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Tropical downpours to raise flood concerns in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to end the week

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 21, 2018, 11:22:57 PM EDT

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Tropical moisture will converge over the southern Plains and open the atmospheric faucet to the point of drought relief and flood potential into this weekend.

Moisture from a former eastern Pacific Ocean tropical depression will drift slowly eastward from the southern Rockies and deserts to portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana into this weekend.

The former depression managed to bring a general 0.25 to 1 inch of rain over arid, desert terrain with more than 2.50 inches of rain to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, into Thursday.

At the same time as moisture from the former depression rains down, additional moisture will be drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico.

Static SC Flood 3 pm


Later in the weekend, some moisture from the former Atlantic Hurricane Isaac may also be drawn in. What was Isaac is now a struggling batch of showers and thunderstorms heading from the western Gulf of Mexico.

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The setup has the potential to bring a general 5-8 inches of rain centered on Oklahoma, northern Texas and western Arkansas with a Local AccuWeather StormMax™ of 12 inches focused over part of north-central Texas and south-central Oklahoma through Sunday.

Static US Weekend


"Some locations near Ardmore, Oklahoma, received close to 6 inches of rain in three hours during Friday morning," according to AccuWeather Metorologist Justin Povick.

Additional rain is likely to fall on part of the South Central states next week.

Portions of northern Texas, western Oklahoma and northern Louisiana can tolerate a reasonable amount of rain, due to long-term abnormally dry to drought conditions, based on information from the United States Drought Monitor.

However, areas right next door have had excess rain of late in Oklahoma, Arkansas and central Texas. For example, Oklahoma City has received 23 inches of rain since June 1, compared to an average of 14 inches to date.

Many areas are at risk for flash, urban and small stream flooding that a few inches of rain may bring, regardless of prior dry conditions.

Motorists in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma; Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Abilene, Amarillo and Waco, Texas; Little Rock, Texarkana and Ft, Smith, Arkansas; and Shreveport, Louisiana; should be prepared for flooded roads and torrential downpours that may impair vision.

Travel may be slow along long stretches of Interstate 10, I-20, I-30, I-35 and I-40.

It may take until the end of next week before much of the region is rid of the wet weather pattern. There is a chance that downpours linger over southern Texas and much of the western and northern Gulf coast into next weekend.

Download the free AccuWeather app for the latest on the rain and flooding potential for your area.

Persistent, heavy rain to impact agriculture in the region

From an agricultural standpoint, there is some good and bad with the rain forecast for the region.

The rain will be good for winter wheat interests over the southern High Plains, according to AccuWeather Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler.

"You want to get some moisture in the ground following a dry summer in these areas, not that it is planting time for winter wheat," Mohler said.

It may not be good news for cotton, however.

"The bolls are open on much of the cotton crop over the South Central states," Mohler said.

The bolls being the part of the cotton crop that contains the white fiber material that is processed to make garments.

"While it appears the biggest and longest duration rain will miss the heart of the cotton growing areas, some rain will soak parts of the southern High Plains and lower Mississippi Valley, where a great deal of cotton is grown."

Mohler added that Florence likely caused some damage to the cotton crop in the eastern part of the Carolinas last week.

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