Central US at risk for flooding rainfall through Thursday night
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 07, 2019, 8:40:42 PM EST
A major thaw will continue to cause trouble this week including the likelihood of flooding while the risk of severe thunderstorms has diminished.
While a substantial amount of snow and ice will occur over the northern tier of the Midwest, springlike conditions will cause other problems farther south.
On Wednesday night, heavy storms moving through Tennessee resulted in widespread basement flooding, road closures and water rescues.
Because of the wet state of the ground, any lasting downpour has the potential to cause urban flooding and small stream flooding as this system moves into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and central Appalachians into Thursday night.
Motorists should anticipate flooding of secondary roads and excessive water along some of the major highways. Never attempt to drive through flooded areas as the water may be much deeper than it appears and the road surface may have been washed away beneath the water.
There is also the risk of flooding progressing from the small streams initially to larger rivers over the course of the next several days.
For example, runoff from melting snow over the northern part of the Ohio and middle Mississippi valleys has already begun to work downstream into the larger river.
An additional 1-3 inches of rain with local amounts to 5 and 6 inches through Thursday can compound and aggravate the situation. The Ohio River at Shawneetown, Illinois, is projected to reach moderate flood stage later next week as a surge of water arrives from the White and Wabash rivers.
At this time only minor flooding of low-lying areas is foreseen along the Mississippi River during the middle of February. However, that may change depending on the exact amount of rain that falls with this storm and the next slated for next week.
Meanwhile, ice jam flooding has been occurring from parts of Illinois to western New York state and New England.
Severe weather, tornado risk has diminished
On Wednesday night, a string of severe storms marched through parts of the central and southern Plains states.
Several storms produced hail and damaging winds, and some even prompted overnight tornado warnings. While no tornadoes have been confirmed as of yet, there were tornado wind signatures on Doppler radar during Wednesday night to early Thursday morning. There were more than a dozen reports of large hail and nearly two dozen incidents of strong wind gusts that included damage to homes. The majority of the incidents were in southern Missouri, Oklahoma and north-central Texas.
Thunderstorms with damaging winds continued into early Thursday afternoon over parts of the Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys. However, that risk has now diminished.
A line of locally drenching thunderstorms with brief gusty winds will begin to pivot eastward across the eastern part of the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee Valley into Thursday night.
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By Friday morning, the remnants of the strong storms may produce brief, gusty winds and a few lightning strikes across the central and southern Appalachians.
The storms are likely to break up to a swath of brief, spotty showers east of the Appalachians during Friday afternoon and evening.
A new blast of cold air will begin to curtail the runoff to end this week. However, wet areas will rapidly freeze.
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