With the prospect of an Isaac landfall over the northern Gulf Coast next week, drenching rain, gusty thunderstorms and the potential for flooding will push inland over the South.
At this point, the concentrated area of heavy rain and thunderstorms could wander anywhere from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians and the Carolina coast.
Once Isaac establishes its track over the Gulf, a more definitive plot of the path of rain and storms into the southern United States will be revealed.
Isaac will interact with a trough of low pressure, which could produce extra areas of drenching rainfall well away from the center.
Pockets of drought remain in the South, especially centered on Georgia and in the Mississippi Basin, so any non-flooding rainfall in these areas would be welcomed.
Unfortunately, when tropical systems move inland, energy is released in the form of tremendous rain and sometimes severe thunderstorms with tornadoes. This will be a concern well inland away from the coastal storm surge flooding and damaging winds near the Gulf.
Not all of the South is in need of rain. There are many areas in addition to northern Florida and southern Georgia that could have major flooding problems if several inches to a foot of rain falls in a short period of time, which is possible from the system.
How strong Isaac becomes and how fast it moves inland will determine the severity of the rainfall and scope of damaging thunderstorm winds away from the coast.
The Democratic National Convention is slated for the week of Sept. 3, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. While Isaac will be long gone by that time, any residual flooding and cleanup potentially could cause some delays for last-minute preparations and travelers.
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