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    Storms to raise risk of life-threatening flooding in central US into this weekend

    By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    May 18, 2017, 11:46:08 PM EDT

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    As rounds of thunderstorms repeat in portions of the southern Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley, the potential for dangerous flooding will increase into this weekend.

    Violent thunderstorms will not be the only threat over a large part of the central United States into this weekend.

    "In places that have wet ground now, any additional rain will aggravate flooding and delay planting operations," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

    Static AP Image Miss River Flooding Vicksburg May 15

    A riverboat cruise ship floats along the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Miss., past signs warning of rising waters along lower areas adjacent to the river, Monday, May 15, 2017. Local authorities are preparing for flooding from the Mississippi River and its tributaries later this week. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Motorists should be prepared to turn around if they encounter flooded roadways.

    Into Friday night, a new storm will slice slowly northeastward across the central and southern Plains. The potential for torrential downpours will accompany and extend beyond the area of severe weather.

    "The area from part of central Texas to central Oklahoma, central and eastern Kansas, southeastern Nebraska and part of Missouri will receive enough rain to cause an elevated risk of flash and urban flooding," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

    Static Flooding Through Friday Night

    A general 2-4 inches of rain is likely with the potential for local amounts to 6 inches into through Friday night, which will cause water to collect in poor drainage areas.

    "As this water runs off the saturated soil, the potential for small stream flooding will increase, followed by a significant rise on some of the area rivers," Duffey said.

    The corridor of drenching downpours will crawl eastward across the Mississippi Valley and southward through Texas.

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    As the storms settle slowly southward in Texas, the risk of flash and urban flooding will increase from the Big Bend area to some of the northeastern counties of the state. The risk of flash flooding could ramp up in the areas just northwest of Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas, from Friday night to Saturday night.

    Static US Weekend

    A lack of rain in part of the middle Mississippi Valley over the past week may limit renewed major flooding on the large rivers, where water has receded below flood stage.

    However, some rise in water levels is likely on the secondary rivers. Even if new river flooding does not occur in this area, the potential for flash, urban and small stream flooding will remain high due to the moist state of the ground.

    The additional rainfall could be enough to slow the rate of recession for a few days on some of the largest rivers in the region, including the Mississippi and White rivers.

    Even in the absence of rain over the next week, the White River at Des Arc and Clarendon, Arkansas, and the Mississippi River at Osceola, Arkansas, are projected to remain above flood stage into the last week of May.

    At Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Mississippi River is projected to crest at moderate flood stage this weekend. Farther downstream, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Mississippi will reach major flood stage and is not expected to crest until next week.

    High water levels on the Mississippi will continue to affect some port operations and require barge operators to take extra caution through the end of the month.

    Rainfall topping 4 inches that fell on parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota earlier this week was pushing some tributaries of the upper Mississippi past flood stage during the latter half of this week.

    This weekend, the Trempealeau River at Dodge, Wisconsin, is projected to crest at major flood stage. Portions of the Chippewa, Wisconsin and Black rivers are likely to reach moderate flood stage.

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