Downpours, flooding to pummel the central US this week

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 15, 2018, 3:10:54 AM EDT

While many across the Midwest have enjoyed a string of warm and dry days, heavy rain inundating the central Plains will soon overspread the region.

The drought-ridden south-central United States received some much-needed rain early this week from a slow-moving storm. Drought-stricken portions of Kansas and Missouri will continue to reap the benefits of additional rainfall through midweek.

"A general 1-3 inches of rain is likely in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, but areas hit repeatedly by torrential downpours may receive 4 to 5 inches of rain," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott.

The AccuWeather Local StormMax is 6 inches with the event and most likely to be in the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas, southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma.

Very dry ground is slower to absorb water, increasing the chance that any heavy storm produces dangerous flash flooding, however. Creek beds and low-lying streets or those with poor drainage will flood quicker than other areas, and residents should exercise extreme caution around flood-prone areas.

"However, the rainfall will help to ease the drought and give a boost to crops suffering in abnormally dry soil," Elliott said.

On Tuesday and Tuesday night, heavy rain inundated areas from central Oklahoma through southeastern Kansas and much of Missouri. Flooding became severe in Independence, Kansas on Tuesday evening, prompting water rescues from stranded cars and flooded homes.

By Wednesday, residents of these locations can expect just a couple of lingering showers and perhaps a rumble of thunder as the area of drenching rainfall shifts to cover southern and eastern Missouri, as well as much of Illinois and Indiana.

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Wet weather is then expected to overspread the whole of the midwestern U.S. for Thursday and Friday, though the threat of new flooding will lessen.

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While the Ohio Valley and Upper Midwest are not experiencing drought conditions for the most part, the rain will help to ward off worsening drought across portions of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

Showers and thunderstorms could impact Major League Baseball games scheduled to take place in St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit this week. Anyone planning to tailgate or attend these games should prepare for wet weather and potential rain delays or postponements.

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"The downpours will slow travel on large portions of interstates 35, 40, 44, 55, 70 and 80, and motorists should make sure to reduce speeds on wet roadways to reduce the risk of hydroplaning," Elliott warned.

Flight delays into and out of area airports, including O'Hare and Midway in Chicago, could have ripple effects on air travel throughout the nation.

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