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Rain, Severe Storms Hit Lower Miss. Valley, Deep South

UPDATED 6 PM CST, January 10, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier

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Downpours and severe thunderstorms continue to trudge across the Lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South this afternoon. This isn`t good news, as the rain will be falling on top of more than a half-foot since Tuesday; serious and widespread flash flooding is likely.

A batch of heavy downpours and lines of powerful thunderstorms continue to inundate Mississippi and southeast Louisiana this afternoon. A potent upper-level low is responsible for directing this plethora of Gulf moisture northward into the Lower Mississippi Valley. The biggest concerns in the severe weather danger zone include an isolated tornado or two and strong wind gusts up to 70 mph. The most intense thunderstorms will also produce intense lightning, as well as triggering flash flooding. Thankfully, the severe weather threat will gradually relax this afternoon and evening with the low weakening and moving quickly away from the Gulf Coast tonight and Friday.

Widespread heavy rainfall has already inundated the Interstate 10 and 20 corridors of Mississippi and Louisiana today, with 4.71 inches having fallen in Vicksburg, Miss., since Midnight alone. In addition, 4.49 inches has fallen in Brookhaven, Miss., while New Iberia, La., has been drenched by 2.78 inches of rain so far today.

Unfortunately, the rain and thunderstorms won`t provide any breathers until late this afternoon, while crawling along the Interstate 10 corridor across the Gulf Coast. This will mean another 1 to 1.5 inches will be common across central and Mississippi. One to 3 inches will soak the Gulf Coast to southern Alabama.

Even worse, ongoing flooding will be exacerbated by excessive runoff due to rivers and streams flowing over bank level. Even urban flooding is expected, where saturated soil will overwhelm storm drains. Flash Flood Warnings and Flash Flood Watches are in place across Louisiana, extreme southeast Arkansas and western Mississippi, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, La., as well as Jackson and Columbus, Miss.

Thankfully, the painstakingly slow-moving low pressure will be pushed rapidly through the Mississippi Valley and into the western Great Lakes by another storm punching into the Mountain West tonight and Friday. Though the rainfall won`t be as impressive as the more than half-foot in the Deep South, 1 to 2 inches will pelt western Tennessee to Illinois.

Just like their southern counterparts, the rainfall will be much-needed, helping to ease a precipitation deficit dating back to 2012 of almost 10 inches in St. Louis, and more than a foot in Columbia, Mo., and Quincy, Ill.

A break, albeit a short one, in the active weather pattern will spread into the southern Plains and Deep South on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, a potent Western U.S. trough will give birth to a new low that will form along a cold front draped from the Great Lakes to south Texas. In turn, this will produce another burst of heavy downpours on Saturday night and Sunday for many of the same hard-hit areas as this week.

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