By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 19,2017, 2:44:21PM,EDT
Repeating downpours will raise the risk of urban and flash flooding across the central United States through the weekend.
The persistent rain is falling over areas that have been inundated with severe weather, including tornadoes, over the past week.
Any additional rainfall threatens to delay cleanup operations, and potentially cause new setbacks from flooding.
Short-term commuters and long-term travelers will need to remain wary of ponding of water on roads, slower-than-normal travel times and the potential for flooded and closed secondary roads.
Into Saturday morning, the heaviest downpours will encompass an area from Iowa to north-central Texas. Rainfall can total 1 to 3 inches along this corridor, on top of the widespread 1 to 3 inches that has already fallen this week.
During the same time, isolated downpours can trigger incidents of flash flooding from parts of the Ohio Valley to a portion of the southern Appalachians and the Piedmont areas of North Carolina.
During the day Saturday and into Saturday night, the concentrated area of soaking rain will press eastward and stretch from the mid-Mississippi Valley to south-central Texas.
The water will run off the saturated soil and potentially bring rises to small streams and rivers. However, a repeat of the flooding disaster from late April is not expected.
Reed Timmer captures 'revolutionary' 360-degree video from inside violent Elk City, Oklahoma, tornado
Timelapse shows Texas tornado forming
Dozens of tornadoes rip through the heartland, kill at least 2
Downpours will not be the lone danger in the region. Severe thunderstorms will once again threaten the central Plains to end the week, before the danger shifts eastward and stretches from Illinois and Indiana to Arkansas at the start of the weekend.
As much-needed drying commences over the Plains on Sunday, locations toward the Gulf Coast will become the focal point of rounds of heavy rain into early next week.
“As the storms settle slowly southward in Texas, the risk of flash and urban flooding will increase from the Big Bend area to some of the northeastern counties of the state,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Farther to the east, portions of southern Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and western Alabama are also in line for the soaking storms. A widespread 1 to 3 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, can fall along this swath from the weekend into Tuesday.
“The additional rainfall could be enough to slow the rate of recession for a few days on some of the largest rivers in the region, including the Mississippi and White rivers,” Sosnowski said.
Most river levels along the middle part of the Mississippi Valley have fallen to minor flood stage following record flooding from heavy rain in late April.
Across the lower Mississippi Valley, a crest at moderate flood stage will occur along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Mississippi, by Monday. The Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will crest at major flood stage, but not until the end of next week.