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Rounds of heavy rain to threaten parts of central US with river flooding, travel disruptions

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 21, 2019, 11:10:10 AM EDT

Heavy rainfall will continue to elevate flood concerns across a large corridor of the north-central United States through Tuesday.

The rainfall is accompanying the same storm system that unleashed a tornado outbreak at the beginning of the week.

This heavy, steady rain has proven to be too much for streets, drainage systems and rivers to handle since the ground is already saturated.

Flash flooding warnings were in effect across Oklahoma and Kansas on Monday night and early Tuesday as 3-6 inches of rain poured down in 24 hours. Numerous water rescues and road closures were reported.

"In the end, some places will end up receiving up to a foot of rain," said AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

Tue North Central

The stretch from northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri to southern Iowa could end up with over half a foot of rain through Tuesday evening. The AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches of rain is likely to occur in this zone as well.

central US Flooding Static

"It is conceivable that parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest may receive 12-18 inches of rain during the second half of May alone," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Initially, the major rivers are likely to handle the rainfall with little impact. Most rivers in the region are receding, and a large number of points along each river are likely to have water levels dip below moderate flood stage this week.

Eventually, the same waterways that overflowed with water earlier this spring could once again rise above flood stage.

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Communities in these areas have already had more than their normal amount of rainfall so far this spring.

Minneapolis has had over 7.50 inches of rain since the beginning of April, where a more normal value would be around 5 inches.

Kansas City, Missouri, has received nearly 7.50 inches of rain from May 1-20, which is 221 percent of normal for this time period.

Oklahoma City has received over 8.5 inches of rain, which is already nearly double the normal amount of rain the city receives in the entire month.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert of flood warnings. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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