More flooding, severe weather to target southern US early week

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Following widespread heat and a round of severe weather for some over the weekend, a storm system will cruise eastward with drenching rain and thunderstorms across the southern United States before March comes to a close.

A storm developing in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday will pull a some of the moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico, helping to create an unstable environment.

The first showers and heavy thunderstorms are likely to erupt over parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas on Monday as the storm emerges from the southern Rockies and begins to tap the Gulf moisture.

However within that area of thunderstorms, some severe weather is possible Monday into Monday night.

"The primary risk severe thunderstorms will be from northeastern Texas through much of Louisiana and into the southern half of Mississippi during Monday afternoon and night," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

While frequent lightning and drenching downpours will be the most widespread threats, a few storms could contain damaging winds, hail or an isolated tornado.

Meanwhile, farther north, enough moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will bring flooding concerns for northeastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Drenching rain and embedded thunderstorms will then blossom over the lower Mississippi Valley during Monday night and early Tuesday.

"It is possible that areas along the I-40 corridor receive enough rain on short order to cause flooding," Anderson said.

A general 1-2 inches of rain is forecast across the South with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 3 inches, provided the storm makes steady eastward progress. Should the storm slow its forward speed or stall, then two times the amount of rain may fall.

It does appear that the flooding risk in this case will be localized and generally limited to urban areas and small streams.

Given the bouts of rain on the way Monday through early Tuesday, clean up efforts from the tornadoes that ripped through Arkansas may be delayed.

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Rain and thunderstorms are forecast to spread across the Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians and remainder of the Southeast as Tuesday progresses.

"During Tuesday, the severe thunderstorm risk is likely to advance eastward across southern Alabama, southern Georgia and northern Florida," Anderson added.

Again storms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and even an isolated tornado. However, the coverage of these severe storms may be sporadic.

Meteorologists are stressing, however, that even thunderstorms with moderate gusty winds can be enough to cause damage and pose a problem for tents and canopies set up for triage and testing related to COVID-19.

During Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the rain is predicted to consolidate along the southern and lower mid-Atlantic coasts before heading out to sea.

Behind the wet weather, will come a push of noticeably cooler air, dropping afternoon high temperatures as much as 15-20 degrees by Tuesday across much of the East.

The hot weather this week has helped the water table drop in much of the region, although some streams and rivers are still swollen from repeated heavy rainfall this past winter.

It is possible that monthly rainfall during March may be below average in Jackson, Mississippi, for the first time since November. Jackson has received 33.27 inches of rain from Dec. 1, 2019, to March 27, 2020, and sustained significant flooding from the Pearl River during the middle of February.

Marcus Morris steadies the boat as his neighbor Chris Sharp readies the trolling motor for another trip through their Pearl River flooded neighborhood in Jackson, Miss., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Normal rainfall from December through March is about 20 inches. Rainfall during March is currently at 4.52 inches compared to an average of 5.04 inches for the entire month.

Isolated flash flooding can also be dangerous for motorists. Experts urge motorists to never attempt to drive across a flooded roadway. The road surface may have been washed away or the water may be much deeper than it appears and could cause your vehicle to stall and/or be swept away.

Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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