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'Freight train' of showers, storms to instigate flooding in central US next week

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The potential for flooding will increase in portions of the southern Plains and the lower Mississippi Valley during the third week of May.

"The weather pattern looks like a freight train of showers and thunderstorms for the southern United States next week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak.

Rounds of showers and thunderstorms have been ongoing in the region with periodic flooding and severe weather this spring. The ground remains wet in many areas and many stream levels are running high.

During next week the intensity of the downpours may increase and occur often enough to renew flash and stream flooding. People living in or traveling through flood-prone areas may want to monitor the situation.

Portions of Louisiana and eastern Texas, including the Houston area, were hit hard by flooding during the middle of April. Some of the western Houston suburbs received more than a foot of rain in less than 24 hours.

Over the seven-day period ending around May 21, a general 3-6 inches of rain may focus from central Texas to central Oklahoma, eastward to portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Locally, much higher amounts can occur, especially where and when large complexes of heavy thunderstorms develop. In these instances, a big percentage of the rain can fall during a several-hour period.

"The area we are most concerned about flooding at this time is from eastern Texas to Louisiana in the period from May 16-20," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

One or two bouts of drenching rain and localized flooding could also extend farther north into the central Plains and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

Since March 1, parts of the region have received two to three times the normal rainfall.

In addition to the risk of flooding will be the risk of severe weather typical of May.

"Multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms can occur over the southern Plains," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark.

The storms will bring the potential for damaging wind gusts, hail and frequent lightning strikes along with the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

"Additional rounds of heavy rain and severe weather are likely to continue over the south-central United States during the fourth week of May," Pastelok said.