AccuWeather meteorologists say that the building warmth and widespread dry conditions expected across the Southern states early this week will not last for an extended period. A deviation in the weather pattern will spark rounds of rain from Texas to the Tennessee Valley, which can generate isolated cases of flash flooding in some vulnerable areas.
A zone of high pressure positioned over the Gulf Coast states will continue to influence the weather pattern across the South over the upcoming days. Into the middle of the week, this feature will move eastward, hovering over the Southeast by Wednesday and tracking offshore by Thursday. All the while, it will promote warm, dry and generally calm conditions across the region as it slowly tracks out to sea.
Temperatures across the Tennessee Valley and Southeast will soar between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above historical averages through midweek. Many cities like Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina; will be on track to either tie or break daily records on Wednesday.
Widespread afternoon temperatures will soar into the 70s and 80s F across many of the Southeastern states on Wednesday, with highs in the 70s spanning as far north as West Virginia and Ohio. Daytime highs in Nashville, Tennessee, are projected to break daily high-temperature records by a couple of degrees again Wednesday.
The warmth will even expand across parts of the Plains into the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast states through midweek, with the potential for records to be challenged in some locations in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
In addition to the warmth, ongoing wildfires in the South Central and Southeastern states will create areas of smoke. Early morning moisture and light winds can also lead to fog formation. When the two combine and produce a visibility of less than 10 feet, the condition is called super fog and can be extremely dangerous to motorists. A combination of fog and smoke may have been a key player in another deadly accident on area highways in southern Louisiana on Tuesday morning.
Areas of smoke and fog may again start the day near the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
Later this week, a branch of the jet stream will protrude to the south, ushering in a wet pattern over the Southern states. A storm will take shape over Texas on Thursday and pull in a generous amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
Rain is expected to begin across Texas late Wednesday night into Thursday and expand into portions of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee throughout the day as the front advances eastward.
General rainfall amounts can range from 1.00 to 1.50 inches from southern Texas to areas of Louisiana and Arkansas from Thursday to Friday, with localized amounts around 2 inches possible where the heaviest downpours set up.
Southern Texas into far western Louisiana will likely face the heaviest rainfall. In this zone, there is an increased risk for travel slowdowns and standing water in low-lying areas as well as urban and small-stream flooding.
Recent rainfall across Texas and northern Louisiana in October proved helpful for the drought situation; however, forecasters say that gauges still have a long way to go in order to recover fully from the dry conditions.
"Some much-needed rain [across the South Central states] last month has dwindled the drought a little bit," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno explained.
Portions of south-central Texas are currently facing levels of extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. In even worse shape, locations across southern and central Louisiana are characterized as being in exceptional drought -- the highest category -- at this time.
Gauge levels across the Mississippi River basin remain low at this time, although recent rainfall over the last few weeks has boosted water levels slightly. AccuWeather meteorologists caution that although this late-week rainfall event may provide another small bump to river gauge readings along the lower portion of the Mississippi River, it is not expected to improve conditions dramatically.
Moisture will push farther to the east and into parts of the southern Appalachians this weekend. However, the rain is likely to diminish to spotty showers from Georgia to the Carolinas and Virginia.
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