With 6-12 inches of rain projected over a large part of the south-central United States into this weekend, the question is: Are the heavy rains and flooding problems a sign of what's to come this spring?
Rainfall from this week's rainstorm alone will top a foot in some locations.
While the rain thus far has caused incidents of flash and urban flooding, the worst is likely yet to come.
Rain that has already fallen as well as the rain that will fall into the weekend will fill streams and rivers to the point of major flooding in some communities.
Because of the saturated state of the ground from parts of Texas to the middle Mississippi Valley, following the rainfall this week, even less intense rainfall events can lead to renewed flooding problems moving forward this spring, particularly in the short-term.
"It appears that a second, slow-moving storm system will affect the Central states next week with the potential for severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok. "Additional heavy rain events capable of causing renewed flooding are possible on or around March 21-22 and March 26-27."
Where rainfall of 3-6 inches was enough to cause flash, urban and stream flooding this week, it may take only 1-3 inches of rain next week to lead to the same result.
Tributaries of the lower Mississippi River, which will rise and flood this week, will likely remain high through much of the spring.
Even though El Niño will weaken moving forward this spring, it will still pack enough punch to stir up storms over the Pacific Ocean well into April.
Pastelok and his team of long-range meteorologists anticipate frequent storms rolling out of the Southwest states this spring, which will take aim mostly at the lower half of the Mississippi Valley.
"By May, heavy rain and flooding events will become much more localized," Pastelok said. "We remain concerned about a potential tropical system moving in from the Gulf of Mexico during June, but rainfall for that month will probably be much less frequent."
Like the storm system this week, periodic rain and thunderstorms will also extend into the North Central states. However, incidents of flooding will be less widespread. Also, where flooding does occur in the North Central states, it is not expected to be as intense.
Pastelok anticipates that the weakening El Niño will cause all or part of the corn belt in the Midwest to dry out and heat up faster than average later this spring, which could set the pace for drought conditions and lower corn yields this summer.