Torrential rain to exacerbate flooding following record crests along central US rivers

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 04, 2017, 3:37:18 AM EDT

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At midweek, a storm with heavy rain will swing through part of the central United States that was hit hard by flooding and tornadoes over the weekend.

While this week's storm will move through swiftly when compared to this past weekend's storm, enough rain can fall to aggravate the flooding situation and bring a new threat for severe weather.

The additional rain will hinder damage assessment, cleanup of mud and debris and repairs in some communities.

Slow-moving disaster to continue for days, perhaps weeks

"A general 4-8 inches of rain fell, while some locations received 10 inches of rain in part of the Central states," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Static AP Missouri Sandbagging from Monday, May 1, 2017

Volunteers place sandbags to protect buildings from potential floodwater in Eureka, Missouri, on Monday, May 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Record crests occurred along some rivers, including the Current River at Doniphan, Missouri, where waters reached 33.13 feet on Monday. The North Fork of the White River, near Tecumseh, Missouri, reached a record crest of 35.51 feet on Saturday night.

Even if there was no additional rain this week, "after the weekend deluge, some rivers across the central United States will continue to rise and threaten homes and residents," Pydynowski said.

Static River Flood 3 pm


The Black River at East Pocahontas, Arkansas, topped levees and flooded roads, homes and businesses on Tuesday. The levee failed on Wednesday and prompted a flash flood emergency. Residents in East Pocahontas and points downstream in the Arkansas counties of Randolph and Lawrence were urged to evacuate.

The Mississippi River at St. Louis is projected to crest at major flood stage, near 41 feet, late this week.

The larger the stream, the longer it takes for a crest to occur and waters to recede. It could take days, and in some cases more than a week, before waters drop below flood stage along the large rivers in some communities.

Waters on the Mississippi could challenge the record level of 48.9 feet in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, but a crest is not forecast until this weekend.

More rain to add insult to injury

Total rainfall with the current storm will pale in comparison to that of this past weekend. However, the current storm has the potential to bring a new round of flash, urban and small stream flooding and can push some waters to new heights or delay the recession of some rivers in the region.

The current storm will bring a general 1-3 inches of rain with local amounts of 4 inches. However, much of this rain may fall in less than 12 hours. In some cases, the rainfall can occur in a few hours, which is above the threshold for flash flooding due to recent rainfall.

Static Heavy Rain Wet Nt


Areas that could face renewed or prolonged flooding include northern Arkansas, central and southern Missouri, central and southern Illinois and central and southern Indiana into Thursday night.

Some of the major rivers that could experience a new surge of high water include parts of the White, Current, Black, Missouri, Wabash and the Mississippi rivers. Dozens of other rivers in the region will also be at risk for another round of rising water.

Missouri Flooding 5/2/2017

Missouri Highway 141 at Interstate 44 in St. Louis County was closed on Tuesday afternoon due to flooding. (Photo/Missouri State Highway Patrol)


Portions of the Mississippi River, especially near and below the Ohio River confluence, may continue to rise into the middle of May.

Residents are urged to heed all warnings to evacuate issued by officials. It's important to continue to monitor small stream and river levels for secondary crests.

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Flooding potential east of the Mississippi River

Enough rain can also fall farther east and south in the Central states to cause flooding in portions of eastern Indiana, northern Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi and northeastern Texas.

The heaviest rain will fall from late Wednesday night to Thursday night east of the Mississippi River.

Static Thursday Flooding


Long-term dryness over the past year and a system of dams in part of this area may mitigate the magnitude of the river flooding.

Even so, some rivers east of the Mississippi in the Midwest are at risk for a surge of water later and perhaps minor to moderate flooding of unprotected areas this week include the Ohio, White, Miami and Scioto.

High water levels and minor lake shore flooding on Lake Ontario will continue.

Farther south, minor to moderate flooding of Bayous and rivers can occur during the latter part of this week and into this weekend.

Enough rain may fall at the local level to raise the risk of flash and urban flooding along the Atlantic Seaboard to end the week.

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