Heavy rain — as much as four inches on top of what has already fallen — is in the forecast for parts of the Central United States from the Ohio River to Lower Mississippi valleys through at least Saturday night. Given this is exactly where torrential rain occurred a few days ago, the risk of flash flooding is high.
The National Weather Service is calling for a significant flash flood even through Saturday night from northeast Texas to western Pennsylvania.
“People in the risk areas should be prepared to encounter flooding,” the Weather Service said in an infographic on the event. “NEVER drive through flooded roads. Over half of flood-related drownings are due to a vehicle being driven into flood waters.”
Over the past week, as much as 10 inches of rain fell across parts of northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Floodwaters were already rising Friday in Arkansas, where the National Weather Service in Little Rock said the “situation could become dangerous/life-threatening, with water possibly getting into some homes/businesses.”
This winter is Little Rock’s third-wettest since 1975. Much of that rain has fallen in the past couple of weeks.
Through the weekend, a stalled front will hang out across the Central United States from Pennsylvania to Texas. Winds from the south push extremely moist air north, where it will collide with this front to produce several rounds of heavy rainfall through at least Saturday night.
On Friday, the Weather Service was predicting up to four inches of additional rainfall through Sunday evening for the Ohio River Valley. More than two inches of additional rain could fall in parts of Arkansas, as well. Flood watches are in effect continuously from North Texas to Pennsylvania.
Thunderstorms could also be severe Saturday night. The Storm Prediction Center issued an enhanced risk of severe storms for Saturday, which means numerous storms are possible, and they could be persistent and widespread.