Downpours, flooding risk to return to soggy south-central US

More rain is brewing for portions of the southern Plains, central Gulf Coast and the lower Mississippi Valley beginning late this week and lasting through the upcoming weekend, AccuWeather meteorologists say. Some areas may welcome the rain, while others have had enough after the deluge from last week.

The pattern will bring at least one round of severe weather over portions of the southern Plains and Mississippi Valley into Thursday night.

Despite several days of dry weather since torrential rain occurred earlier in April, enough rain may pour down to trigger urban flooding, flash flooding of small streams and another surge of water on area rivers.

Many locations from northeastern Texas through Louisiana and parts of southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and northern Florida received a month's worth of rain and more from a slow-moving storm system last week. A few locations picked up over a foot of rain, equivalent to two months' worth. Much of the rain poured down in a matter of hours and prompted flash flood emergencies in cities such as New Orleans and Tallahassee, Florida.

Indications are that the upcoming rain will come in two main rounds after showers and severe thunderstorms affected part of the region into Tuesday night.

The first round will occur into Friday morning, and the second will follow over the weekend.

The rain will fall as two storm systems move along a slow-moving frontal zone. The front will separate chilly air over the central Plains and part of the Midwest from warm and humid conditions near the Gulf Coast and in the Southeastern states.

The first storm is less likely to cause major problems in terms of flooding, as much of that rain won't be excessive and will fall on some locations in need of moisture, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

Pockets of abnormally dry to drought conditions extend from the central Plains to western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. In these areas, any non-flooding rainfall will be welcomed. However, some of the thunderstorms associated with the system will become severe, with incidents of high winds and hail likely.

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"The second storm system from Saturday to Sunday will likely focus farther to the south over the Central states and will reach some areas that were hit hard by excessive rain and flooding from last week," Anderson said.

The heaviest rain will stay north of Interstate 10 along the Gulf coast and will spare New Orleans and Tallahassee as a result. However, much of the I-20 corridor will likely be solidly in the heavy rain zone.

Areas from central to northeastern Texas to northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas can expect to receive 1-4 inches of rain. The AccuWeather Local StormMax? rainfall is 7 inches. The major metro areas of Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana, could be affected by heavy rain that triggers flooding problems this weekend.

The central portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas will be on the northern fringe of the heavy rain, as will the northern parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Even though the rain may fall well short of last week's deluge, with many streams still running high and the ground quite moist, it may not take as much to trigger flash flooding and significant rises on some waterways.

Some rain from both storms will reach portions of the southern Appalachians and Piedmont late this weekend to early next week.

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