Tupelo breaks rainfall record, sees flooding

08091305 FeatureBy Stephanie Rebman
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Storms pummeled the region Friday afternoon, sparking flash-flood warnings, dumping up to six inches of water and bringing a record rainfall for the day in Tupelo.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Maye, flash flood warnings were issued for Lee, Prentiss and Itawamba counties.

The highest amount of rainfall for Lee County was in the southern Tupelo area heading toward Verona where radar estimates five to six inches of rain landed, meteorologist Jonathan Howell said. He said the rain did spark several reports of flooding.

He also said Booneville reported “major flooding,” including water shutting down Fifth Street and flooding a car dealership. He said totals wouldn’t be in yet until this morning, but radar estimates indicate three to four inches of rainfall.

In Tupelo, Maye said the city hit a new Aug. 9 rainfall record, though the official figures recorded at the Tupelo Regional Airport were much less than what hit other parts of the city. The afternoon rain blitz dropped 0.80 inches at the airport.

Coupled with a rainfall of 0.04 inches from the morning, the grand total broke the old record of 0.75 set in 2001.

“There often times can be quite a bit of difference between what happens downtown Tupelo versus at the airport,” Howell said. “This storm kind of set up just to the south and east of the actual airport. The airport was actually positioned to the northwest edge of the storm.”

Howell said if you traveled just a couple miles down the road, it was the difference between sunshine and flooding.

“There was a pretty tight radiant from where you saw hardly any rainfall accumulation to where the actual extreme rainfalls wound up panning out. That’s typical in this kind of pattern. Between downtown and Verona it was five to six inches.”

Maye said after reviewing a monthly climate summary that the rainfall is good news for Tupelo. The yearly rainfall the city should normally receive through the end of August is 36.47 inches, and with Friday’s totals, it has hit 36.13 inches.

In Lee County, the biggest problems called into 911 involved a lightning strike of a roof on Longleaf Cove in west Tupelo and flooding on Erin Street and Rollingwood Drive. There also were calls of motorists stuck in high waters on the roads, including on Southridge Drive and Jefferson Street.

stephanie.rebman@journalinc.com