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Fox News Weather Center

Southern US to face downpours, flood threat into Christmas

A series of storms will move across the eastern half of the United States during Christmas week and trigger the potential for flooding rainfall across the Southern states.

Locations from the central Gulf Coast to the western carolinas are at risk for the heaviest rain that may trigger flash flooding.

"From Monday into Christmas Eve, parts of the Gulf Coast could see 4 to 5 inches of rain with locally higher amounts," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

"While this rain will fall over the span of three to four days, flooding will still be a concern given how wet it has been recently," Pydynowski added.

Much of the remainder of the Eastern states could receive up to an inch of rain or more during the week.

Some of the cities at risk for potential flooding include Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida; New Orleans and Alexandria, Louisiana; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta and Macon, Georgia; Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina.

"This amount of rain will certainly be enough to cause some flooding issues and create headaches for those traveling to visit friends and family for Christmas." Pydynowski said.

Those traveling along interstates 10, 20, 55, 59, 65, 75, and 85 will be facing days of heavy rainfall and reduced visibility.

Floodwaters knock down woman crossing street

Rain jackets and umbrellas will be needed for those doing any last minute shopping for the Christmas holiday.

Mild air will accompany the rain during the week. Temperatures will range between 10 to 30 degrees above average in most places and will challenge record-high temperatures.

The surge of warm air for December will also lead to areas of thunder and lightning.

According to AccuWeather Assistant Director of Storm Warning Services, Andrew Gagnon, "The biggest threat with any heavy shower or thunderstorm will be localized flash flooding, as the overall severe threat seems rather low."

While the threat for any widespread severe weather will be low, the heaviest storms could produce locally gusty winds.

Drivers are urged to reduce speeds during episodes of heavy rain and ponding on roadways to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

Never drive through a flooded roadway. Less than 10 inches of flowing water can wash vehicles away.

The stretch of rain and mild weather will ruin the chances of a white Christmas for the Southern states.

Keep track of the rain moving across your area by using ​AccuWeather Minutecast®. Mobile users can use their GPS location.

This wet weather will even stretch northward across the Ohio Valley and Northeastern states.

While the round of storms during the holiday week is not expected to turn severe, there may be another round the following week that could kick up some stronger storms.

"As a major storm is forecast to roll across the southern Rockies, the risk of a significant outbreak of severe weather may increase over the South Central states prior to the start of 2016," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said. "The days of greatest concern would be Sunday, Dec. 27, over the southern Plains and Monday, Dec. 28., over the Mississippi Valley."

Thus far in 2015, there have been only 10 tornado-related fatalities in the United States, which is significantly lower than the 20-year average.