Severe storms threaten flooding, tornadoes in Texas and Louisiana

Jake Baker  ·  March 29, 2018  ·  U.S. News, Weather

By Renee Duff

A slow-moving system will unleash flooding downpours and locally severe thunderstorms across the south-central United States into Thursday.

The system will tap into plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it crawls south and east through midweek.

A line of severe thunderstorms tracked across northern Louisiana on Wednesday evening, bringing down trees and leading to some property damage.

Heavy downpours also lead to flooding around the Texas A&M campus in College, Station, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon.

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Downpours that first delivered a thorough soaking to areas from St. Louis to Dallas on Tuesday night will expand into the corridor from Brownsville and Laredo, Texas to Louisville, Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia, spanning Wednesday and Thursday.

A few locations may reach or surpass their normal monthly rainfall for March in the span of a few days, with the hardest-hit areas picking up 4-8 inches of total rainfall.

"Areas that have recurrent [downpours] will be at risk for flash flooding, small stream flooding and potential new river flooding through Thursday," said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Those who live near small creeks or streams or in low-lying and flood-prone areas should be wary of rising water levels and be ready to evacuate if necessary.

Reduced visibility due to the intense rainfall and blowing spray from vehicles may slow motorists on stretches of interstates 10, 20, 22 30, 35, 40, 49 55, 59 and 65.

Motorists driving along secondary roadways could encounter high water. If this occurs, do not attempt to drive through the floodwaters. Instead, turn around and find an alternate route.

Airline passengers at the major hubs in the region, including Dallas, New Orleans and Nashville, may face lengthier travel times.

In addition to the flood threat, residents along the western and central Gulf Coast states will also need to be on alert for damaging thunderstorms.

"There will be several chances for severe weather across the southern U.S. this week," said AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Rich Putnam.

On Tuesday night and into Wednesday, thunderstorms pummeled southern Texas with strong wind gusts, drenching rainfall and golf ball-sized hail. There were multiple incidents of flooding in the San Antonio and Austin areas.

Into Wednesday night, the threat for severe weather will expand farther to the south and east. Cities at risk for violent storms include Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana.

Putnam anticipates that there will be enough of the right ingredients in place from southeastern Texas through Louisiana for storms to produce wind damage and hail. Isolated tornadoes are likely.

The system will pick up speed as it moves into the Southeast at late week, possibly unleashing one or two more rounds of severe weather along the Gulf Coast states before sweeping off the East Coast.

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Texas, Louisiana, East Coast, Damaging Storms, Heavy Rain, Flooding, Tornados

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