Localized flooding of some backyards and incidents of streets being overtaken by flood water were reported around Tullahoma Wednesday as the area was hit with almost three-and-a-half inches of rain within 24 hours.
“They’re all flooded,” responded one Tullahoma police officer in response to dispatch relaying a call about water across a street during the height of one of the passing thunderstorms early Wednesday afternoon. “We can’t shut them all down.”
With rain coming down in buckets, normally calm streams turned into torrents and small mud puddles turned into ponds, slowing traffic and prompting numerous calls about flooded streets.
The problem was caused when an atmospheric disturbance out of the west merged with moisture out of the south, combing to drop a deluge on Tullahoma and surrounding areas at one point dumping almost an inch of rain in one hour’s time. The National Weather Service reported .89 inches of precipitation were recorded at the airport in Tullahoma around the 7 p.m. hour on Wednesday as heavy thunderstorms rocked the area. The nearly one inch of rain came after a half-inch fell early in the afternoon within an hour’s time.
In total, Tullahoma saw 3.6 inches of rain Wednesday, followed by another 1.31 inches by mid-day on Thursday, meaning the city saw just under five inches of total precipitation within a two-day period.
While the monsoon-like downpours did make driving treacherous at some points and offered threats to overtake some houses in low-lying areas, pauses between the line of storms allowed drainage systems to catch up, thereby sparring most of the town major damage from the near record rainfall.
The system which brought the deluge was the front end of a cold front which ushered in snow Thursday evening and Friday night as the unseasonably warm highs near 70 on Wednesday were replaced with highs under 40 on Friday.
Duane Sherrill may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.