Gulf Coast and Southeast Under the Gun for a Wet Few Days

Posted: November 29, 2023 9:55 am

Two major storm systems are setting up to unleash across a large area of the southern U.S. in the next few days, bringing much-needed precipitation but also ushering in the threat of severe thunderstorms. Here is the latest on this developing forecast.

Pair of Storms to Bring Meaningful Moisture to Gulf Coast and Southeast

The storm systems are forecast to sweep across an area from the Gulf Coast to up into the Southeast. The moisture will also pair with warmer temperatures, a change from the unseasonably cool weather that this part of the U.S. saw to start the week.

The moisture is currently coming together over the western and central portions of the Gulf of Mexico. A system that is predicted to come in from the Desert Southwest will use its energy to pull the rain up into the Gulf Coast region.

The rain will first fire up on Thursday across central Texas before moving up through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Eventually, this moisture will also creep into portions of West Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Residents can expect a general 1 – 2 inches of rain to fall in the area of the lower Mississippi Valley. Localized pockets of 2 – 4 inches of rain are possible in the northeastern corner of Texas, western portions of Louisiana, and southwestern Arkansas.

This weather maker will likely deliver significant relief for portions of the South still under the designation of exceptional drought as defined by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Flash flooding will be a slight concern for areas that see thunderstorms ignite.

While forecasters do not expect a widespread outbreak of severe storms, you cannot rule out thunderstorms popping up on Thursday in Texas, western Mississippi, southern Arkansas, and the southeastern edge of Oklahoma. The severe weather risks include strong winds and the threat of an isolated tornado or two.

This same system will usher in the chance of a wintry mix to the Northeast beginning Friday and lasting through early Saturday. Residents in this corner of the nation will want to check their local forecast.

Second Storm System Waiting in the Wings

The southern tier of the U.S. will see a second storm system move through later in the weekend. This storm will get its start in the Gulf of Mexico, meaning that it will have plenty of moisture to work with. A greater portion of the Southeast can expect to see meaningful moisture out of this weekend storm.

The primary impact zone will expand from Louisiana and down into northern Florida as well as far north as Virginia. Several inches of rain are in the forecast for an area from southeastern Louisiana and up through North Carolina.

There is also the good possibility that the moisture from the second system will move in as the rain from the initial system is still hanging around. This overlap could result in rainfall totals landing between 4 and 8 inches in the hardest hit parts of the region.

While this forecast is a bummer for those with outdoor plans over the next few days, it is good news for an area that could use the rain. Cities such as New Orleans and Jackson are trending well below the historical average of rainfall over the last few months. The combination of these two storm systems should provide relief from the drought in this region.

The middle sections of the Mississippi River Valley will welcome any rain that it can get. The Mississippi River has been hovering near record low levels since late in the summer thanks to the ongoing drought.

Looking ahead, forecasters are predicting that yet another storm system could impact the southern U.S. by next week. Stay tuned to see how that weather pattern develops in the coming days.

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