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    Rain to Attack Drought in South Central US but Aggravate River Flooding

    By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
    March 18, 2015, 12:41:44 AM EDT

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    The rain targeting the South Central U.S. states at midweek will prove to be a double-edged sword, providing some with drought assistance and preventing flooded rivers from quickly receding in other areas.

    A dry and warm start to the week across the South Central states will give way to the storm unleashing unusually heavy March rain into Mexico.

    Periods of rain will spread across Texas to Oklahoma and the lower Mississippi Valley Tuesday through Wednesday. Some thunderstorms will rumble, but the majority will fail to produce wind damage.

    While also spreading into eastern Kansas and Missouri, the steadiest rain should bypass the drought-stricken areas of the Oklahoma and northern Texas panhandles.


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    The storm will not push the widespread heavy rain targeting Mexico very far to the north. Instead, many locations will receive an inch or less of rainfall at midweek. There will be some downpours that push the rain totals past an inch and cause slowdowns for travelers.

    Across Texas, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Frank Strait expects the rain to be most concentrated across the western half of the state.

    "There appears to be some potential for the flash flood guidance to be exceeded over West Texas, though flash flooding would be localized if it occurs," Strait added.

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    "Streams [in West Texas] are not out of their banks like we see farther to the east, where the last few rain events have hit the hardest."

    Many in West Texas and northward to eastern Kansas will view the rain as beneficial. Parts of central and northwestern Texas and western Oklahoma remain in the midst of an extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. There have been brush fires of late.

    Conditions in eastern Kansas range from abnormally dry to a moderate drought.

    "Starting on Wednesday, the rain will spread over areas currently seeing stream and river flooding again," stated Strait. The areas Strait is referring to are southeastern Texas and the lower Mississippi River Valley.

    National Weather Service hydrologists anticipate the Trinity River at Liberty, Texas, located northeast of Houston, will remain at moderate flood stage through midweek.

    The lower Mississippi River will be on the rise this week as runoff from its swollen tributaries, including the Ohio River, drain downstream.


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    The main issue will be along already swollen streams and rivers.

    "The rain [at midweek] does not look as extreme as last time; but with streams and rivers in eastern Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas still running high at that point, there will be some concern for renewed flooding even with only an inch or so of rain."

    Streams currently running high could be brought out of their banks, especially where any downpours occur. Meanwhile, runoff from the rain could bring a second or delayed crest on the larger rivers.

    Later this week, the rain is expected to track eastward to the Tennessee Valley and Carolinas.

    If the steadier rain tracks farther to the north, residents of along the Ohio Valley may have to be put on alert for flooding to potentially worsen along the Ohio River and its swollen tributaries.

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