Coastal Flood Advisory

Central US to be target of large storm with flooding rain, severe weather this week

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 28, 2019, 9:12:08 AM EDT

A large storm will affect the flood-weary central United States and produce heavy rain and thunderstorms with localized severe weather.

While a storm of this magnitude is fairly typical of the spring, it will cause a new round of problems for residents and travelers in the region.

Rain on saturated ground to stir more flooding problems

Enough rain may fall with the storm from the central Plains to part of the Midwest to aggravate the flooding situation.

A large swath of 1-3 inches of rain is likely to fall from eastern Nebraska and Kansas to northern Ohio and southern Michigan with the storm from late Thursday to Saturday. Locally higher amounts to 4 inches are likely.

Rain Into Saturday

"The bulk of the rain will fall south of the area where deep snow remains on the ground over the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

However, in these northern areas, flooding is unavoidable even with a gradual thaw and absence of heavy rain over the next several weeks.

Major flooding has begun along the Minnesota, Big Sioux, James and northern Mississippi rivers this week and is expected to continue into April. In addition, major flooding is forecast along the Red River of the North from April to May.

While this type of storm would not typically do more than cause urban-style flooding problems, given its large size and location over saturated ground, it will likely agitate the river flooding at least in a small way.

Widespread river flooding has already been set into motion by prior storms, including the bomb cyclone from the middle of March and deep snowcover from the winter.

Central US River Flooding This Spring

Because of this storm, water levels are likely to fluctuate in the short term along small streams and several days to a week or more later downstream on the larger rivers.

While these fluctuations may be relatively minor and on the order of several feet along the major rivers, they are likely to prolong the overall flooding disaster that continues to unfold.

Additional typical spring storms that trek through the region are likely to do the same.

Thunderstorms to erupt, may become severe in storm's warm sector

Whenever large storms sweep from the Rockies to the Midwest, like the upcoming storm, there is the potential for severe weather.

While there may not always be a major severe weather outbreak with every such storm, there are risks to lives and property, even on a small scale.

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AccuWeather meteorologists will be closely monitoring the situation for severe weather with the upcoming storm. However, it is likely that many areas will be hit with heavy, gusty thunderstorms, while a few locations may be targeted with more violent weather conditions.

The heavy, gusty thunderstorms will waste not time with areas from southern Nebraska and central Kansas to northern Missouri and west-central Illinois at risk into Thursday night.

Gusty Storms Thursday

Some of the stronger storms into Thursday night will produce hail and gusts strong enough to break tree limbs and cause sporadic power outages.

At this point, areas from north-central Texas through Oklahoma and into southeastern Kansas have the greatest risk of locally severe storms from Friday to Friday night. However, storms can become locally robust north and east of these areas once again as well.


Everything from large hail to damaging winds, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

The risk of locally severe storms is likely to shift eastward over the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley this weekend.

Like many spring storms, this one will have its wintry side with areas of accumulating snow.

Download the free AccuWeather app to receive the latest forecast information and potential advisories for your area later this week.

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