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Good news: Downpours to ease drought

By Alex Sosnowski • Oct 6, 2017 at 5:00 AM

AccuWeather reports drenching downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms will affect parts of the Plains and Midwest into today.

Rainfall from the storms will be significant enough to ease dryness and short-term drought conditions but could fall at so fast of a rate to cause minor flash and urban flooding.

Heavy rain caused several roads to flood across Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon, including near Oklahoma City.

"Into Friday, the heaviest rain will extend from northeastern Kansas to southern Iowa and and part of northwestern Illinois," AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker said.

"A general 2-4 inches is likely," Walker said. "However, locally higher amounts are possible."

People should be prepared for travel delays around Topeka, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri, and Des Moines, Iowa, or essentially along I-35 in this zone.

Lesser rain will occur farther east in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

In terms of severe weather, a few storms can become severe at the local level in parts of northwestern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas on Friday afternoon and evening.

The most common impact from the storms will be strong wind gusts. However, there may be some incidents of hail. A couple of isolated tornadoes are possible, especially as the storms first develop.

The rainfall will impact agriculture in the region.

"On one hand, the rain will slow the corn harvest in some areas and the planting of winter wheat in others," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

"On the other hand, the rain will also help to put some moisture back into the ground, even if it falls at a fast pace."

Winter wheat needs to sprout rapidly and develop deep roots to survive the cold weather in the months ahead.

The area being affected by the downpours has received between 10 and 80 percent of normal rainfall since Sept. 1.

As cooler air advances to the east, it will help to pull Nate northward from the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

This press of cool air and tropical moisture from Nate will drench much of the eastern third of the nation later this weekend into early next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alex Sosnowski is a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

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