Halloween storm to raise flood, severe storm risk from Deep South to Ohio Valley

Soaking rain, heavy downpours and violent thunderstorms will threaten both lives and property across a large portion of the United States this week, just in time for Halloween parties and the trick-or-treating tradition.

Residents from the Deep South to the Ohio Valley should be vigilant and remain on alert for flash flooding and sudden downpours during the middle of the week.

"For those in eastern Texas and western Louisiana, Halloween evening may be accompanied by some spooky weather in the form of strong-to-severe storms," AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Joseph Bauer said.

Storms are forecast to erupt in eastern Texas and far southwestern Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon before spreading into southeastern Texas and western Louisiana during the evening.

The storms should merge into a line Wednesday evening and impact cities such as Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, Louisiana, later Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

static severe noon 10/30
static severe noon 10/30

"Damaging wind gusts to 65 mph, hail and localized flash flooding will be the primary concerns," Bauer said. "There will also be enough energy and spin present in the atmosphere to trigger a few tornadoes."

The high wind gusts can lead to downed trees and power lines, as well as widespread power outages and home/property damage.

Large hail will not only threaten to damage unprotected vehicles, plants and crops, but can also create a life-threatening situation for trick-or-treaters exposed to the full wrath of Mother Nature.

In addition, frequent lightning produced by the storms will add to the dangers for those venturing outdoors.

Seek shelter inside a building or in an enclosed vehicle as soon as thunder is heard or lightning is seen.

At the very least, waterproof shoes, umbrellas or a clear plastic poncho will likely be needed for any ghosts and goblins roaming the neighborhoods in Dallas and Houston; Shreveport, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; Paducah and Lexington, Kentucky; and Cincinnati.

halloween weather noon 10/20
halloween weather noon 10/20

Roadways and sidewalks may be extra slick where the rain dampens fallen leaves.

The stormy conditions may force some communities to reschedule or cancel Halloween festivities.

Although areas farther north from Arkansas to parts of the Ohio Valley will not have to face severe storms, persistent downpours and steady, heavy rain will increase the flash flood threat into Thursday.

There can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 6 inches where rain falls on both Wednesday and Thursday, generally from portions of Arkansas to western Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Indiana and Ohio.

Flood Threat 4 am Tue Static
Flood Threat 4 am Tue Static

While part of this corridor has received below-normal rainfall so far in October, too much rain can fall too quickly and cause flooding issues.

“This much rainfall, despite how dry it has been in recent weeks, can lead to flash flooding when it occurs in such a short amount of time,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

Not only can the heavy rainfall lead to urban and small stream flooding, but it can also cause major rivers to overflow their banks. Anybody in the midweek threat area living along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries should be ready to evacuate and move to higher ground if floodwaters threaten.

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"Motorists traveling on portions of interstates 10, 20, 30, 40, 64 and 70 that lie within the threat zone this week should be prepared for rapidly falling roadway visibility and seek an alternate route if water covers the roadway ahead," AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott warned.

It is impossible to judge how deep any water across a roadway is just by using eyesight alone, and it only takes 2 feet of moving water to sweep away a moving vehicle.

Download the free AccuWeather app to know exactly when rain and storms will arrive and end in your community.

Much cooler and drier air will move in across the South this weekend as the storm departs, according to Rathbun.

Mild air will be pumped northward ahead of the storm system, making for a rather comfortable and ideal Halloween in the Northeast.