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Showers and Thunderstorms Soak East Coast

UPDATED 3:45 AM EDT, May 15, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal

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A spring soaker continues along the Eastern Seaboard, bringing heavy rain to the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor. The downpours will help alleviate drought conditions but the storm`s slow pace will bring an increasing threat for flooding.

WeatherBug Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer has the latest in this exclusive WeatherBug Severe Outlook.

The heavy rain is moving northward after slamming the southern Appalachians on Monday afternoon. Generally, one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain will fall from Virginia to New York this morning, spreading into New England over the course of the day. Locally, more than an inch of rain will soak the major cities along the East Coast. The heavy rain could also slow the morning commute, and make travel a bit difficult in New York, Hartford and Boston throughout the day.

The heavy rain is the result of the same low-pressure system that has been slowly drifting across the Deep South all weekend. It has since made the turn northeast, and will continue to pull Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic moisture onshore, feeding the low pressure system with plenty of moisture to be squeezed out by the mountains. It will finally exit into eastern Canada on Wednesday, and will allow drier air into the East.

The rain won`t be all bad news. Much of the East Coast is mired in an intensifying drought, with precipitation deficits approaching or exceeding 4 inches between Columbia, S.C., and Boston. This early-week soaker will provide much-needed drought relief from the Southeast to New England.

Where the steady rain comes to an end today, a bit of sunshine will help to destabilize the atmosphere enough to fire up some powerful thunderstorms. The storms will be strongest across the Carolina coastal plains, where the warm and moist air streaming northward around the departing low and cooler air pushing southeastward off the Appalachians will combine.

These parts of the Carolinas will see large hail and damaging winds, with cities such as Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and Columbia, S.C., likely to be impacted by these storms.

The storm has a history of drenching the southern Plains to Southeast and Tennessee Valley. Several WeatherBug Live Tracking Stations from Texas to Alabama measured between 4 and 8 inches of rain over the weekend. Danbury, N.C., most recently recorded 3.00 inches on Monday.

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