Flooding Threat Looms for Gulf Coast to East

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
May 8, 2014; 12:27 AM ET
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After a storm brings severe weather to the Plains and part of the Upper Midwest, the system will transform to a heavy rain producer Friday from the central Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley before expanding in parts of the East this weekend.

Locally heavy rain will develop Friday from eastern Texas to southern Missouri, from the remnants of severe thunderstorms over the Plains on Thursday night.

Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok had expressed concern for flooding back in March for this spring over the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

"Due to the slow-moving nature of the storm system, it will be able to tap into tremendous amounts of Gulf of Mexico moisture spreading eastward to the Florida Panhandle and inland over the Mississippi delta region Friday and Saturday," Pastelok said about the upcoming event.

Runoff from the persistent rainfall can lead to street, stream and low-lying area flooding in portions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, part of West Virginia, the Florida Panhandle and the southern portions of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Flood Safety Tips
Lower Mississippi Valley Interactive Radar
Track Severe Thunderstorms, Flood Advisories

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Andy Mussoline, "Showers and thunderstorms may repeat in an action known as a training effect and can unload 3 to 6 inches of rain on areas where the ground is already thoroughly moist."

Repetitive thunderstorm activity along a narrow swath is known as a training effect.

Some areas in the Deep South have received two to four times their normal rainfall during April 2014. Areas farther west are running a rainfall deficit.

April Rainfall Compared to Normal

Actual V. Normal Rainfall (Inches)
Pensacola, Fla.
29.53 v. 4.32
Mobile, Ala.
18.09 v. 4.79
Birmingham, Ala.
8.89 v. 4.38
Jackson, Miss.
12.52 v. 4.96
Nashville, Tenn.
7.29 v. 4.00
6.66 v. 3.89
Lexington, Ky.
5.99 v. 3.60
Lake Charles, La.
0.85 v. 3.33
1.31 v.3.25
Springfield, Mo.
2.08 v. 4.32
Oklahoma City
1.00 v. 3.07
1.74 v. 3.07
Wichita, Kan.
0.53 v. 2.59

Showers and drenching thunderstorms will reach the Atlantic Seaboard Saturday and Sunday with the potential for localized flooding problems.

Like parts of the Deep South, portions of the East were hit with flooding rainfall late in April. At the very least, there is the potential for travel delays and disruptions to outdoor activities such as graduations, weddings and ballgames.

Another slow-moving storm system is forecast drop in over the Plains and may have more time to grab Gulf of Mexico moisture early next week. While this system may bring another round of severe thunderstorms, it could be loaded with drenching downpours as well.

If rain from the storm system this week avoids needy areas on the central and southern Plains, another opportunity for rainfall is possible farther west from Nebraska to Texas with the new storm.

As this second batch of rain moves to the east, it will raise concerns for another round of flooding problems from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast and perhaps parts of the East during the middle of next week.

Content contributed by Andy Mussoline, AccuWeather Meteorologist


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