Dallas, Houston and Austin brace for life-threatening flooding

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Much Needed Rain Hits Texas

By ALEX SOSNOWSKI, AccuWeather

A slow-moving band of torrential rain will quickly erase dry and drought conditions and will threaten lives and property by way of major flooding in some communities in the South Central states.

People in the South Central states should monitor the weather situation for flooding through this weekend and into early next week, regardless of how dry the landscape may be right now. The hard, dry ground will cause a significant amount of the rain to run off.

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Flooding was highly localized in portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado through Thursday. As the rain diminishes in these states through Friday, it will ramp up moving into more humid areas farther to the east, which will also be at the receiving end of a fire hose of tropical moisture.

Rainfall on the order of 4-8 inches will crawl eastward through portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana. There is the potential for some communities to be hit with a foot of rain through Sunday. Much of the rain may fall in a single day or perhaps in a matter of hours.

The storm system produced numerous incidents of flash flooding in western Texas Thursday morning.

The flooding will become far-reaching and affect the major cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Brownsville, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Shreveport and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

In portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, the situation could turn out similar to flooding this past May in the same areas. However, it is less possible the situation may become as extreme as the South Carolina flooding from early October.

Areas that are likely to first experience flash flooding will be low water crossings, small streams and mainly secondary roads.

As the rain progresses slowly to the east where the moisture supply will be greater, the risk of flooding will expand to urban areas, major highways and larger rivers on Friday, during the weekend and into early next week.

In some communities, the flooding could become severe enough to force evacuations.

The main cause of the heavy rain and the flood risk will be tropical moisture from multiple sources converging on the South Central states.

The Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific Ocean will take turns at pumping tropical downpours northward into the region. During the weekend, both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean may send in downpours at the same time.

Patricia will approach as a tropical rainstorm this weekend.

Another storm may form near the Texas coast and join the deluge later this weekend into early next week.

There is a chance that is could develop tropically, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. Regardless of tropical development or not, it's going to prolong the rainfall along the Texas coast and into Louisiana.

"We saw what happened in the spring time and it could certainly be a repeat performance," Kottlowski said.

Drenching rainfall is likely to shift eastward and northward over the lower Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys during the middle part of next week.

At the very least, travel disruptions are likely due to poor visibility and heavy rainfall. Lengthy airline delays are possible. Some roads may close. Motorists will need to reduce their speed to lower the risk of hydroplaning.

Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. Doing so puts not only you and your occupants at risk for drowning, but also your would-be rescuers.

The current could be strong enough to sweep your vehicle downstream into deeper water as 1-2 feet of water is enough to cause most vehicles to lose control. The water level may rapidly rise across roadways, which may be compromised below the surface.

Parents are urged to keep their kids away from stream banks and culverts. The bank of a stream can give way, and rapidly rising water can sweep away onlookers.

A look back at the South Carolina floods:

21 PHOTOS
South Carolina Flood Aftermath
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Dallas, Houston and Austin brace for life-threatening flooding
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 8: Lin McKenney sorts through belongings of a friend outside a flood damaged home in the Gills Creek area October 8, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and officials expect the costs of the catastrophic flooding to be in the billions. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 8: Volunteers help clean up a home in the Gills Creek area October 8, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and officials expect the costs of the catastrophic flooding to be in the billions. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 8: People arrive to begin cleanup on a flooded home October 8, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and officials expect the costs of the catastrophic flooding to be in the billions. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Frazer Eades, at left, Jay Ashby, center, and Scott Youngblood prepare the furniture store Augustus & Carolina with plastic and sandbags before high tide hits historic downtown Georgetown, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Gov. Nikki Haley held a press conference telling Georgetown residents to prepare for floodwaters. Many store owners in the historic district have prepared for repeated flooding over the course of a week. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
George Jenkins, at left, and Edward Williams, both with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, watch floodwaters caused by high tide begin to flood Dorchester Road again as their pump cannot keep up at Sawmill Branch Canal in Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Dorchester Road had just recently been opened to traffic but officials were still having problems with rising floodwaters. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Tombstones reflect in the floodwaters at Canaan United Methodist Church near Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. The church had a couple caskets come out of the ground at their cemetery beside the church during the flooding this week. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Harold Ancrum, a church member at Canaan United Methodist Church, checks on the floodwaters at the church near Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. The church had some caskets come out of the ground at their cemetery beside the church during the flooding this week. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
AP10ThingsToSee - A resident looks down Mayfield St. as water from the Ashley River floods the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Wendy Dixon weeps as she leaves her flood-damaged apartment Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. In the Columbia area, where some returned home to assess damage and clean up, the threat of more flooding still hadn't lifted. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Asiah Lewis comes home to her apartment in Summerton, S.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, three days after severe flooding forced her and other residents to evacuate. The apartment Lewis shares with her four children and her mother took on about six inches of water as record rainfall drenched South Carolina. Now her family is staying at a shelter with no guarantee how quickly the apartment will be cleaned and repaired. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
A pickup truck lies submerged in Gill Creek in the wake of flooding in Columbia, S.C. Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. Heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of the state. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Republican candidate for president Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, climbs over debris as he tours a neighborhood damaged by flooding, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Cathy Stinson, right, and Maria Mayer, left, help a friend remove belongings from her flooded home in Forest Acres in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. People in the city are beginning cleanup after being pummeled by a historic rainstorm. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Rankin Craig watches as friends and family remove belongings from her flooded home in Forest Acres in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. People in the city are beginning cleanup after being pummeled by a historic rainstorm. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A pickup truck is submerged by an auto parts store along E. Main Street in downtown Kingstree, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Black River flooded into parts of Kingstree. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Devon Farley, left, and Ben Cooper remove damaged flooring and wallboard from a flooded home in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. People in the city are beginning cleanup after being pummeled by a historic rainstorm. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Work crews use an pumps to lower water levels and stabilize a dam at a lake, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. Heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of the state. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
A man clears debris outside a flood damaged home in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Members of a FEMA search and rescue unit unload a search dog as they preper to check a a flooded area in Eastover, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Blair Moore saves what he can as he cleans up after his home was flooded Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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