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Flooding: An underlying threat in the south?

23 Apr 2014, 3:52 pm

Just on Monday I wrote about Tallahassee’s historic rains so far this spring. Well, guess what: more rain is on the way – a lot more – and it’s going to bring some big problems for much of the southeast next week.

Yes, the big story with this upcoming severe weather threat is the potential for perhaps our biggest outbreak of the season so far (and the possibility of widespread strong tornadoes) through the southern plains and even into the deep south this weekend and into early next week. But the hidden issue next week, in addition to the severe weather, will be flooding concerns for the water-logged south.

As Aaron Shaffer mentioned in his WeatherNation blog earlier today, one of the big concerns with this upcoming system is that it’s going to be a slow-mover. By the time this vigorous low develops in eastern Colorado on Saturday to the time it FINALLY moves off the east coast on Wednesday (that’s 5 freaking days!), it’ll bring storms and big rains to areas in between for the better part of a week.

The southeast has already seen some impressive rain so far this spring. Let’s look at some rainfall totals compared to normal so far this month:

Atlanta: 5.37” (normal April total: 3.36”)

Baton Rouge, LA: 3.51” (normal April total: 4.26”)

Birmingham, AL: 6.61” (normal April total: 4.38”)

Jackson, MS: 10.42” (normal April total: 4.96”)

That’s big stuff, particularly in Jackson and Birmingham, where you’re already near or over double the amount of rain you typically see in a given April! Unfortunately there’s more rain to come, and it’s these exact areas that could be targeted.

Here’s a rough look at the kind of rains that we could be seeing in parts of the deep South from this storm system (image on the left is for Monday, the right is for Tuesday):

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Somebody in Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi is probably going to wind up with a 4-5 inch bull’s eye out of this storm, and wherever that is unfortunately is going to get some nasty flooding along with it. Factor in last month’s heavy rains and the ground is fully saturated around these parts, and we could see quite a bit of flooding next week. Residents near swollen rivers in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and north Florida need to be on high alert this week.

Flooding rains just a few weeks ago brought some big floods and earlier on to parts of the south. They could be repeated once again, if the current forecast holds. Stay tuned to WeatherNation for all the latest.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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