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Fox News Weather Center

Relentless rain to drench eastern US through much of May

While a brief break in the wet weather is coming early next week, rounds of rain will resume later next week and cause difficulties for outdoor plans and agriculture through much of May.

The coming gap in the rainfall will be brief and surrounded by wet conditions.

In the short-term, the mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians will receive the bulk of the rainfall through Saturday.

"A thorough soaking is in store for the Interstate-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City on Friday," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Enough rain can fall to cause flooding in poor drainage areas and travel delays.

Pockets of steady rain and spotty showers will continue throughout the mid-Atlantic on Saturday.

On Mother's Day, much of New England will get soaked, while much of the mid-Atlantic will be free of rain.

The longest stretch of dry weather for the first three weeks of May is likely to be early next week, when some areas will get a one- to three-day gap in the wet weather.

"The break in the rain early next week might be enough for some farmers to get into the fields and plow and/or plant," according to AccuWeather Senior Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler. "However, in many cases, just as the soil gets dry enough to get into the fields, it looks like more rain will move in."

The weather pattern producing pop-up rainfall into this weekend will break down, but will soon be followed by a parade of storms from the Pacific Ocean.

From the middle of next week through the third week of May, the Pacific storm train will produce rounds of showers and thunderstorms in the Eastern states. On average, most places will get rain every day or every other day.

The showers will return to parts of the central and southern Appalachians by Monday afternoon and night. Rain could return to the coastal mid-Atlantic as early as Tuesday and New England by Wednesday.

"A consolation to the pattern change should be slightly warmer conditions," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson. "Temperatures in some areas will be 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher toward the middle of May, when compared to the first week of the month."

Highs in the 60s and 70s will replace highs in the 50s in many areas.

The warmth will also raise the risk for more robust thunderstorms and torrential downpours. As soil conditions continue to progress from damp to saturated over a broader area, the potential for flash flooding will increase over the next couple of weeks.

The ground has become so wet in portions of West Virginia and northwestern Virginia that only slightly more than an inch of rain in an hour can lead to flash flooding.

On a regional basis, the rainfall of late has helped with soil moisture and stabilized the unusually low levels on streams and rivers. There are still pockets from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Maine, where soil moisture remains below the historical average (1916-2004) for early May.

"Some locations east of the Appalachians have received more rain during the first few days of May than they did during all of April," Mohler said.

There is good chance that the rainfall deficit that began during early March will be totally erased in most areas by the third week in May.

While a rainfall deficit of 3-6 inches remains around the New York City area, the deficit over much of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia has been cut in half during late April and early May.

"Lawn-cutting crews want the grass to grow, while homeowners want the grass to be green," Mohler said. "When it rains often like this you get both, but it can be a real challenge to find time to keep the grass maintained at a reasonable level."

Replenishing the soil moisture this spring could be an important factor to avoiding significant drought during the summer, with hotter and drier weather in the forecast.