First week of spring to feature flooding, severe thunderstorm risks
A parade of storms is expected to put more than a dozen states in the central and eastern U.S. at risk for flooding downpours and severe weather as the first week of spring gets underway.
Temperatures will start trending higher on Tuesday, but AccuWeather meteorologists say severe weather will be possible on Thursday and Friday.
A late-week storm is expected to put many across the country's midsection at risk for flooding rainfall and severe thunderstorms.
Bouts of severe weather have already been making headlines so far in 2023. But with the first official week of spring underway, the first wave of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms is not far behind.
"A series of storms is expected to emerge from the central Rockies, and then push into the Midwest or Ohio Valley Tuesday through Friday," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
The persistent surge of rain that these storms will bring is expected to add up, allowing for several inches from Dallas to Detroit through the week. The heaviest rain is forecast at the end of the week when a particularly potent storm tracks through the region on Thursday and Friday.
"With the constant rainfall, there will be a heightened risk for flooding from northwestern Arkansas to Indiana and western Ohio. Much of this region has seen 125-200% of historical average rainfall since the start of March," explained Roys.
In this zone, more than 4 inches of rain is possible in just a few days, bringing threats such as stream flooding and rises in water levels. Low-lying roadways may also see ponding, leading to slower travel. Any heavier downpours could also bring reduced visibility, which will be another hazard for motorists.
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This same storm will also be potent enough to bring a wave of thunderstorms across the southern U.S.
Warm air streaming northward out of the Gulf of Mexico for most of the week is likely to gradually increase temperatures across the eastern half of the country. By Thursday, temperatures could be as much as 10-20 degrees above the historical average for late March.
"The warmth proceeding the final storm to push across the region will help to initiate the severe weather threat," said Roys.
By Thursday afternoon, conditions could be just right from Oklahoma City to Austin, Texas, for some feisty thunderstorms to ignite. Damaging wind gusts, heavy downpours, and even a few isolated tornadoes could impact motorists along portions of Interstates 20, 30 and 35, leading to slower travel into Thursday night.
This area has already been subject to severe weather this month. Thunderstorms on March 16, produced dozens of hail reports, and even a couple of tornadoes in the same I-35 corridor. Over 100 damaging wind reports struck the same region on March 2, causing multi-vehicle pileups and knocking out power to thousands of residents and businesses.
This time, the threat of severe weather will continue right into Friday, with a more expansive area at risk for potent thunderstorms. Locations from Houston, on northeastward to Atlanta and Nashville should be on alert for gusty thunderstorms at the end of the week.
In addition to damaging wind gusts in excess of 55 mph, thunderstorms will also be capable of bringing intense downpours and even a couple of isolated tornadoes.
The storm is expected to continue moving east, impacting the Eastern Seaboard for at least part of the weekend. In the meantime, the center of the country to the Ohio Valley is expected to get a break from the rainy weather. AccuWeather meteorologists, however, warn that a similar storm track may bring more opportunities for rain next week.
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