Fox News Weather Center

Downpours to offer relief to drought-stricken parts of southern US into July

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Rounds of drenching thunderstorms could bring drought relief to parts of the southern United States into July.

Portions of Tennessee, central Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia and the western part of the Carolinas have had a rainfall deficit of 4-8 inches since the start of the year.

A pocket of abnormally dry to severe drought has developed in parts of the interior South, while

prevailing weather patterns have produced sufficient moisture along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Cool air in the upper atmosphere and a swath of moisture will not only contribute to shower and thunderstorm activity but also enhance it in some cases.

Enough rain can fall on a regular basis in some communities to allow lawns to turn green, increase crop growth and stop the recession of streams and lakes.

The lower Mississippi Valley and areas along the southern Atlantic Seaboard will be most likely to experience frequent downpours.

Where the downpours overlap on a daily or near-daily basis, the risk of flooding will be greatest. The frequent storms could hinder travel and outdoor activities.

During the warm months, patterns of both dryness and excess moisture are common due to the spotty nature of thunderstorms.

A lack of rainfall can be problematic in the summer when evaporation rates are high. Evaporation rates are on the order of one-third of an inch in the South during a sunny day in the early and middle part of the summer.

The downpours will reach into a portion of the significant drought area over the next couple of weeks.

Storms will also bring the threat of lightning. People spending time outdoors should keep an eye on the sky and move indoors at the first rumble of thunder or flash of lightning.