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Flooding rainfall to target southern Plains to Ohio Valley during 2nd half of week

By Renee Duff • Updated Feb 4, 2019 at 5:56 PM

Building warmth will be accompanied by soaking rain and locally strong thunderstorms from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley spanning Wednesday through Thursday.

The same storm set to unleash snow and ice across the North Central states will pump in warm, moist air on its southeastern side.

The warmer weather will mean lower heating costs when compared to last week and the need for fewer layers for anyone stepping outside. Highs will be near-record levels across the Ohio Valley around midweek.

However, residents will not be able to head outdoors without an umbrella or rain jacket on hand.

"Heavy rain and thunderstorms will be a concern with this system across the Ohio and mid-Mississippi valleys," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.

Widespread rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected from around northeastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma to western Pennsylvania and part of West Virginia.

A narrow swath of higher rainfall totals of 4 to 6 inches, can set up around the Ohio River.

The rainfall, along with recent snowmelt in northern areas, will lead to significant rises on streams and rivers which can cause inundation in low-lying, unprotected locations.

Reduced visibility and a heightened risk of hydroplaning at highway speeds will threaten motorists on stretches of interstates 30, 40, 55, 64, 65, 69, 70, 71 and 75.

Secondary roadways may be closed due to high water.

“Conditions could be right for severe storms to develop, as well,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts.

Damaging winds, frequent lightning and torrential downpours can accompany the strongest storms. If all of the right ingredients come together, an isolated tornado or two can also occur.

The severe risk may be greatest from northern Texas to southern Missouri at midweek and then the lower Mississippi Valley on Thursday. Gusty storms can also rumble through the Ohio Valley both of these days.

The one area where the unseasonable warmth will be enjoyed amid mainly dry weather this week will be the Southeast.

Temperatures will feel more like the middle of spring from Jackson, Mississippi; to Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta; and Raleigh, North Carolina; with near-record highs in the 70s and perhaps lower 80s F.

Rain from this storm system will tend to fizzle as it crosses the Southeast at the end of the week.

Cooler air will sweep in behind the storm, dropping temperatures back below normal across the Mississippi and Ohio valleys and to seasonable levels in the Southeast.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Renee Duff is an AccuWeather meteorologist.

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