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Worst of central US flood risk to focus on Texas into Monday

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
September 25, 2016


Flooding downpours will target the central United States into Monday with the highest risk for flooding focusing on western Texas.

Drenching rain and thunderstorms will continue to crawl across the central U.S. into Monday.

The wet weather will make enough eastward progress over the Midwest to limit flooding issues to localized problems. An isolated thunderstorm with damaging winds also cannot be ruled out.

The localized flooding is most likely to occur where there are repeated downpours in a 6- to 12-hour period and/or the ground remains saturated from heavy rain earlier in the week.

"Portions of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin received more than 6 inches of rain during the middle days of the week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski reported. "The rain pushed some streams and rivers out of their banks."

Localized downpours could renew flooding problems in this area into Sunday afternoon.

More persistent downpours have led to a greater risk of flooding across the southern Plains into Monday, especially in western Texas.

Bouts of heavy rain and thunderstorms will soak western Texas into central Oklahoma this weekend. Oklahoma will dry out Sunday afternoon into Monday.

"Flooding concerns farther south will continue through at least Monday as heavy rain persists," AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos said.

Downpours will also expand into southeastern New Mexico from the end of the weekend into Monday. While there can be locally drenching showers and thunderstorms, the flood risk is expected to remain west of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

"The main area of concern for flash flooding will be across the Big Bend region [of Texas] extending into the Red River Valley, where 4-8 inches of rainfall will occur," Avalos said.

"Some areas could see locally up to 12 inches of rain, especially in the southern part of that corridor."

Flooding will threaten Abilene, Texas, and Oklahoma City, but the threat will be highest in and around Midland, Odessa, Fort Stockton and Del Rio, Texas.

The danger will steadily increase as each round of downpours occurs and saturates the ground.

Residents should prepare for possible evacuations and road closures, including on stretches of interstates 10 and 20.

Remember to never drive through a flooded road; doing so could not only endanger yourself, but also other occupants and would-be rescuers.

Even if flooding does not occur, the downpours will create hazards for motorists by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds.

Streams and rivers threaten to overflow and further inundate neighboring land and communities.

The persistent downpours will also cause the recent summer warmth to get significantly knocked down.

Temperatures across western Texas and neighboring southeastern New Mexico will struggle to climb out of the 50s or lower 60s on Monday.

Midland, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico, have not recorded a high that low since the middle of May. Highs in the upper 80s and lower 90s dominated this past week.

Winds gusting between 25 and 40 mph will usher the cooler air in, creating even lower AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures. It may feel to residents that temperatures are stuck in the 40s on Monday, making the day even more miserable to those who have to deal with flooding problems or other outdoor engagements.

The winds could be strong enough to cause localized damage farther west in El Paso, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Drier and warmer weather will gradually return Tuesday into Wednesday.