Fox News Weather Center

Early Week Storms to Soak the Plains, Help Ease Drought

Thunderstorms are set to return to the Plains for the first week of May following a relatively quiet end to April.

Some areas in the Plains could face heavy, gusty thunderstorms several days in a row due to the slow progression of the system responsible for the storms. Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski warned about the threat of flooding and thunderstorms late last week.

"The expanding risk of severe weather could not only bring disruptions to ballgames and agriculture in the region, but could have significant consequences for travel and pose risks to lives and property," said Sosnowski.

While some thunderstorms could turn severe, producing damaging winds past 60 mph, heavy downpours appear to be the more widespread threat.

"Locally heavy rains will be a concern where we see repeated downpours," said Southern Weather Expert Frank Strait.

This is due to a flow directly from the Gulf of Mexico, supplying an abundance of moisture that the rain and thunderstorms can tap into very easily.

Monday and Tuesday look to be the wettest day for the southern Plains this week with some spots picking up over 3 inches of rain by Tuesday night.

Rainfall totals of this magnitude can quickly lead to flooding issues, particularly in urban, low-lying, and poor-drainage areas.

The main focus of the heavy, drenching thunderstorms will begin to shift north and east headed into the middle of the week.

According to Paul Pastelok, chief long-range meteorologist, "Unlike the last severe weather event which pushed eastward over the Deep South, the severe weather this week will expand northward and northeastward over the Plains and part of the Midwest."

Those in Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, may find themselves to be in the path of the rain and thunderstorms on Wednesday.

"A potential tropical or subtropical system along the East Coast of Florida could help create an atmospheric traffic jam," Pastelok added.

This atmospheric traffic jam will cause the system responsible for the rain and thunderstorms to stall out over the Plains during the second half of the week, adding to the rainfall totals from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This could lead to more flooding issues, especially in areas that are hit by several storms during the first half of the week.

Although the severe storms and flooding downpours could impact people's lives, events, and travel across the Plains this week, there will be a silver lining.

Several days of rain in the Plains will help to lessen the severity of the drought that is affecting a good portion of the country's midsection.

Most importantly, some of the heaviest rain is forecast to fall in the area that needs it most, central Texas and western Oklahoma.

The timing of this rain will also help the agriculture across the region since it is now the early stages of the growing season in the Plains.

From the start of January to the end of April, some areas of the northern Plains had yet to receive 40 percent of the normal amount of precipitation that they receive in that amount of time.

Even though the heaviest rain will be south of these areas, it is still good news, helping to fill up lakes, rivers and water reservoirs across the region.