Fox News Weather Center

Memorial Day Weekend to Feature More Flooding in Plains

It is no secret that this month has been unusually wet in the Plains and this trend is expected to continue through the final days of May.

Memorial Day weekend will be no exception to this wet pattern with rain and thunderstorms reaching all the way from Texas through the Dakotas.

Holiday festivities are likely to be impacted by this weekend's rain, threatening to cancel many outdoor events and pushing cookouts indoors.

"Residents should monitor their local forecast pages to determine the best time to schedule outdoor plans," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

"On the actual holiday, a close eye will have to be kept on the sky and AccuWeather MinuteCast® to know when to move indoors," added Pydynowski.

Saturday will bring the most widespread flooding threat as the system responsible for this wave of rain begins to move out of the Rocky Mountains.

Saturday's heavy rain will stretch over 1,000 miles, bringing the threat of flooding to major cities such as Dallas, Oklahoma and Omaha, Nebraska.

While the threat of flooding is expected to decrease over the northern Plains during the second half of the holiday weekend, the threat will persist over Texas and Oklahoma.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms will continue to dump rain over these states into Monday with some locations picking up over 6 inches of rain.

This is more rain than many areas in the Plains typically receive in all of May.

All of this rain can create a particularly dangerous flooding situation for some communities that have already picked up a substantial amount of rain this month.

In the worst cases, rivers may exceed their banks, roadways may become submerged in water and some people could find themselves trapped in a location due to flood waters.

"Much of this area has received two to five times their average rainfall so far this month," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

This has left the ground saturated with water, meaning that it will not take much rain for more flooding to occur.

Additionally, dozens of water gauges in rivers across the region are already in a flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

"Watch for flooded roadways," warned AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams. "Don't be in the next video of someone getting rescued from their car in raging flood waters."

"Know the terrain around you when heading out to recreational areas, so you can avoid the danger of low-lying areas when flooding strikes," Abrams said.

While flash flooding is expected to be the biggest and most widespread concern, severe weather is also a concern.

Some stronger storms are forecast to develop over the High Plains, west of the more populated cities, producing damaging wind gusts past 60 mph, hail larger than golf balls and even a few tornadoes.

However, this does not mean that people elsewhere should put their guard down.

Severe or not, every thunderstorm brings the danger of lightning. With it being a holiday weekend, more people are likely to want to spend some time outside when there is a break in the rain.

If you are outside, you should take note of changing weather conditions and seek shelter to stay protected from lightning if a storm is approaching.

The rain and thunderstorm activity will decrease across the region following Memorial Day, giving residents a break from the torrents of heavy rain.

Unfortunately, early indications suggest that another round of a widespread, soaking rain will move into the southern Plains by Friday.

This could deliver several more inches of rain over Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, before the month of May comes to a close, renewing the flooding danger.

While the rounds of rain will bring many negative impacts to the Plains, it has also brought some positives.

One of the most notable positive impacts is the significant improvement in the drought that has gripped the region for several years.

This is great news for farmers and ranchers across Texas and Oklahoma that rely heavily on water for their crops and cattle.

With more rain on the way, it is possible that the drought conditions may completely disappear from this portion of the country over the coming months.

All of the rain that has fallen across the southern Plains this May is approaching historic levels.

As of May 22, Oklahoma City had received 14.46 inches of rain on the month, significantly higher than their normal rainfall of 4.65 inches. This is also just shy of becoming their wettest month on record.

"Just two years ago, in May 2013, Oklahoma City had its second wettest month on record with 14.52 inches of rain," said Thompson.

With more rain on the way, it is possible that Oklahoma City could close out the month with nearly 20 inches of rain. To help put this in persecutive, Oklahoma City received 28.26 inches of rain in all of 2014.

Dallas is another city that has received a plethora of rain. The city has already recorded more rain so far in 2015 than they have received in all of 2014.

Continue to check back with AccuWeather.com or on twitter at @BreakingWeather for updates on the flooding in the Plains throughout the holiday weekend.