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Severe Thunderstorm Watch

Heavy storms to drench southeastern US, provide some heat relief into the weekend

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
July 20, 2019, 5:26:16 AM EDT

The southeastern United States will endure another round of drenching and locally damaging thunderstorms at the start of the weekend.

While the storms will bring potential flooding dangers and could disrupt outdoor plans, they will help to keep temperatures from hitting the extreme levels that areas farther north will experience this weekend.

Thunderstorms are no stranger to the Southeastern states during the summertime, especially during the hottest times of the afternoon.

However, Saturday's storms are expected to be heavier and more numerous than typical summertime garden-variety thunderstorms.

A storm system in the upper levels of the atmosphere is to blame for the more active pattern.

This storm system is in a zone of weak winds; therefore, any storms that do develop will be slow-moving and could cause flash flooding, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

Rainfall rates could reach 1-2 inches per hour or more, which, even with pockets of abnormally dry to severe drought conditions ongoing, can overwhelm streets and poor drainage areas, creating flooding problems.

Stormy this weekend

Those out hiking or camping should keep a distance from small creeks and streams that can suddenly flood during a persistent downpour.

"Anyone with outdoor plans will need to keep an eye to the sky and be prepared to seek shelter if threatening weather approaches," Adamson said.

In addition to lightning and flood dangers, a few of the storms each day can produce damaging winds.

Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Nashville, Tennessee, are a few of the communities where outdoor plans may be disrupted for a time.

Visibility could be drastically reduced along sections of interstates 10, 20, 40, 55, 65, 75 and 85, while motorists traveling at highway speeds will face a heightened risk of hydroplaning.

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"The good news is that the storms will help to keep temperatures in check," Adamson said. "While many areas in the eastern half of the country will be in the 90s to even near 100 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures may only peak in the upper 80s in parts of the Deep South thanks to the additional cloud cover."

Areas that get missed by the downpours or where storms hold off until later in the day can still have temperatures surging to average in the 90s.

The coverage of thunderstorms is expected to become less widespread on Sunday, but even more downpours are on the way.

A cold front expected to put an end to the intense heat and humidity in the Midwest and Northeast will return widespread showers and thunderstorms to the Southeast early next week.

"Moisture that pools along and ahead of this front can lead to more frequent thunderstorm activity for much of the region, including areas just impacted with rain from Barry," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido said.

AccuWeather meteorologists will be closely monitoring the potential for this front to stall along the Gulf coast next week, a scenario that would lead to an even greater flood risk.

Download the free AccuWeather app for more details on when storms can dampen your community, as well as how temperatures will trend. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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