By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 22,2017, 2:44:19PM,EDT
Rounds of flooding downpours and severe thunderstorms will take aim at the south-central United States early this week, endangering residents and property.
The unsettled weather from this weekend from the central Gulf Coast to central Texas will worsen into Monday night.
Flooding downpours will remain the main concern as the thunderstorms and soaking rain spread eastward across southeastern Texas to southern Mississippi early this week.
However, there can still be isolated damaging wind gusts and a tornado.
“Even though Houston has had a relatively dry month with only around 0.50 of an inch so far in May [prior to Sunday], things will turn around early this week,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Baker said.
Baker expects a general 2-4 inches of rain to soak the Houston area through Monday night.
“The rain will fall heavily at times and can cause localized flooding across the region,” Baker said.
Similar rainfall totals are expected from central Texas to Alabama and northern Georgia, where the soaking rain will spread into Monday night. There can be localized amounts to 6 inches.
Other cities in the path of the potentially flooding rain include Beaumont, Texas; Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Areas that are low-lying, poor drainage or along small streams will be most susceptible to flooding. Where recent downpours have already left the ground saturated, flooding may quickly ensue.
In the area from south-central Virginia to northeastern Georgia the greatest risk will be for flash and urban flooding.
More than 8 inches of rain inundated Montgomery, Alabama, on Saturday and Saturday night, shattering the day's previously daily rainfall record of 2.00 inches from 1980.
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Rises are also expected on larger rivers. That is especially true in the lower Mississippi Valley, where moderate flooding is ongoing along the Mississippi River. The upcoming heavy rain may prolong major river flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week.
Even in the absence of flooding, heavy rain will create slower travel and disrupt outdoor plans. Airline passengers should prepare for flight delays.
While rain soaks the Gulf Coast, another round of severe weather will take aim at the southern High Plains early this week.
Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, will be among the communities at risk for severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and flooding downpours Monday afternoon and evening. Once again, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.
These violent thunderstorms will threaten some areas still cleaning up the damage from last week’s rounds of devastating severe weather.
The greatest threat for locally damaging storms will shift toward the lower Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday.
If thunderstorms reach or re-ignite over the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, the downpours could aggravate the flood risk before drier weather finally sweeps in at midweek.