Central US to be target of large storm with flooding rain, severe weather late this week.

  • Meteorologist

    A large storm will affect the flood-weary central United States and produce heavy rain and thunderstorms with localized severe weather.

    While a storm of this magnitude is fairly typical of the spring, it will cause a new round of problems for residents and travelers in the region.

    Rain on the saturated ground to stir more flooding problems

    Enough rain may fall with the storm from the central Plains to part of the Midwest to aggravate the flooding situation.

    A large swath of 1-3 inches of rain is likely to fall from eastern Nebraska and Kansas to northern Ohio and southern Michigan with the storm from Friday to Saturday. Locally higher amounts to 4 inches are likely. "The bulk of the rain will fall south of the area where deep snow remains on the ground over the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

    However, in these northern areas, flooding is unavoidable even with a gradual thaw and absence of heavy rain over the next several weeks.

    Major flooding has begun along the Minnesota, Big Sioux, and northern Mississippi rivers this week and is expected to continue into April. In addition, major flooding is forecast along the Red River of the North from April to May. While this type of storm would not typically do more than cause urban-style flooding problems, given its large size and location over saturated ground, it will likely agitate the river flooding at least in a small way.

    Widespread river flooding has already been set into motion by prior storms, including the bomb cyclone from the middle of March and deep snow cover from the winter. Because of the storm late this week, water levels are likely to fluctuate in the short term along small streams and several days to a week or more later downstream on the larger rivers.

    While these fluctuations may be relatively minor and on the order of several feet along the major rivers, they are likely to prolong the overall flooding disaster that continues to unfold.

    Additional typical spring storms that trek through the region are likely to do the same.

    Snow to fall on storm's cold side

    Like many spring storms, this one will have its wintry side.

    A general snowfall of a few inches is forecast. However, local amounts close to a foot will be possible over the various ranges and foothills. Thunderstorms to erupt may become severe in storm's warm sector

    Whenever large storms sweep from the Rockies to the Midwest, like the upcoming storm late this week, there is the potential for severe weather.

    While there may not always be a major severe weather outbreak with every such storm, there are risks to lives and property, even on a small scale.

        By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

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