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Storms may aggravate flooding in southern US as heat persists

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Thunderstorms will ride the northern edge of very hot air in the southern United States this weekend.

The bulk of the storms will extend from the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi and Tennessee Valley, where a few inches of rain can drench some communities.

Some of the rain will overlap areas that have been hit with flooding downpours this past week. Nashville has received nearly 4.5 inches of rain this week, which is more than seven times the average for early July. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a state of emergency for several counties in middle Tennessee, due to flash flooding on Thursday morning, July 7.

The weather pattern has the potential to bring more rounds of storms with torrential rainfall and strong winds this weekend. The path of the storms may tend to shift farther south, when compared to earlier this week.

"The main threats from the storms will be damaging wind gusts, hail and flash flooding," according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos.

A couple of the strongest storms could produce large hail and an isolated tornado, Avalos said.

Where thunderstorms repeat, there is the potential for 2-4 inches of rain to fall this weekend.

The rain will also reach some parts of the interior South, which are in need of rain. Northern parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as southern Tennessee and western North Carolina are experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Not every location will be hit by powerful thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.

Many locations close to the Gulf Coast will be free of rain through the weekend.

A few storms will spring up near and east of the Appalachians to part of the Atlantic coast. However, while these storms can be locally heavy and gusty, they will tend to be very spotty in nature, when compared to the storms farther west.

Little, if any, heat relief in sight for southern US

The storms will do little to break the heat in the Deep South and across the Carolinas. In many cases, a storm will drop temperatures by 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or two, while humidity levels climb.

Highs will be well into the 90s in many locations through early next week, with a few locations topping 100.

Columbia, South Carolina, will like extend the streak of days with the temperature reaching 100 F. By the end of the weekend, the city will have hit 100 or higher for seven consecutive days. The average high for early July is 93.

Temperatures from the Tennessee Valley to Virginia and parts of the Carolinas are projected to trend downward by a few degrees later this weekend into early next week.

In much of the Deep South, the combination of temperature, humidity, sunshine and other factors will continue to produce AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures well above 100 during the midday and afternoon hours through next week.

Indications are that excessive heat and humidity will build northward over much of the central and eastern portions of the nation during the middle of July.

Temperatures in much of the southern Plains have been near to slightly above average in recent weeks. However, highs have remained below 100 in Dallas and Oklahoma City thus far this year.

These locations and others will have the potential to reach the century mark on multiple days during the middle of July with the anticipated weather pattern.

"There is no relief in sight from the heat in the Deep South," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson. "The South will continue to feel like a steam bath through at least the middle of July."