An Active Weather Pattern Returns to the South—This Time With Heavy Rain, Not Snow

CNN Newsource
By CNN Newsource
February 25, 2021US News
An Active Weather Pattern Returns to the South—This Time With Heavy Rain, Not Snow
Rainfall forecast. (Courtesy of CNN Weather)

Some of the same parts of the South that experienced record snow and cold last week are now in for heavy rain, which could cause flooding from Thursday night into the weekend and possibly beyond.

“All of the Southern snow has melted from the last round of storms, but that melted snow has saturated the soil, and very little of the upcoming 4 to 6 inches of rain will be able to soak in,” says CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers.

Warming temperatures this week have rapidly melted last week’s snow as the United States went from record high to below average snow cover in just a few days.

Some rivers across the mid-South already have elevated levels due to recent snow melt, so the incoming rainfall could lead to minor river flooding.

“Dozens of rain gauges are already above flood stage in Georgia and the Carolinas even before this storm arrives,” says Allison Chinchar, CNN meteorologist. “So, even just 1 to 3 inches of rain over the already swollen rivers could exacerbate the flooding.”

“With grounds fairly soggy from the recent winter storms, along with vegetation still being dormant for the winter, much of this rainfall would likely become runoff, which causes concerns for flooding issues and rises on our rivers and lakes,” says the National Weather Service (NWS) in Nashville.

Man walks in the snow
A man walks to his friend’s home in a neighborhood without electricity as snow covers the BlackHawk neighborhood in Pflugerville, Texas, on Feb. 15, 2021. (Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman/File Photo/USA Today Network via Reuters)

These days of heavy rain could cause flooding this weekend and next week across portions of the South.

“Several inches of rainfall could be seen this weekend into early next week … which could increase the threat for flash and river flooding if this pattern comes to fruition,” says the NWS in Little Rock, Arkansas. “This heavy rainfall threat looks to be the primary hazardous weather threat in the long term.”

Multiple storm systems will sweep across the eastern US, following a similar track, therefore increasing the risk for heavy rain beginning Thursday night.

“This will tend to prolong the threat of heavy rain in the same general area from the southern Plains to the Tennessee Valley and towards the southern Appalachians into early next week,” says the NWS’ Weather Prediction Center.

“We will need to watch for flash flooding in areas getting hit by one thunderstorm after another,” Myers says. “It is called training, like train cars rolling over the same track.”

First Round of Rain Starts Thursday

The first round of wet weather will begin to set up Thursday night across the southern Plains, with showers developing across Texas, Oklahoma and Gulf Coast states from Louisiana to Alabama.

There could also be a few thunderstorms, some severe. Large hail may accompany any of the stronger storms in northeastern Texas, southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana on Thursday evening.

6-10 day precipitation outlook. (Courtesy of CNN Weather)

Some heavier rain may be near a stationary front, which is an area of converging winds that often promotes more rainfall. That could include northeastern Texas through southern Arkansas and into the Tennessee River Valley late Thursday night into Friday.

Throughout the day Friday, rain should persist across similar areas. That rain will also extend toward the East Coast, impacting the Carolinas.

By Saturday, this first round of rain will move into the Northeast, and some will turn to snow across the Appalachian Mountains and northern New England.

But that’s not the end to the rain across the South.

2nd Round Starts Saturday

After a short lull, the next storm system will begin to take over on Saturday, featuring additional showers and potential thunderstorms from the Red River Valley through the Tennessee River Valley.

This next period of rain could be heavier, especially Saturday night into Sunday. Its focus may also shift north, impacting areas from central Arkansas through the Ohio River Valley.

A lighter to moderate rain may be seen farther east into the Appalachian Mountains and Mid-Atlantic on Sunday.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are forecast across much of this region, with localized amounts of greater than half a foot through Sunday.

By Monday, more rain is predicted cross the Southeast, from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic.

The long-range forecast suggests even more storm systems affecting the South through much of the next week.

A 33 percent to 50 percent probability for wetter-than-normal weather is predicted next week across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

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