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Stormy week in the works for the South

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 5/9/2021 Jessica Storm

Weather in the Southern states will be playing a familiar tune this week as downpours and severe conditions return with a fury.

Rain that could be more helpful to drought-stricken and fire-prone areas, particularly in the Southwest, is on its way yet again to the Southeast instead, raising the alarm for possible flooding. This area has already had a massive amount of power outages and needed flooding rescues due to heavy storms this month.

"We're just as tired as y'all are," said the National Weather Service office at Birmingham, Alabama, when reporting the return of severe weather.

Several locations across the South have experienced round after round of rain over the past few months, leaving them waterlogged. Jacksonville, Florida, reported nearly 5 inches of rain last month, which is 188% of the normal April rainfall. Though Charlotte, North Carolina, has been dry lately, 2021 has featured 110% of average rainfall so far there as the city racks up over 16 inches of rain.

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"The threat for strong thunderstorms will begin for the area Sunday as low pressure pushes a cold front through the region," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary.

Showers and thunderstorms can light up along this cold front, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok.

Since the beginning of March, Nashville has reported nearly 18 inches of rainfall, putting it at 187% of normal precipitation. High winds are forecast to overtake the city on Sunday with showers and thunderstorms moving in, becoming severe late.


"Threats with these storms can include damaging winds, flooding downpours, hail and even isolated tornadoes," Sadvary said.

Not only are residents of the Music City concerned about flooding, but the local National Weather Service office issued a wind advisory in effect on Sunday, warning that gusts can propel unsecured objects and even tree limbs. Damaging winds are expected to be a main concern there.

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Other cities to be impacted by severe storms include Little Rock, Arkansas, and Jackson, Tennessee.

Unfortunately for flood-prone areas, thunderstorms and heavy rain will not end for the South with this Mother's Day event.

"Most of the week ahead will be dominated by rain and thunderstorms for much of the Southeast and Gulf region from central and eastern Texas to South Carolina," Sadvary said.

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"A second frontal boundary will develop just north of the Gulf by Tuesday, where it is expected to idle into Thursday," Sadvary said.

"The location of this front will be key in if temperatures will largely be above normal across the Southeast or does the chilly air invade the lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast," said Pastelok.

The front will likely stall along the Gulf, allowing thunderstorms to dump large amounts of rainfall on already water-weary cities on the Gulf coast. Since the beginning of April, New Orleans has received over 16 inches of rain, which nearly triples the average rainfall for this time period.

"The rounds of rain with this slow-moving event can lead to widespread flash flooding," said Sadvary.

Jackson, Mississippi, and Birmingham have both reported around 150% of their normal rainfall since early April, making them likely candidates for flooding this week.

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Pastelok suggests localized flooding issues may be the most prevalent across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of the Southeast.

Widespread rainfall totals of 2-4 inches are anticipated from Texas to Alabama, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 10 inches possible.

This rain will also reach a few spots in the southeastern United States that have been on the drier side so far this spring, like North and South Carolina, according to AccuWeather forecasters. These areas recently even had increased fire danger.

Any rain will be beneficial in this zone, but rain could pour down quickly enough to lead to flooding concerns.

"Anyone planning on traveling this week between interstates 10 and 20 should use caution and pay attention to the forecast," Sadvary said.

AccuWeather forecasters urge drivers to use the phrase "turn around, don't drown" when out on the road.

"Downpours can reduce visibility and make travel difficult, and flooded roads can potentially stall vehicles," said Sadvary.

Heavier rain over saturated ground from Louisiana to Mississippi can lead to significant flooding toward the end of the week as well, according to Pastelok.

Severe weather is possible with these flooding downpours, including gusty winds as warm, moist air flows onshore across the Gulf Coast.

Fortunately for the oversaturated Southeast, dry weather is expected to arrive by next week, paired with steamy conditions.

A southeasterly flow around high pressure will likely send an increasing amount of warm and humid air across the South and Southeast next week, according to Pastelok. This can provide warmer nights and hot conditions across the Southeast.

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


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