Flood threat to persist as downpours soak southern US early this week
The stormy pattern that has unleashed unusually heavy rainfall across the southern United States since the beginning of August will continue through early next week.
The wet pattern has already triggered flooding in the metro areas of New Orleans and Montgomery, Alabama. Many locations picked up their normal rainfall for all of August in the span of several days.
A stalled boundary separating dry air to the north and steamy air to the south will be the focal point for thunderstorm development through early week.
“While not every location will get hit with storms each day, the probability for this to happen will be much higher than what is typically seen in August,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.
The corridor from the lower Mississippi Valley through the Deep South and into the Carolinas will lie within the zone of repeating downpours.
Although there may be a decline in the stormy pattern for part of the weekend, thunderstorms will ramp up in coverage and intensity once again early next week.
Additional rainfall will struggle to soak into the saturated ground, leading to water rises on small creeks and streams.
Those who live in flood-prone areas should be prepared to evacuate at short notice.
“The excessive amounts of rain could prevent water from receding in flooded neighborhoods, hampering cleanup efforts for residents trying to recover from home and property damage,” Elliott said.
New Orleans will be particularly susceptible to more flooding due to a compromised water-pumping system. On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency for the city as a precautionary measure ahead of the additional rainfall.
"We are at risk if we have a massive rain event that comes up on us at the last minute and creates the kind of flooding we had recently," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a press conference. "The power we have available to us now will not be sufficient enough to pump the city out in the time needed."
Motorists with plans to travel along stretches of interstates 10, 20, 40, 55, 65, 75, 85 and 95, should prepare for times of drastically reduced visibility and slower-than-normal travel.
Secondary and low-lying roads may be impassable due to high water. If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and find a safer, alternate route.
Individuals along the southern Atlantic Seaboard will want to pay close attention to a brewing tropical system in the central Atlantic, which could further enhance rainfall and trigger rough seas early next week.