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Newton's moisture to fuel flooding downpours in central US

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A surge of moisture associated with Newton will shift across the Plains and Midwest late this week, elevating the threat for flooding.

"Tropical moisture has been streaming into the Plains and Midwest over the past couple of days, but this addition of moisture [from Newton] will serve to enhance rainfall," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Mike Doll. Heavy rain and drenching thunderstorms are expected across the region as a result.

The heaviest rain is expected to target an area stretching from Kansas and northern Oklahoma to Illinois. Travel delays are possible and outdoor events may be postponed or canceled.

Newton, which came onshore in Baja California early Tuesday morning as a hurricane, will continue to spread heavy rain across the southwestern United States through Wednesday night as it weakens to a tropical rainstorm.

A slow-moving and weak front stretched across the central Plains into the Ohio Valley will trigger locally drenching thunderstorms on Thursday. Any of these could cause flash flooding and slow down travel on local roadways.

However, the greater threat for flash flooding will occur on Friday as a more potent cold front dives southward across the Plains and Midwest and interacts with Newton's moisture.

Drenching rain and thunderstorms will sweep southward across the Central states. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches will be possible from Kansas to Illinois Friday into Friday night. However, some areas may receive up to 3 inches in the most persistent downpours.

"Rainfall rates can exceed 2 inches in an hour in the most persistent downpours, which could cause flash flooding," said Doll.

Travel on interstates 35, 49, and 70 across Kansas and Missouri may be slow at times due to blinding downpours. Motorists should allow extra time to travel and avoid driving across any flooded roadways.

The downpours may have an impact on local high school football games Friday evening where field conditions could deteriorate rather quickly. Folks who do plan on going to a game will want to bring rain jackets and umbrellas.

In additional to flash flooding, some of the storms could turn strong and bring damaging winds and hail, especially later on Friday. Weak trees may come down in the strongest wind gusts.

There will be plenty of time over the weekend for areas to dry out across the Plains. The front will usher in much cooler and drier air during Saturday and Sunday.