New Orleans, Southeast to get reprieve from persistent wet weather

·3 min read

The South has been in a seemingly endless pattern of repeated downpours since April which has led to countless incidents of flooding and pushed rivers past their banks. But AccuWeather forecasters say that a change in the weather pattern is underway which is exactly what the region needs.

One city in particular, New Orleans, has picked up over one-third of its yearly rainfall since the start of April. Nearly 2 feet of rain has fallen in the city since April 1, or 379% of the average for this time period. The Big Easy averages around 62 inches of precipitation in a year.

This May could end up as one of the wettest on record for New Orleans. More than 11 inches have fallen in the city as of May 12. The city's monthly record of 21.17 inches dates back to 1995.

"Even if New Orleans did not get another drop of rain this month, it is already the fifth wettest May on record," AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.

In addition to heavy rain, severe weather hampered New Orleans early Wednesday. A confirmed EF0 tornado blew through the city around 2 a.m., toppling trees and power lines, while also causing structural damage to some properties, NOLA.com reported.

New Orleans has not been the only stormy city in the South. Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida, have all recorded around 20 inches of rain since the start of April, when normals for the time frame are typically around 6 inches.

In 72 hours ending Tuesday evening, portions of Texas and Louisiana had picked up over half a foot of rainfall from the latest round of downpours. This heavy rainfall was the result of a front that was stalled across the region.

Forecasters say that it is not particularly unusual for rainfall events of this magnitude to occur in this region, even in the absence of a tropical system. Fronts can typically stall along the Gulf coast when cool, dry air to the north is not making any headway into the warm, humid air farther south. The result can be downpours that are enhanced by moisture from the nearby Gulf of Mexico that last for days, leading to flooding potential.

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An area of high pressure moving into the East has finally shoved the trouble-making front southward and out of the hardest-hit areas of the Southeast.

"This will bring drier but cool conditions to end the week and head into the weekend," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said.

High temperatures were up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal Thursday as the cooler, drier air moved in. Jackson, Mississippi, for example, reached 69 F on Thursday, which is much cooler than its usual lower 80s.

Stray thunderstorms are likely to be confined to portions of Florida through Friday, with rain-free conditions expected elsewhere across the Southeast.

Rivers that are running abnormally high or even past flood stage as a result of the onslaught of downpours will get a chance to recede in the drier pattern. Residents will also find more opportunities to get outside for exercise or leisure, complete yard work or head to the beach.

Forecasters say that those eager for warmer weather to accompany the drier conditions won't have to wait too long. Temperatures will be on the rise starting Friday, reaching seasonable levels once again by Sunday.

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