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Rivers to keep rising from Mississippi to Tennessee, Kentucky despite break in rain

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 2/24/2019 kristina.pydynowski
a close up of a map: SE Monday Feb 24 © Provided by Accuweather, Inc SE Monday Feb 24

The areas hit by severe weather and record rain from the lower Mississippi to lower Ohio River valleys will welcome a brief break in the wet weather, but rivers will keep rising.

In the wake of Saturday's deadly and devastating severe weather and flooding, dry and seasonable weather will continue to sweep across the South through Monday.

A few showers and thunderstorms may return to eastern Texas, Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday as dry weather holds firm across the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

Rain may continue to avoid most of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys on Wednesday.

The dry spell will be welcome by residents and crews cleaning up storm damage, including mudslides that have closed stretches of interstates 24 and 40 in Tennessee and North Carolina.

However, flooding may only get worse along larger rivers as runoff from the recent heavy rain continues to drain downstream.

Many rivers across the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and lower Ohio River valleys are at minor to major flood stage.

The Tennessee River at Perryville, Tennessee, is projected by National Weather Service hydrologists to rise above the record crest of 380.9 feet that was set over a century ago on March 1, 1897 at midweek.

The Mississippi River, south of the confluence with the Ohio River, is not only expected to keep rising early in the week, but through at least the first full week in March.

The river south of Memphis, Tennessee, can reach near or above major flood stage by or during next weekend.

a close up of a map: River Feb 24 © Provided by Accuweather, Inc River Feb 24

The Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi, is expected to rise to 56 feet by Friday, which is just shy of major flood stage. At that level, residents who access their homes via Bourke Road, located south of the city, will have to use boats.

At Memphis, the river is projected to climb to 41 feet and its fourth highest level on record in early March. Not since May 2011 has the river been so high.

a lake surrounded by snow: Memphis river flooding Feb 24 © Provided by Accuweather, Inc Memphis river flooding Feb 24

It is possible that crest projections will have to be pushed farther into the future and levels raised as more rain is on the horizon for the river basins.

"Latest indications are for more heavy rain and thunderstorms across the Southeast around March 1-2," according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Some rain can even begin to soak the Tennessee Valley starting on the final day of February.

Additional rounds of rain can follow through the first half of March, and Pastelok is especially concerned for a storm to bring flooding rain back to the Tennessee Valley and Gulf of Mexico states around March 8-10.

Areas from northern Louisiana to Kentucky and the southern Appalachian Mountains are highly susceptible to new flooding following this excessively wet February.

With a total of 13.47 inches, this month is now the wettest February on record at Nashville, Tennessee, and the city's seventh all-time wettest month.

A February rainfall record was also set at Huntsville, Alabama, with 12.60 inches.

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