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Flooding rainfall, severe weather to target southern US into Tuesday

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The threat for flash flooding and localized severe thunderstorms will expand across the southern United States early this week.

Abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will continue to fuel bouts of significant rainfall from Texas to the Carolinas.

Galveston, Texas, set a new record for the wettest December day on Saturday, when 7.68 inches of rain fell. This shattered the previous record of 6.30 inches set on Dec. 17, 1995.

Heavy rain caused street flooding and road closures in parts of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

Additional bursts of rain will track over the South and threaten even more communities with flash flooding and road closures.

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One swath of rain will move across the interior Southeast through Sunday.

Another burst of heavy rain will swing through Texas and Louisiana into Monday, before reaching drought- and wildfire-stricken areas of the Southeast on Monday night. This includes in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The stormy weather into Tuesday should put a sizable dent in the precipitation deficits across the region.

The city of Atlanta received only 77 percent of their average rainfall from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2016.

Though rain will be beneficial for extreme drought areas and help to extinguish wildfires, it can be a double-edged sword.

Land that has been recently burned by wildfires will be extremely susceptible to flash flooding and mudslides. Charred plants and soil have a lower ability to absorb water, leading to excess runoff.

Motorists should watch for ponding on roadways and be prepared to reroute if a flooded or closed road is encountered.

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Damaging wind gusts will be the primary threat across the Gulf Coast states, but a few tornadoes threaten to spin up.

“A dangerous situation could unfold Monday night in the Deep South due to the risk of tornadoes,” Doll said.

“If you live in southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama or the Florida Panhandle, be sure to have a means to get weather warnings before going to bed,” Doll said, adding that one such means is a weather radio.

This includes New Orleans; Biloxi, Mississippi; Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida.

Drier conditions will sweep across the region from west to east on Tuesday, before more rain and a blast of cold air moves in later this week.