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Fox News Weather Center

Tropical Rain to Soak Florida, Carolinas Sunday Into New Week

Tropical moisture will cause soaking rain to spread from northern Florida to the Carolinas as the weekend gives way to the new week; another indication that the effects of El Niño are ramping up for this winter.

One ingredient to the upcoming soaking is the tropical system that has a small window of opportunity to develop into a depression in the western Gulf of Mexico.

While that window will close later this weekend as the system merges with a cold front, its moisture still be abundant and lead to downpours into the new week.

Southern Discomfort Ahead

"The steadiest rain on Sunday will be focused on northern Florida into southern Georgia," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.

The rain will increase through Sunday night with the greatest potential for downpours in northern Florida focusing near the Gulf Coast, including in Apalachicola.

"An area of low pressure will form along the front Monday and feed tropical moisture into Georgia and South Carolina," added Travis. "The low will move to the northeast on Tuesday, streaming enhanced moisture into eastern North Carolina."

As the low tracks northeastward, the downpours will target Savannah, Georgia; Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Wilmington and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Farther inland, a lighter rain that will be more of a nuisance for travelers and those with outdoor plans will dampen Atlanta as well as Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina. A couple of showers will even spread to the mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City on Tuesday.

"The rainfall may be heavy enough Monday and Tuesday to cause flash flooding across parts of eastern Georgia, South and North Carolina," Travis said.

Such flooding issues should be on a localized level along streams and in low-lying and poor drainage areas. A repeat of the devastating flooding from October is not expected.

However, it only takes one localized flooding incident to create a dangerous situation for the residents/community being affected.

Larger rivers that are already running high and out of their banks, including the Edisto River in South Carolina, may further rise or will be slower to recede as runoff from the upcoming soaking rain drains downstream.

Even if flooding does not ensue, the downpours will reduce visibility for motorists and heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning. Anyone planning to travel on stretches of I-10, I-40 and I-95 through the Southeast should be prepared for slower travel.

Outdoor plans may be postponed or forced indoors.

In addition to umbrellas and rain boots, residents will also want to grab their jackets out of the closets. The passage of the cold front will shave 10-20 degrees off Saturday's highs for Sunday. Highs will actually be held about 10 degrees below normal in the Carolinas and Georgia Sunday into Monday.

The rain will depart the Southeast by midweek, but dry weather will not be the theme heading into December with the effects of El Niño ramping up.

"There is no sign of a lengthy break in the wet pattern from Louisiana to the Carolinas and part of Florida through November and December," stated AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"Winter, especially December, is likely to be worse than the fall in terms of big wet storms and severe weather," AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

A storm system emerging from the Rockies threatens to ignite severe weather across a part of the southern Plains and lower and middle Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. This threat should lessen as the system reaches the Southeast on Thursday.

"As El Niño strengthens, the storms will get stronger and wetter in the Southern states," stated Sosnowski.

"The majority of the Southeast will have to wait until the heart of winter for a few significant cool and dry outbreaks. The flow on the backside of strong and large-scale systems may be enough to get that accomplished."