Rounds Of Rain To Drench Southern US, Exacerbate Flooding This Week

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
- photo by Accuweather

For residents across the southern United States dealing with an abnormally wet weather pattern and flooding, Mother Nature will only bring more of the same this week as a parade of storms keeps the wet weather pattern in place, according to Accuweather.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said that, while more storms are expected this week, rainfall is not likely to be as intense as that of recent storms.

"Still, because the ground is saturated in many areas, it won't take as much rain to trigger small stream and flash flooding," he said.

"Seven-day rainfall on the order of 1-5 inches could also be enough to slow the rate of recession on some rivers and trigger a secondary rise on other rivers."

The heaviest rainfall may target the Pearl River basin, where the third highest crest on record is forecast at Jackson, Mississippi, from rain that fell prior to this week.

On Monday morning, there was minor, moderate and major flooding occurring along nearly every gauge on the Mississippi River south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Minor to moderate flooding was also common along some larger rivers in the Carolinas, Louisiana, western Alabama and southern Arkansas.

A cool front associated with a storm that brought snow to the Upper Midwest on Monday was responsible for areas of rain in the South. The front and the rain associated with it was still affecting the South on Tuesday.

Coverage and intensity of rain will decrease on Wednesday as a brief push of drier and colder air noses into the Deep South.

The next round of rain will ramp up across eastern Texas and Louisiana later Wednesday into Wednesday night as another storm system forms along the central Gulf coast near the stalled boundary.

That storm will move northeastward off the South Carolina coastline by Thursday evening, so the heaviest precipitation in Georgia and the Carolinas from this second system should occur on Thursday before moving offshore late Thursday night.

"The problem is that just enough cold air will have entered the scene in North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, southern Virginia and the northern parts of South Carolina and Georgia for some snow to fall or a mixture of snow, sleet and rain for at time on Thursday," Mr. Sosnowski stated.

"How fast that frozen precipitation falls will determine if roads and sidewalks become slippery or if this will just be a novelty event with some slush on grassy areas and cars," he added.

Although the rain could lead to isolated flooding on smaller streams and creeks this week, it should not fall heavily enough over a large enough area to exacerbate flooding on the Mississippi River or prevent the floodwaters from receding.

Some smaller streams and creeks already near or above flooding stage, however, could crest at even higher levels than they have over the weekend.

In addition, motorists traveling on portions of interstates 10, 20, 85 and 95 impacted by the rounds of heavy rain should make sure to slow down on wet roadways to avoid the risk of hydroplaning.

Anybody venturing outdoors this week should be sure to grab the umbrella and rain gear before heading out the door, and any outdoor gatherings or sporting events may need to be shifted indoors or postponed until a later date.

Drier and much cooler air should finally return to the Deep South and Southeast to end the week as another shot of Arctic air sweeps from the Central states into the Northeast.

Unfortunately, the dry weather may not last for long as another potential rainmaker arrives later in the weekend or early next week.


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