By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 5,2017, 9:14:26AM,EDT
Heavy thunderstorms will congregate over the central Plains and threaten to flood a portion of the region through Sunday.The thunderstorms have the potential to unleash a large amount of rainfall in a short amount of time. Flash, urban and small stream flooding will threaten some communities.
This will be the first significant rainfall in several weeks for most locations across the central Plains.
The heavy rain and thunderstorms will ride along the wave of building muggy conditions to the south and dry, September-like air to the north and east.
As winds pump a large amount of moisture into the lower part of the atmosphere, a heavy rain threat will set up over the Plains, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.
“While the exact area of heavy rain in not etched in stone, it appears eastern Kansas into northern, central and southern Missouri are at the greatest risk for flooding,” he added.
Topeka, Kansas, and Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, Missouri, are included in this greatest risk for enhanced rainfall through Saturday night.
Depending on the exact path of the heaviest rainfall, portions of northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas may also be at risk for downpours and flooding.
Even if flooding does not ensue in these communities, disruptions to travel and outdoor plans are likely.
“By Sunday, the heavy rain and flooding risk may reach as far east as St. Louis,” Adamson said.
Rainfall could reach or exceed 4 inches in the core of heavy thunderstorms, triggering sudden rises on small streams and rivers.
“This could cause renewed rises on area rivers and streams in the Kansas City area where severe flooding occurred just over a week ago,” Adamson said.
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Stretches of interstates 35 and 70 could become treacherous for driving in the height of the downpours as visibility will be reduced to near zero. Secondary roads may be flooded and closed.
Locally severe thunderstorms could be embedded in the core of heavy thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail being the primary risks. It is not out of the question for an isolated tornado to spin up.
Even away from the bulk of the rainfall, spotty severe thunderstorms could light up a portion of western Nebraska, eastern Colorado and western and central Kansas on Saturday afternoon and night.
By early next week, the zone of soaking thunderstorms will sink south and east as drier air pushes into the central Plains. The core of stormy conditions will focus from Texas to the Carolinas and Northeast.