Drenching thunderstorms to threaten flooding from Texas to Missouri

·4 min read

A surge of warmth has been felt across the region in recent days. For some, the hot streak has been even longer. Cities like Dallas and Austin, Texas, have spent more than a week with temperatures in the 90s F. For residents looking for some relief from the heat, a change in the weather pattern could bring in a welcome change.

This heat has been compounded by persistent dry weather across the south-central United States, worsening the drought in the area.

Across Texas, cities from Dallas to Houston and San Antonio, have had less than 2 inches of rain in the so far in May, well below normal. It's been even drier for some; cities like Austin and Lubbock have had less than half an inch of rain so far this month, bringing the drought to extreme and exceptional levels, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

For the new week, the jet stream is expected to dive southward across the center of the country. This will usher in some cooler conditions across the region. After high temperatures reach the upper 80s to the middle 90s early in the weekend, thermometer readings are likely to drop below normal and into the 70s for the first half of the new week.

The pattern change will also open the door for the return of wet weather.

"Multiple storms are expected to dive into the southern Plains early week, inducing showers and thunderstorms from Texas to Missouri from Monday through Wednesday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva.

The clash of hot, steamy air ahead of the storm, and cooler conditions following behind, will help to prime the atmosphere for severe thunderstorms on Monday.

Locations at risk for the severe storms include eastern New Mexico, the western half of Oklahoma and western and central Texas to the Mexico border. Threats such as intense downpours and hail are possible with thunderstorms that erupt in this area late on Monday.

Gusty winds are also a hazard expected with these severe thunderstorms. Because of the dry ground, the winds could kick up dust before the rain moves in, reducing visibility and making driving hazardous in the region.

"For those west of Dallas and San Antonio, the rain may be welcome as they continue to endure extreme and exceptional drought," said DaSilva.

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However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Should rain come down too heavy for the dry ground to be able to keep up, the rainwater could run over top of the ground instead of being absorbed, leading to flooding.

The area at risk for flooding also extends eastward to the Mississippi River Valley as the week progresses, following several storms expected to take the same path across the southern Plains.

After days of rain, and following a recent dry spell, AccuWeather meteorologists warn that incidents of flooding could be widespread. Repeated rounds of rain and thunderstorms could target the same areas, anywhere from I-10 northward to I-70, where more than 2 inches of rain is possible by Wednesday. This includes cities like Waco, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Springfield and Kansas City, Missouri.

Areas that are hit by downpours several days in a row are likely to see the highest rainfall amounts.

"While the location of the heaviest rain will be determined by the exact track of each storm, rainfall amounts of as much as 4-8 inches are possible in those areas," explained DaSilva.

Areas able to pull moisture not only from the storm, but also up from the Gulf of Mexico could be most at risk. Early indications suggest that communities from Dallas and Houston, to Shreveport, Louisiana, and Little Rock, Arkansas, could all experience the heaviest rainfall.

"Severe storms are expected to advance eastward Tuesday and Wednesday along with the threat for flooding downpours, hail, damaging wind gusts and even an few isolated tornadoes," Accuweather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo said.

A slow-moving area of low pressure will continue crawling across the state of Texas Tuesday through Tuesday evening where severe storms are expected to erupt. The major threat for any storm from San Antonio into Dallas will be intense downpours, but hail, damaging wind gusts and even an isolated tornado are possible in the strongest storms.

"The threat for severe will shift to eastern portions of the Lone Star State across Louisiana and into western Mississippi by Wednesday into Wednesday evening," LoBiondo said.

Fortunately, the weather pattern is likely to change again at the end of the week, allowing for drenched areas to dry out ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. This should allow for the lingering rain water to absorb into the ground, eventually making a small dent in the drought.

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