Southern US storm causes travel disruption due to rain, ‘snow in season’ : Post Missi

A storm tracking the southern US will bring heavy rains that will make travel difficult over Thanksgiving and could trigger urban flooding in Houston, Atlanta and New Orleans, AccuWeather meteorologists said. The same storm will also unleash months of snow in parts of New Mexico and western Texas over Thanksgiving weekend.

Rain will be the most prevalent factor hampering travel in the region. Thunderstorms are likely to be strong and gusty locally, but any severe weather is likely to be isolated. Most of the precipitation from the complex storm system will come in two main rounds for most areas with a break of dry weather that lasts about 24 hours in between.

A wide area with 2- to 4-inch rainfall awaits Saturday from central Texas to southern Mississippi and West Florida, with a 12-inch AccuWeather Local StormMax™ most likely to occur in southeast Texas and/or southwest Louisiana. Additional rainfall will continue to fall eastward in the latter part of the weekend with an overall 1-2-inch force in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

The first round of rain and thunderstorms as early as Thanksgiving moved from the lower Rio Grande River to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

This batch of rain is likely to bring local downpours and flooding to parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana, southern Arkansas and central Mississippi by early Friday. Drivers should be prepared to flood streets and highways in cities like Houston and New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana.

Rain and thunder will then move eastward at a steady pace, reaching southern Appalachia and the Atlanta area on Friday morning, then coastal areas of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and the Carolinas Friday afternoon and evening.

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However, before the first batch of rain and thunderstorms moves away from the Atlantic coast, the next major storm-related round will gather moisture over the southern Plains on Thursday night and Friday. More rain will hit central and eastern Texas later in the week, but the snow area will expand into western Texas and eastern and central New Mexico on Friday.

The heaviest snowfall is likely to fall along the Texas-New Mexico border through much of eastern New Mexico from Thursday evening through early Saturday.

“Roswell, New Mexico, which receives an average of 9.6 inches of snow annually, could receive a season’s worth of snow from this one storm,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski. While Lubbock, Texas typically receives about 7 inches of snow annually, a few inches projected could bring as much as half of the seasonal average.

Some snow is likely to fall in the hills around Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it cannot be ruled out around El Paso, Texas, and the surrounding hills.

Drivers should be prepared for a slippery journey along Interstates 10, 20 and 40 as well as U.S. Route 283 in West Texas. In New Mexico, winter travel probably takes place on sections of Route 283, I-25, and I-40.

As this main part of the storm rolls northeast, a new batch of rain will slowly move in. While the intensity of this rain will vary by location in the southern states, a new round of low visibility and freeway slack is likely along the Interstates 10, 20 and 40 corridors.

Downpours and thunderstorms will move from eastern Texas and Oklahoma to Louisiana and Arkansas on Saturday to Mississippi, West Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and western Georgia on Saturday night.

Before expanding to the northeast, heavy rain will roll through the rest of Georgia and the Carolinas on Sunday. Most areas from Mississippi and western Tennessee in the west to Oklahoma and Texas are likely to be dry, with some sunshine returning on Sunday. West-to-east clearing is also likely in the southeastern states, but it could take until Sunday evening to reach the I-95 corridor.

After unsettled conditions with downpours and thunderstorms last week, much of the Florida Peninsula can avoid most of the rainfall from the storm system Friday through Sunday, which is good news for hurricane cleanup operations as well as for those vacationing on the Thanksgiving holiday. But as the storm hits northern areas to end the weekend, rain and poor visibility could lead to flight delays to destinations, especially in the Northeast.

In addition to the risk of disruption to travel due to the double-barreled storm, its rain and snow will bring another shard of prolonged drought across much of the region. Enough rain could fall to cause another minor to moderate rise in water levels in the lower Mississippi River. The very low water level since mid-summer makes it difficult for barges to work on the waterway.

Since cold Canadian air won’t follow the storm when the sun returns, temperatures in late November from Sunday through Tuesday will return to near-above-average levels. This warming could help fuel thunderstorms and potentially severe weather as the next storm system crosses the central states on Tuesday and Wednesday.

AccuWeather meteorologists have already started raising awareness of the severe weather risk more than a week in advance and will provide updates on the potential threat in the coming days.

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