Downpours to threaten flooding across Southeast
A low-pressure system will bring heavy downpours to the Gulf Coast this weekend before another storm takes aim at the same area next week.
Following a week filled with tumultous weather and dangerous severe weather in the southern U.S., AccuWeather forecasters say the same locations should be on alert for more weather impacts this week.
Residents in the Southeast are no stranger to heavy rain and thunderstorms throughout the year, with the nearby Gulf of Mexico acting as a large moisture source to bring precipitation into the region. AccuWeather meteorologists say the current weather pattern will allow for rounds of rain, torrential downpours and even some isolated severe weather to all be in the cards over the coming days.
Across the South, many locations have had an abnormally wet start to 2023. In Atlanta, the 4.59 inches of rain so far this month is roughly 140 percent of normal through January 28. Farther west in Houston, where violent thunderstorms spawned an EF-3 tornado last week, rainfall is running at a similar 139 percent of average so far in January.
This week, an area of low pressure developing over Texas on Sunday will be able to continue this abnormally wet weather. The storm will allow for winds to steer warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico northward into the region. The enhanced moisture will allow for drenching rain and embedded thunderstorms, some heavy, to move from Texas to the Carolinas over the next few days.
What will be widespread is the threat for heavy rain, which may even be enough for localized flooding should conditions line up just right. By Sunday evening and very early Monday morning, swaths of heavy rain will extend eastward into Alabama and Georgia, and finally the Carolinas before moving offshore.
One burst of heavy rain will not be enough to bring a risk of flooding. However, Mother Nature has shown that issues can arise from seemingly manageable amounts of rainfall, if it moves over the same area repeatedly in a process known as 'training'.
"Any flood risk will be found in very localized spots, where heavy rain is directed over the same place multiple times," Hyde said.
Through Monday, widespread rainfall amounts of around an inch are expected from southeastern Texas to the North Carolina beaches; however, areas hit by multiple downpours could have rain in excess of 2 or 3 inches.
Aside from the flood threat, heavy rain may also lead to travel slowdowns on highways, such as parts of interstates 10, 65 and 85. Those traveling in the Southeast through Monday will want to allow for extra time due to the weather conditions. Travel concerns will also extend northwest of the heavy rain area, where colder conditions will bring a swath of freezing rain from central Texas to Virginia this week.
While Tuesday could bring some drier weather for some, those seeking a long-lasting break from the rain may be out of luck. Early indications suggest more rounds of rain will sweep through the Southeast as the week progresses.
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