Fox News Weather Center

More Rain, Storms to Soak the Plains Through Midweek

The past few weeks has been an unusually wet period for the southern Plains as round after round of rain has caused flooding to occur in communities all across the region.

This pattern of wet, unsettled weather is not expected to let up any time soon as another batch of rain and thunderstorms is set to soak this portion of the country through the middle of the week.

Flash flooding is expected to be the most widespread danger through Wednesday, with some spots possibly receiving more than 4 inches of rain by daybreak on Thursday.

Residents and visitors across the region should anticipate travel delays from the rain, especially during or immediately after a torrential downpour.

Rainfall rates greater than 1 inch an hour are likely in the heaviest downpours, enough to lead to flooding issues.

"Runoff from heavy rainfall will cause some creeks to overflow their banks and could lead to torrents of water flowing across roads," said Meteorologist Becky Elliott.

If you are driving and come across a flooded roadway, you should avoid driving through it and find an alternate route to your destination.

"It only takes 6 inches of water to cause loss of control and stall a vehicle, one foot of water to float a vehicle," Elliott continued. "Two feet of water can sweep a vehicle downstream."

The heaviest rain is expected to depart by Thursday; however, showers and thunderstorms will linger over the region through the rest of the week and into the Memorial Day weekend.

This could potentially interrupt festivities during the holiday weekend.

With an elevated risk of flooding in the southern Plains, people should know the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning.

A Flood Watch means that a flood may occur and you should take the proper precautions to prepare for flooding.

Meanwhile, a Flood Warning means that a flood is imminent or is already occurring and that you should move to higher ground right away.

People should also be on the look out for some stronger storms that may produce hail and damaging winds during the afternoon hours.

One of the aspects that makes this part of the country so susceptible to flooding is the amount of rain that has already fallen so far this month.

Some areas have received more than four times the amount of rain that they typically receive in the entire month of May.

This has left the ground saturated with water, meaning that it does not take as much rain to cause flooding as it did several weeks ago.

Oklahoma City is on pace to have the wettest month on record.

As of May 18, the city had received 12.85 inches of rain. This already makes it the second wettest month on record for the city.

Less than 2 more inches are required for the city to set a new record for the wettest month ever recorded. That record currently stands at 14.52 inches, set back in May of 2013.

All of this rain over the past several weeks has put a noticeable dent in the drought that has gripped the southern Plains since 2012.

At the start of the calendar year, nearly 22 percent of Oklahoma and 12 percent of Texas were classified as being in an extreme drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The recent rounds of rain have caused these numbers to decrease with now only 4 percent of Oklahoma and 2 percent of Texas being classified as being in an extreme drought, according to the Monitor's report on May 14.

These numbers are expected to continue to drop, helping the farmers and ranchers across the region that rely heavily on the rain.

Much more is needed to completely wipe out the drought in the southern Plains, but a building El Niño may help with that.

According to Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "El Niño, which began during the past winter, occurs when ocean water temperatures climb above normal across the central and eastern Pacific, centered around the equator." Meteorologist Ben Noll added to this by saying, "along with impacting weather patterns around the globe, an El Niño tends to bring significant rain to the southern part of the United States."

"The pattern of El Niño strengthens the southern storm track across the U.S., especially during the winter, spring and autumn months of the year," Noll said.

With the El Niño forecast to deliver rain to this part of the Plains through the summer months, more relief can be expected in the drought-stricken area of the Plains.