Drenching rain and locally severe thunderstorms will advance slowly eastward across the South this weekend into early next week.
The combination of tropical moisture spreading up from the Gulf of Mexico and an approaching cool front from the west will soon produce locally heavy rain and thunderstorms in the Southern states.
The rain and storms are forecast to move along at a steady pace over the lower Mississippi Valley this weekend but may then slow and stall early next week negotiating Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia.
Many parts of the South may receive between 1 and 3 inches of rain with the potential for more where the front stalls and a storm system forms along the front.
Heavy and gusty thunderstorms are most likely near and south of I-20 to I-10, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; Jackson and Biloxi, Miss.; Montgomery and Mobile, Ala.; Pensacola and Tallahassee, Fla.; and Macon, Ga.
The rain could spoil some college and high school football games Friday into Saturday in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
Clearing is forecast over College Station, Texas, Saturday evening where the Mustangs will take on the Aggies at Kyle Field.
Folks heading to Baton Rouge, La., where the Tigers of Auburn and Louisiana State will play, should expect wet weather for tailgating Saturday afternoon. Lightning may also pose risks to tailgaters. There is a chance that the rain will depart in time for the game during the evening.
Fans heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Colorado State and Crimson Tide match may not be so fortunate with the risk of downpours, thunder and lightning Saturday evening.
Similarly, fans heading to Tallahassee, Fla., where the Wildcats will take on the Seminoles Saturday evening, will have to deal with drenching rain and locally gusty thunderstorms.
During Sunday, the drenching rain and locally gusty thunderstorms will be targeting northern Florida, Georgia, eastern Tennessee, upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
Enough rain and poor visibility could occur around Atlanta to cause considerable flight delays Sunday. The rain could linger around Charlotte into Monday.
Showers and thunderstorms are in the offing for the Giants/Panthers match up at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte Sunday afternoon.
There is a chance of a thundershower at LP Field in Nashville Sunday afternoon, where the Chargers take on the Titans.
Sunshine and low humidity are forecast over Dallas Sunday afternoon for the Rams and Cowboys game.
Provided a developing tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico does not slow the progression of the rain, clearing skies are likely over New Orleans Sunday for tailgating prior to the Buccaneers and Saints game.
According to Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, three NFL games were delayed by the weather in the first two weeks of regular season football.
"The Thursday night season opener at Denver, Colo., on Sept. 5, and the games on Sunday, Sept. 15, during the afternoon at Tampa, Fla., and later that evening at Seattle, Wash., were all delayed by lightning," Pydynowski said.
The system in the Gulf of Mexico, likely to become the next tropical depression and perhaps the next tropical storm in the Atlantic, will be watched closely for direct impact in the southern U.S. later this weekend into next week.
Rain is needed in parts of the South, despite a very wet first half of the summer in many areas.
Jackson, Miss., has received less than 20 percent of their normal rainfall since late August with Tuscaloosa picking up less than 0.10 of an inch of rain since Aug. 25. Charlotte has had no measurable rain in the past couple of weeks, and rainfall has been less than 50 percent of normal since the start of August.