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New Orleans, Southeast to get reprieve from persistent wet weather

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 5/12/2021 Renee Duff

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 are hopeful that a change in the weather pattern coming later this week will be 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. Over 22 inches of rain has fallen in the city since April 1, or 361% of the average for this time period. The Big Easy averages around 62 inches of precipitation in a year.

In addition to heavy rain, severe weather hampered New Orleans early Wednesday. A possible 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.

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Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida, have all recorded just below 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.

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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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Showers and thunderstorms will continue to pester the region throughout Wednesday, generally from the Interstate 20 corridor on south, as the front remains draped over the Gulf Coast states. A few of the thunderstorms may turn locally heavy and gusty across portions of southern Georgia and northern Florida.

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However, a stretch of weather is soon on the way that will certainly help to dry out the region, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.

An area of high pressure moving into the East Thursday into Friday will finally shove the trouble-making front 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," Sojda explained.

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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.

High temperatures will be up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal Thursday as the cooler, drier air moves in. Tallahassee, Florida, for example, is forecast to have a high in the middle 60s when the city would typically be in the middle 80s.

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.

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

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