AccuWeather Meteorologists Alert Southern Plains for Flooding Rain

Aug. 21 (UPI) — Much of the Southern Plains, including Texas and Oklahoma, have suffered extreme drought conditions this summer. AccuWeather forecasters say a change in weather pattern starting Sunday could bring rain to parched areas but could also pose a risk of flooding.

The Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex is expected to be at the crossroads of heavy downpours this week, among many other areas.

Since June 5, Dallas-Love Field Airport has recorded just 0.20 inches of rainfall. All of this rain came on or after August 10, leaving the city with no measurable rainfall for more than two months. This tiny amount of rainfall is only 3% of the average 6.03 inches of rain the city normally receives during this time.

As the new week begins, the threat of heavier rains will shift to the southern United States.

“Southward dipping of the jet stream over the central US will help direct moisture into parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff. Unlike the past few days and weeks, this moisture will be plentiful and will come from multiple sources.

After battering the Southwest with repeated bouts of showers and thunderstorms, moisture from the North American monsoon will drift to the southern plains. Meanwhile, a tropical system will rise north out of the Gulf of Mexico and help allow even heavier rains.

While the system never became a tropical storm like it once could, and the impact in south Texas has been limited, the flooding problems it could bring to Oklahoma and Texas will remain unchanged as it lifts north.

The heaviest and most widespread rains are expected to occur along the Red River to the Interstate 20 corridor through Monday, before shifting south and east towards the I-10 corridor on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The rain rounds through mid-week are expected to bring widespread amounts of 2 to 4 inches from northwest Texas into central Mississippi,” Duff said.

Areas along the Oklahoma-Texas border and in north Texas are likely to receive even more precipitation, on the order of 4 to 8 inches, with a possible AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 14 inches.

Low-lying and poorly drained areas will likely be the first to flood after a heavy downpour. However, ongoing drought across the region means major flooding is a possibility as water may be slow to soak the ground.

Over 60% of the state of Texas is experiencing an extreme or exceptional drought, while over 85% is experiencing at least one severe drought, according to the latest update from the US Drought Monitor.

The image above shows the state of drought in the southern United States according to the August 18 update to the US Drought Monitor.

Now, 90% of Oklahoma is suffering from severe or worse drought conditions.

Cities like Oklahoma City and San Antonio will be on the brink of the most sustained rains. Both have also had a dry summer and are experiencing extreme or extraordinary drought conditions. Both cities have had less than a third of an inch of rainfall so far in August.

The rains expected to hit these areas in the coming week will help contain the ongoing drought in the long term. However, the soil that is too dry will have difficulty absorbing the rain in the short term, leading to more widespread flooding.

Rapidly rising water could cover or even wash out roads and make trails impassable, experts say. Drivers traveling at high speeds should also take care to avoid aquaplaning on standing water.

“To stay safe, residents should have a way, like the AccuWeather app, to get the latest clocks and alerts in their area,” Duff said.

About Mike Crayton

Check Also

5 Things to Know About Ryan Hanrahan, NBC CT Meteorologist

Watching the storm from his West Hartford studio, Hanrahan wasn’t sure when the biggest storm …