Fox News Weather Center

Soaking downpours, gusty storms to drench Gulf Coast this weekend

A pair of storm systems will spark locally gusty thunderstorms and flooding rain along the Gulf Coast and Deep South this weekend.

On New Year’s Eve, heavy rain and thunderstorms will erupt in southeastern Texas and rapidly intensify as they push eastward.

The storms will dampen New Year’s Eve celebrations in cities such as Houston and Galveston, Texas; New Orleans, Shreveport, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tupelo, Biloxi, and Jackson, Mississippi; and Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.

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“Coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will experience very heavy rain and thunderstorms beginning during the day on Saturday and lasting into Sunday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kevin Gilmore said.

Those heading outdoors to celebrate the arrival of 2017 should pack their umbrella and raincoat before venturing outside.

Upwards of 2-3 inches of rain is expected from this first batch of storms. This amount of rain can easily result in flash flooding of low-lying areas.

Motorists should be alert of rapidly changing conditions.

The heavy rain will push eastward into the Southeast, particularly southern Alabama, southern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, on New Year’s Day.

Even though rainfall amounts will decrease as the storms roll eastward, localized downpours can lead to difficult travel conditions and greatly reduce roadway visibility.

The stronger of the two storm systems will trigger another round of heavy rain and gusty thunderstorms in southeastern Texas on Monday.

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The same areas that got hit with flooding downpours on Saturday and Sunday are in line for an additional round of equally heavy rainfall on Monday. This will only exacerbate ongoing flooding concerns and prevent flooded streams and creeks from receding.

“Cities including New Orleans, Louisiana; and Mobile and Dothan, Alabama; will likely see upwards of 3 to 5 inches of rain by the time the last drops fall on Monday evening,” according to Gilmore.

In addition, some of the storms that develop on Monday can become locally severe and produce wind gusts to 60 mph. The greatest threat for damaging wind gusts will extend from southeastern Texas to the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coasts.

Wind gusts of this magnitude become even more problematic when combined with excessive rainfall amounts.

Trees are uprooted more easily when soils become overly saturated, and downed trees can cause significant property damage and lead to power outages.

The rainfall will be a welcome sight for residents living in the Tennessee River Valley, northern Alabama and northern Georgia.

Although the heaviest downpours will skirt to the south of these areas, any rainfall will bring much needed relief for those who have suffered from extreme drought since the beginning of the summer, Gilmore added.