Downpours to raise flooding concerns in parts of southern US

·3 min read

It has been a wet start to August across much of the Gulf Coast thanks to persistent showers and thunderstorms, and AccuWeather forecasters say that areas farther north will be drenched through the rest of the week, dampening outdoor activities and summer vacation plans for many.

Although heat and humidity typically cause afternoon thunderstorms during the summer, they have been more widespread and numerous than normal this week thanks to a stationary front over the region. This has also allowed thunderstorms to rumble through in both the morning and afternoon hours.

"An unusual dip in the jet stream pushed a cold front all the way to the Gulf Coast on Monday and it has since held fairly stationary and will remain so through the end of the week," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.

Through the remainder of the week, rainfall should be lighter along the central Gulf coast. The heaviest rain is likely to be largely offshore, but the one exception is forecast to be over the Florida Peninsula.

This front also bends northward along the coast of the Carolinas.

"The boundary will act as a point of development for showers and thunderstorms each of the next few afternoons," said Rinde.

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As an area of low pressure developed in eastern North Carolina Tuesday and moved northward, soaking rain fell and drenched the region. This low was a slow mover and heavy rain continued through Wednesday morning in the same locations.

Even after the low moved northward into New England Wednesday night and continues Thursday, yet another storm will develop on the front. This may cause more rain in eastern North Carolina at the end of the week and into the weekend.

Combined with the rain that has already fallen, an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches can still occur from total rain from this week into this weekend along the North Carolina coast and in parts of northern and central Florida.

As of Wednesday afternoon, over 5 inches of rain has already fallen in Hatteras and Cherry Point, North Carolina. Meanwhile, rainfall has topped 7 inches at Piney Island, North Carolina.

Both Crystal River and Cross City, Florida, have received at least 6 inches of rain from Monday to Wednesday with more on the way.

"The available moisture and the slow nature of the movement of the storms have made them favorable for drenching rainfall, which could cause localized flash flooding," cautioned Rinde.

This can certainly cause travel disruptions. Motorists are advised to slow down to avoid hydroplaning and turn on their headlights if rain is falling, even during the day.

One beneficial result of the rain is a break from the typical midsummer heat. Thanks to the clouds and rain, temperatures have generally topped out in the middle to upper 80s F. Most locations in the Southeast are normally in the lower to middle 90s in August.

The rainfall will persist through Friday and Saturday before the more typical spotty afternoon thunderstorms return. As the pattern changes, temperatures will also rise, with widespread 90s forecast by the end of the weekend and early next week.

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