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    Rain from Texas to the Mississippi River

    February 3, 2012; 7:20 AM ET
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    Rain will soak a large area reaching from northern and eastern Texas to the lower Mississippi River over the next few days.

    The same storm aiming to bring snow to the central Plains and severe weather farther south will bring more drenching rain to part of Texas, Oklahoma and other states.

    The rainstorm follows in the footsteps of locally heavy rain in part of the region last week. Up to half a foot of rain fell with that storm. January has been quite kind to some hard-hit drought areas in the region, but not everywhere.

    Some rain will fall on part of west-central and south Texas, but unfortunately little or no rain is likely over the western Texas Panhandle once again through the weekend.

    As a glimmer of hope, another system rolling out from the Pacific has a chance at bringing showers to southern New Mexico and the upper Rio Grande area during the middle of next week.

    Some of the rain into this weekend will occur at the expense of severe weather. When and where the storms do not bring strong winds, they can bring torrential rainfall. As a result, there is the risk of flash and urban flooding.

    Dark red areas on this map indicate areas of exceptional drought, while yellow areas are regions where conditions have been abnormally dry in recent months. This map is a product of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and shows the drought status as of Jan. 31, 2012.

    Recent rain in the central and eastern parts of Texas to the lower Mississippi Valley have helped with the drought situation. However, more rain is needed on a gradual basis, especially in southern and western parts of Texas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas.

    Portions of Texas and western Oklahoma have had only 50 percent of their normal rainfall since July 1, 2011. A few locations in the region have received two to three times their normal rainfall during this January.

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