By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 24,2017, 10:40:35AM,EDT
As storms repeat over parts of the southern United States, the risk of flooding and travel disruptions will increase at the local level this week.Thunderstorms have the potential to be heavy and gusty in the southern U.S. during most days of the summer. Intense sunshine combined with plenty of moisture provide both the spark and the fuel for heavy-duty storms.
However, the setup much of this week will allow some storms to pack an extra strong punch, even by Southern standards.
"The combination of a front sagging southward and a pocket of cool air aloft will be the trigger for locally intense storms in the Deep South through midweek," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
"Light winds aloft will cause the storms to move very slowly, which will increase the risk of flash and urban flooding," Anderson said.
Motorists will need to be alert when on the highway as a seemingly harmless downpour could turn into a deluge that causes flooding and near-zero visibility.
In a few extreme cases, a couple of inches of rain may fall in a hour that overwhelms storm drains and leads to high water on streets and highways in some communities.
Never attempt to drive through flooded areas. The water may be much deeper than it appears and may be rising. A mere 1-2 feet of water can cause most vehicles to float.
Some of the storms may also produce highly-localized strong winds that can topple trees and cause property damage.
Through the middle of this week, the main threat for storms with flash flooding and damaging winds will focus to the south of Little Rock, Arkansas, Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta and southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. Near and north of these areas, thunderstorms are still possible, but they will tend to be very spotty in nature.
AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
Preparing for the costliest weather disaster in the US: How to stay safe before, during and after a flood
17 hikers caught in Arizona flash flood
The repeating nature of these storms has the potential to ruin more than one day at the beach. Some of the rain may fall during the midday and afternoon, as opposed to the typical setup with rain mainly restricted to the evening, overnight and early morning hours.
In coastal areas, this sort of setup can lead to isolated waterspouts, in addition to torrential rainfall and flash flooding.
Along portions of Interstate 10, I-95, U.S. Route 17 and the beaches, from 3 to 6 inches of rain may fall with locally higher amounts this week.
"While it will remain hot and humid over much of the South, the pattern may prevent temperatures from reaching the extreme levels we had in many areas this past weekend," Anderson said.
Highs in most areas will range from the upper 80s F to the middle 90s.
Late in the week, storms are likely to become more spotty in nature near the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts.
However, the risk of heavy, gusty storms will increase near and north of I-20 and I-85 as a push of cooler and less humid air advances across the central Plains and Midwest.