A pair of approaching storms is set to deliver much-needed precipitation from the Gulf Coast towards the Interstate 40 corridor, spanning the south-central and southeastern United States over the upcoming weekend. However, meteorologists caution that one storm also bears the potential for severe weather outbreaks.
The incoming storms will usher in warmer conditions on the heels of a sharp cold snap earlier this week. Since Sunday, rain has been gathering above the western and central Gulf of Mexico. An incoming system from the Southwest will pull these Gulf moisture bands northward, drenching Gulf Coast states with clouds and milder weather.
On Friday, expect rain expansion from east-central Texas to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas will also receive a soaking.
A broad 1-2 inch rain influx should douse the lower Mississippi Valley and Delta, with localized 2-4 inch potential, even 6 inches possible, for northeastern Texas, western Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas. This zone carries an enhanced flood risk.
While drought-ravaged areas will welcome the moisture, residents must remain alert to isolated tornado or wind damage threats. The Storm Prediction Center has hoisted a Level 2 out of 5 risk for these hazards over the Lower Mississippi Valley on Friday.
Further east, a Level 1 risk zone encompasses the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. After this initial push of turbulent weather, the pattern should settle into steadier rain.
The second system arrives this weekend, promising additional showers and thunderstorms, especially from Texas to Georgia. While rainfall totals do not appear excessive, quick downpours could spur isolated flash flooding.
The solace in these southern areas requires consecutive soakings to begin reversing long-term dryness. More unsettled weather next week could maintain this hopeful trend.