Storm to pack a punch with rain, thunderstorms, wind and snow in south-central US

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 13, 2018, 8:55:55 PM EST

While a storm is set to bring mostly rain and thunderstorms to much of the south-central United States into Friday, snow is forecast to fall on its tail end in some locations.

The second storm in less than a week is taking shape across the south-central United States.

Static Rain East Noon

Enough rain is forecast to slow travel, perhaps induce flooding

While not enough rain is expected to cause widespread flooding in the South Central states, there is the likelihood of urban flooding as well as isolated small stream and low-lying area flooding.

This is mainly due to the short time that has elapsed since the last storm that caused the ground to remain wet and streams to run high.

At this time, the area of the South Central states at greatest risk for 1-3 inches of rain with locally higher amounts is forecast to extend across eastern Oklahoma, southern Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The bulk of the rain has ended in northeastern Texas and along the upper Texas Gulf coast.

Risk for locally severe thunderstorms greatest near the Gulf coast

Depending on how quickly the storm strengthens while moving eastward, there is the potential for gusty to locally severe thunderstorms from northeastern Texas to much of Louisiana into Thursday evening. It includes part of southeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas.

Some of the storms may bring strong wind gusts, flash flooding and hail.

This risk area will shift to southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and the Alabama and Florida panhandles later Thursday night.

The risk includes the possibility of a couple of isolated tornadoes, which may occur after dark Thursday night.

Thunderstorms would also be a part of the heavy rain potential. Downpours and ponding on the roads may slow motorists down at the very least.

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Storm to pack strong winds

Where the last storm brought only a moderate amount of wind away from coastal areas, this new storm is expected to generate strong, locally damaging wind gusts in lieu of the coast and thunderstorms.

Winds are likely to pick up from the south and southeast ahead of the storm.

However, the strongest winds are forecast to be on the storm's back side. Gusts from the north and northwest may range between 40 and 60 mph over parts of the southern Plains and over portions of the southern Rockies.

South Central wind 12.13 AM

Gusts in this range are not uncommon for the region but are strong enough to cause difficulties for high-profile vehicles on the highways, knock down trees and trigger sporadic power outages.

Christmas decorations may be damaged or blown away. Minor property damage is also likely.

Heads-up: Where might there be a change to wet snow?

Even though this will be a warmer storm, when compared to last weekend's event in most areas, conditions in the atmosphere may change just enough to allow some wet snow as well.

"This storm is likely to pull cold air down from aloft as it moves by," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

Up to six inches of snow was reported just west of Abilene, Texas, on Thursday evening as snow fell across the region.

Static South Central Thursday

"If this action is strong enough and occurs fast enough, rain may change over to wet snow on the tail end of the storm on its western and northern flank," Rayno said. "However, it is not a sure thing."

Snow began to fall on part of southwestern New Mexico on Thursday. This swath of snow will extend farther to the east across western and central Texas into Thursday night and early Friday.

A few inches of snow are forecast to fall along Interstate 20 near the Abilene, Texas, area.

Static Snow X

Other cities that may receive some snowflakes on the tail end of the storm include Dallas and Lubbock, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Fort Smith , Arkansas.

There is also the chance of a period of snow on the front and back side of the storm over the highest elevations of the southern Appalachians.

However, the greatest threat for the southern Appalachians and Piedmont areas with this storm will not be from new snow, but rather the danger of rain adding weight to the existing snow on roofs in the region, and flooding on already soggy ground.

AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on the impacts of the rain, snow and thunderstorms.

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