Large portion of central U.S. at risk for severe thunderstorms, flooding
A persistent storm track will cause rounds of rain and severe thunderstorms with an elevated risk of flooding to extend from the southern Plains to the Midwest this week.
The setup will allow storm systems to travel from southwest to northeast in this swath. Some areas may be hit on a daily basis with potent thunderstorms and torrential downpours.
Severe thunderstorm risk
Episodes of severe thunderstorms will extend from Texas to as far as Ohio and western Pennsylvania this week.
Severe thunderstorms in Ohio, central and eastern Indiana, northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania are likely to be isolated during Monday afternoon and evening.
Meanwhile, a greater concentration of severe thunderstorms is likely from northwestern Texas to central Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas late Monday to Monday night with the greatest threat being from high winds. However, a few incidents of tornadoes and large hail cannot be ruled out.
While winds can be strong enough to break tree limbs, anywhere the ground is saturated from ongoing rain, the risk of poorly rooted trees being knocked over will be much higher.
From Tuesday afternoon to Tuesday night, the greatest risk of severe thunderstorms is forecast to extend along an approximate 1,000-mile-long swath from central Texas to western Illinois.
Once again damaging winds will be a fairly widespread concern with incidents of large hail and a few isolated tornadoes from late Tuesday on.
On Wednesday, the severe weather threat is likely to extend from central Texas once again to south-central and southeastern Kansas as well as central Missouri.
Intertwined in the areas of severe thunderstorms, as well as over an even more extensive swath is the likelihood of flooding.
Cities that can experience both severe thunderstorms and problems related to flooding rainfall include St. Louis, Springfield and Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas and Abilene, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; and Fort Smith and Fayetteville, Arkansas.
"Storms throughout this time period will be slow moving and capable of high rainfall rates over 2 inches per hour at times and can easily trigger flash flooding," according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Kayla St. Germain.
"Overall, the heaviest rainfall through the period is likely to extend from northern Texas to the eastern parts of Oklahoma and Kansas to the western parts of Arkansas and Missouri," St. Germain said.
Enough rain to trigger flooding is also anticipated farther to the northeast and toward the Great Lakes region.
From Tuesday through Wednesday alone, an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches is likely over portions of the central and southern Plains.
However, through Thursday, a few parts of this region may receive double-digit rainfall amounts.
Flooding is likely to range from that of urban and small streams to even along some of the rivers in the region.
Motorists should anticipate some road closures in low-lying areas along the small streams and tributary rivers.
At the very least, periods of torrential downpours will lead to slow travel and excess water on the roads along portions of Interstate 20, I-35, I-40, I-44, I-70, I-80 and I-90.
The smaller rivers will tend to react and have significant fluctuations this week, including along the Missouri, Arkansas, Trinity and Red River of the South.
As the water flows into progressively larger streams, it is likely to have a more long-term effect on the middle and lower portion of the Mississippi River.
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