Heightened flood risk, severe storms to target central US this week
By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
April 29, 2019, 3:36:27 AM EDT
Repeating downpours and severe weather will target the central United States as April ends and May begins.
AccuWeather meteorologists are concerned for downpours to raise the risk of flooding and disrupt travel from central and eastern Texas to eastern Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, southern Wisconsin and into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Ample moisture surging northward from the Gulf of Mexico will link up with storm systems emerging from the Rockies to produce rounds of downpours.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms will repeat and could remain relatively stationary over areas that have recently received excessive amounts of rainfall, according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Brian Koochel.
The greatest flood risk may focus on a swath of the South Central states from near the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex to near Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, Tuesday into Wednesday.
Rainfall totals could approach or exceed 4 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches across this corridor.
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Month-to-date, Dallas and Tyler, Texas, have received 2-3.5 times their normal rainfall for all of April. Many rivers in eastern Texas remain above-flood stage as a result.
"This additional round of persistent, heavy rain will quickly raise concerns for flooding," Koochel said.
Road closures will be possible due to high water.
Motorists are urged to turn around and find a safer alternate route if floodwaters are encountered.
Other cities at risk for at least localized flash flooding and travel disruptions include Oklahoma City; Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Poor driving conditions that will include reduced visibility and a heightened risk of hydroplaning while traveling at highway speeds will threaten sections of interstates 20, 30, 35, 40, 44, 55, 70, 80 and 94.
The first round of heavy rain will develop across the northern part of this area through Monday.
Even in the absence of flooding, the downpours will cause disruptions for travelers and those with outdoor plans.
"Monday morning can be a travel nightmare around Chicago as motorists are slowed down on highways," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "Flight delays and cancellations early in the day can disrupt airline passengers even into the afternoon when drier weather returns and at other airports around the country."
Koochel is concerned that in addition to the dangers of flooding, severe thunderstorms can also inflict damage in some communities.
After damaging thunderstorms erupted over the central Plains to end the weekend, the threat for isolated severe weather will shift to near Lubbock, Texas, on Monday afternoon.
The severe weather threat may expand northward across more of the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma on Monday night. Damaging winds, large hail and flooding downpours will be the greatest concerns.
A more widespread severe weather threat can focus on the corridor from central Texas to Missouri and neighboring parts of Iowa and Illinois on Tuesday afternoon and night with damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes all possibilities.
May can start with the risk of severe weather from eastern Texas to Arkansas.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see when rain will return to your area and receive the latest flood and severe weather alerts as they are issued. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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