The mid-Missouri town of Moberly experienced its sixth-highest one-day rainfall total last Monday. The downpour followed a much more mild prediction from weather forecasters. Meteorologist Joey Welsh with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill says the storm resembled events when a lot of snow falls in a very narrowly confined area.
“The atmosphere, we had a lot of moisture coming off the eastern Pacific actually,” said Welsh. “It was a very deep moisture field. Anytime you have that environment, modest forcing to kind of tap into that moisture, you can get a lot of efficient rainfall in a short amount of time. We had a little bit of instability to work with and combined with all that moisture, things going on at the surface, we had pretty efficient rainfall.”
Welsh admits the intensity of the storm caught National Weather Service forecasters off-guard.
“We were anticipating some isolated flooding, but we weren’t anticipating this kind of long axis of high rainfall totals,” Welsh said. “It was pretty short lived. It mostly occurred in the morning.”
Welsh went on to analyze last Monday’s historic rainfall total compared to a snowstorm.
“It depends on your snow ratios, but that would easily equate to the double-digits,” said Welsh. “But you have to have your temperature profile just right to equate to that. It would have been a lot of snowfall. Our freezing height was pretty low, which is not unexpected going into the warm season. We were able to get a little bit of ice and hail. But fortunately, we didn’t have to worry about the snow.”
Prior to the almost five and a half inches of rainfall recorded last Monday, Moberly had not experienced five-plus inches of one-day rainfall since 1999. Moberly had last topped four inches of rain in April of 2013.
Missourinet affiliate KWIX provided content for this story