Elevated Flooding Risk from Texas to Wisconsin, Michigan

July 07, 2010; 2:00 PM
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There is an elevated risk of flooding stretching from Texas to Wisconsin and Michigan into the end of the week.

A large swath of tropical moisture has been captured by a slow-moving frontal zone and has the potential to unleash inches of rain on some communities.

The flooding can range from that of flash and urban flooding to small stream and larger rivers.

Much of this area has received above-normal rainfall in recent weeks, leaving the ground saturated and streams and rivers above typical levels. Some of the rivers over the central Plains were already above flood stage.

A few locations that have skipped out on rainfall in recent weeks may indeed make up for lost time the next couple of days.

Flooding problems from the pattern have already surfaced in portions of Iowa and Oklahoma at midweek with some communities dealing with flooded streets and damaged homes and businesses.

Cities that lie in the zone of potential flooding problems include Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis, Des Moines, Chicago and Detroit.

As a tropical system rolls ashore, most likely over South Texas later Thursday into Friday, a focused area of heavy rain may inundate portions of central and eastern Texas. As a result, this area is at a great risk for flooding problems into the weekend.

Portions of Texas could receive 4 inches of rain into Thursday night and over 6 inches of rain through the weekend, as the remains of the tropical system and its front will likely linger.

Many reservoir levels along the lower Rio Grande River Basin are now at capacity. High water flows and forced releases along the system of dams from Hurricane Alex in the watershed have led to flooding this week. It is possible the heaviest rain from the current situation will occur north of this area.

The same front driving east over the northern states may bring some relief to heat and drought-weary residents of the Northeast this weekend.

Occasionally, record heat ends with crashing thunderstorms. In this case it appears hit and miss flash flooding from thunderstorms can occur anywhere from the Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic and New England over the next several days.

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