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State News

Tropical System Likely To Produce Flash Flooding Along Gulf Coast, Carolinas This Weekend

A heightened risk of flash flooding is expected this weekend ahead of the arrival of a slowly developing subtropical or tropical storm in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters have been monitoring the area of disturbed weather for much of the week. The National Hurricane Center says development is unlikely on Thursday because of its proximity to Mexico. A northward motion into the open waters of the Gulf make development more likely late Thursday night or Friday.

Wind shear is expected to prevent this system from becoming too strong. In fact, it’s likely the storm will be lopsided with nearly all of the weather occurring east of the center of the developing tropical system. Still, copious rain is expected to fall along the Gulf coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle starting Friday afternoon into at least Saturday. Many of these areas have received about double their average rain this spring, making the region susceptible to fresh water flooding. An additional 5 to 10 inches of rain is forecast, with locally higher amounts, producing numerous flash floods.

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Most model simulations bring the system inland over Louisiana late Friday or early Saturday before it tracks across the Gulf states into Georgia and the piedmont of the Carolinas. Widespread rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are possible, particularly over the higher terrain of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Areas of flash flooding may result, especially on Sunday.

The remnant circulation is likely to move off the U.S. east coast into the open Atlantic waters later Monday into Tuesday, but an approaching cold front may bring another chance of showers and thunderstorms to the region during the middle of next week.

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