Severe storms to continue to rattle, flood parts of central US through first weekend of May

Even though the overall intensity of severe weather will throttle back for a few days, AccuWeather meteorologists urge people in the central United States not to let down their guard this weekend as more thunderstorms will be on the prowl, and some zones will be subject to more than one round of storms with high winds, hail and flooding rainfall.

The overall weather pattern will remain busy ahead of what is likely to be the next Great Plains tornado outbreak on Monday.

Incidents of severe weather peppered the nation's midsection during the first days of May. Between Thursday and Friday, more than 160 reports of large hail, high winds and tornadoes spanned states from Texas to Nebraska and Illinois.

This photo provided by the Texas Department of Transportation shows a truck parked as floodwaters rise over a bridge in Grapeland, Texas on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Heavy rains have caused flooding in southeastern Texas and officials in one county asked residents to leave. (Texas Department of Transportation via AP)

The severe thunderstorms also produced torrential rainfall. Huntsville, Texas, received 8.54 inches of rain in less than 12 hours from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning. Some areas just north of Houston picked up close to a foot of rain in 24 hours from Thursday morning to Friday morning.


Storms in the South Central states will continue to have access to plenty of Gulf of Mexico moisture and will result in an ongoing regional risk of not only flash flooding but also river flooding. Before the rainfall late this week, streams were already running high from excessive rainfall in April.

"While there has been widespread flooding problems across parts of Southeast Texas, especially north of downtown Houston, the flooding has been significant in localized areas with major damage to homes and businesses. The persistent downpours from rounds of thunderstorms are resulting in a dangerous combination of flash flooding, including roadways and low-lying areas, as well as flooding of creeks, streams, and rivers. Flooding problems will continue into next week in these areas with additional rounds of slow-moving thunderstorms across the region," AccuWeather Senior Vice President and Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said.

This snapshot of the state of river levels in eastern Texas shows multiple gauge points at major flood stage (purple) as of Sunday morning, May 5, 2024. (National Water Prediction Service)

Multiple rivers will be at major flood stage through this weekend in central and northeastern Texas, including the San Jacinto, Trinity and Neches rivers.

As shower and thunderstorm activity settles over the High Plains into Sunday, the zone farther to the north and west from I-10 to I-40 will remain active with a mosaic of showers and thunderstorms.

The combination of a stalled front over the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley and the eastward shift of the Rockies disturbance resulted in a zone of severe storms into Saturday night from eastern New Mexico to southeastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas.

These storms produced numerous reports of damaging wind gusts and large hail across western and central Texas. Additionally, heavy rain fell across portions of central Texas, with a zone of rainfall totals as high as 4-8 inches south of Dallas and north of Austin.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms will continue across parts of northeastern Texas and Oklahoma through Sunday morning, while showers and thunderstorms will continue through the day across southeastern and south-central Texas.

Areas where the storms repeat on Sunday or where slow-moving storms sit for a couple of hours will face the greatest risk of flash flooding.

"We are forecasting additional rounds of heavy rain can occur in the region into this week, which may further add to existing flooding, renew flooding or trigger flooding in some areas that have so far dodged flooding this past week," Porter said, "There can be a time, perhaps on Tuesday into Wednesday, with a reduced risk for heavy rain before the risk for rain once again elevates later in the week."

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