Fox News Weather Center

Storms to help drought, raise severe threat across southern US through early April

Storm after storm will roll across the southeastern United States through early April, helping to ease the drought but also bringing the hazard of severe weather.

“An active pattern has set up across the South, and it will continue as we head into early April,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel said.

Systems originating from the Pacific Ocean will dive southward over the Plains and draw deep moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward.

Stormy pattern Eastern US

On average, this will occur every two to three days through the first week of April. Dry and sunny conditions will follow each storm.

The first storm will threaten the region with severe thunderstorms during Thursday and Friday. A second storm will emerge Sunday to Tuesday, with a third storm anticipated late next week.

“The good news of rain will also come with the not-so-good news of severe weather,” Samuhel said.

Warm, unstable air will build ahead of each storm which will fuel the thunderstorms capable of producing torrential downpours, large hail, damaging winds gusts to 70 mph and tornadoes.

Thu severe

“The system early next week will cross farther south than storms in recent weeks,” Samuhel said.

The storm’s proximity to the Gulf will generate intense rain and thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi Valley and central Gulf Coast.

Rainfall from each round of stormy weather will generally total around 1 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts. Cumulative rainfall could exceed 6 inches through next week.

The rain will help to water dry crops, fill low streams and lakes and lower the threat of brush fires.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to extreme drought conditions are plaguing northwestern Mississippi through northern and central Alabama, northern Georgia and the southern Appalachians.

Despite the prolonged dryness, the rain can come down quickly enough to cause street, flash and urban flooding. This threat will be greatest in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Cities that can anticipate multiple days of heavy rain and thunderstorms include New Orleans; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi; Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama; and Atlanta.

Motorists will face slower travel and a heightened risk of hydroplaning at highway speeds with each bout of stormy weather. Residents should monitor severe weather bulletins as each storm approaches.

The dry breaks between storms will allow swollen streams and rivers to recede, rainfall to be absorbed into the dry ground and any severe weather cleanup operations to begin.

Rainfall will lift northward with each storm and help to bring additional drought relief to the I-95 corridor in the Northeast, where a moderate to severe drought is occurring.