As the drought worsens across much of the Central and Eastern US, some good news is in the forecast. Rain is finally ahead midweek to help the drought. We’re going to be tracking two pieces of energy that will come together: one from the northern stream, and one from the south. These two disturbances will aid in a widespread, moderate to potentially heavy rain across portions of the East. This storm will also be responsible for snow from the Midwest into the Northeast. Stay tuned for an article on that snowstorm.
It all starts this Tuesday with showers and thunderstorms breaking out in the afternoon across portions of the Southern Plains and toward the Gulf Coast and Southeast. This area spans from eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma through northern Georgia and the southern Appalachian Mountains. There is even the chance for a glaze of freezing rain in southeastern Oklahoma, depending on whether temperatures drop to the freezing mark. There is also the concern for severe weather Tuesday afternoon and evening in the ArkLaTex region due to moderate instability and moisture. CAPE values, which stands for Convection Available Potential Energy, will be between 500 and 1800 J/kg. That indicates a low to moderate amount of instability in the atmosphere, which is needed for strong thunderstorms. There will also be a good deal of moist air streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico, which is a process that occurs typically in the spring season. Dew points will be in the 60s and 70s, which translates to a moist to oppressive air mass.
As we get into Tuesday night and our storm system organizes, the rain will become more widespread. A large batch of rain with embedded thunderstorms will span from the central Appalachians in West Virginia southward through western Virginia, the Carolinas, and northern Georgia. This rain will then stretch back west to eastern Texas and the Mid-Mississippi Valley, where the rain may actually become freezing rain due to colder air moving in at the surface. Some of these embedded thunderstorms may contain wind gusts as high as 50 mph.
Then on Wednesday, as the storm tracks north and east, followed by the moisture and the rain. The threat for severe weather should diminish on Wednesday, although a spotty strong storm cannot be ruled out in the Southeast. Otherwise, rain with embedded thunder will affect much of the Mid-Atlantic region, the western Carolinas, and down into the inland areas of the Gulf Coast states. Even the ArkLaTex region and southern and eastern Texas will continue to experience rain showers throughout the day Wednesday as a second piece of energy ejects into the Southern Plains from the Southwest US. At least this rain is needed due to the worsening drought. By Wednesday evening, portions of the Southeast and Texas will remain wet due to this second piece of energy not associated with the main storm we’re tracking. Meanwhile to the north, much of the East Coast will dry out while the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. up through Boston experience the rain coming to an end by early Thursday morning. We also want to note how in southern New England, while the precipitation ends as rain, this will also be a snow event with snow falling during at least the morning hours of Wednesday.
On Thursday, the East Coast, including the Northeast, will dry out while the Gulf Coast from Louisiana through the Carolina coast continue to experience light to moderate rain showers. It’s not until Thursday night when that line of showers associated with this second disturbance pushes south and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Ponding and localized flooding is a possibility, especially in the ArkLaTex region and the Mid-Mississippi Valley Tuesday into Tuesday night. That’s where up to four inches of rain may fall, if not more in very localized areas.