Parts of the south-central United States hammered by severe weather and flash flooding this week will face long-term river flooding through the rest of May and even into June.
Southeastern Texas, including the Houston area, was hit hard by a couple rounds of flooding downpours, damaging winds and large hail this week. Ten inches of rain fell in Sugar Land, Texas, on Tuesday alone.
One more round of drenching thunderstorms and torrential downpours will target areas from eastern Texas to the lower Mississippi Valley through Saturday night before dry weather finally returns for a few days into early next week.
Even with the return of dry weather, the flooding on the Mississippi River will continue to get worse into the middle to latter portion of the month.
“River flooding may continue into June as floodwaters in rivers farther north travel southward and add onto the ongoing flooding along the lower Mississippi River,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.
Rathbun added that rain and thunderstorms may return by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and that any additional rainfall during the rest of May will only make the flooding situation worse.
Moderate to major flooding is already occurring along the entire length of the Mississippi River from the Iowa/Illinois border to its mouth.
In addition, flooding is taking place along the Missouri, Sabine, Wabash and White rivers, as well as other creeks and streams in the central and southern United States.
Although the water levels on these smaller streams and rivers should fall below flood stage by the early to middle part of next week, it will take at least one to two weeks for a crest to be reached along lower parts of the Mississippi River.
Minor flooding is expected to continue into late next week in Memphis, Tenn., before the water level finally drops below flood stage.
However, the Mississippi River inVicksburg, Miss., is not expected to reach its crest of 50 feet, or major flood stage, until May 20 or 21.
At Baton Rouge, La., it may take until the final week of May for the Mississippi to crest. Although not forecast to reach record flood stage, the river will remain above major flood stage into at least the end of May.
The water level on the river is expected to remain a few feet shy of overflowing the levees protecting New Orleans from flooding but can still pose a threat to ships and boats out on the river.
The flooding disaster will not only cause a huge monetary loss for homeowners, farmers and communities impacted by it, but will also threaten lives and may trigger many more water rescues through month’s end.
Anybody displaced by the floodwaters may not be able to return and begin cleanup and recovery efforts for at least a month until the river falls below flood stage.
Unfortunately, AccuWeather predicts more flooding events to occur into the upcoming summer.