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    Excessive Rains and Severe Weather Accompanying Deepening Storm

    4/18/2013, 7:00:12 AM

    Thursday, 11:30 a.m.

    It has been a wild week of weather already, and we still have another 24 to 36 hours of very active weather to contend with before we can breathe easier this weekend. Look at the current map of watches, warning, advisories from the eastern Rockies and Plains on east:

    That is a mid-morning snapshot from NOAA, and in the heart of it we find a bunch of flash flood warnings stretching from Chicago southwestward into Missouri; numerous flood warnings, flood and flash watches from Michigan and Indiana to Illinois and Missouri; tornado watches from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana into Arkansas; as well as wind advisories, winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings in the Upper Midwest. That doesn't even include the red flag warnings for the Rio Grande Valley, and some freeze watches and warnings from portions of Kansas to the Texas Panhandle and northeastern New Mexico!

    In terms of severe weather, it has certainly been active, though in terms of sheer numbers, we've had much worse. Look at the reports from Wednesday morning to this morning:

    The severe weather threat is ongoing, of course:

    Temperatures are already in the 70s this morning ahead of the storm in much of the Ohio Valley, and dew point temperatures are above 60 all the way to southern Michigan as I type this at 10:55 a.m. Strong southerly winds will combine with cold advection aloft and a gradual turning of the wind with height more to the southwest to produce more severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and some hail, as well as a few tornadoes. As I stated yesterday, the threat will be diminished quite a bit tomorrow, though not totally absent from the eastern Ohio and Tennessee valleys down to Mississippi and Alabama on east.

    Perhaps as big of a problem as any right now is the massive area of excessive rains across Missouri and Illinois. I saw one station in north-central Illinois near Ottawa that reported over 12 hours of continuous thunderstorm activity and thunderstorms for most of an 18-hour stretch! Many places are simply under water with as much as 7 inches of rain at last check, and probably more by now.

    That heavy rain axis is shifting eastward now, but it will still bring excessive rains and flooding to portions of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, southeastern Missouri and Arkansas. Look at the total precipitation projected from 8 this morning through the storm's end:

    Let me switch gears a bit. Hey, I do that a LOT on my bikes, so why not here?!?! Let's look at the drought status. First, the long term Palmer Drought Index, more a measure of total groundwater supplies, or, more specifically, the varying degrees of the lack of it:

    Pretty much everyone from the Plains and parts of the Midwest back into the Rockies is dry, if not excessively dry. This is more a reflection of the past year and longer. If you look more at the short-term soil moisture, it doesn't look so bad:

    Still not good in much of the Rockies, but at least the recent snowstorms seem to be helping to a small degree. It's much better in the Midwest and Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes and the Deep South. And that is before this system has been factored into the numbers! Clearly the pattern is much more moist this spring that just a year ago, and with more rains to come from this storm, and another one that may be fairly similar in nature to it in the works for next week, some areas may make significant progress toward escaping the long-term drought.

    Anyway, the current storm in Missouri will move northeastward and cut across the Great Lakes tonight and tomorrow morning, then whip a cold front off the East Coast late tomorrow night and early Saturday. In its wake, a couple of more tranquil days this weekend, albeit chilly by April standards. Lurking in the shadows, though, is another storm that promises to do this all over again next week.

    I cannot wait for that 594 ridge to show up in the Plains or in the East!

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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