an easy way to tell. If the middle of the stream is flowing almost completely clear of debris such as limbs, leaves, trees, pampers, et al, the stream has not yet crested. If the middle of the stream is loaded with debris on a continual basis, then the stream has crested and the water level is dropping.

So, when you decide to "turn around, don't drown" and armed with this knowledge, you can decide if you can go get a cup of coffee while waiting for the stream to recede or go ahead and take the long way around if it is still rising.

This story was posted on 2020-03-21 07:34:49
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Kentucky Color: New Normal?

2020-03-21 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
This picture was taken looking down Russell Creek at its confluence with Butler Branch just North of the Adair Veterans Memorial Highway.

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