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Storm to usher in a wet start to the new year across U.S. South

By Allen Cone
Storm to usher in a wet start to the new year across U.S. South

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- While New Year's festivities will be largely dry across southern United States, budding storm system is set to track across the region in the days to follow.

An area of high pressure centered along the central Gulf coast on Wednesday will promote dry and settled conditions to ring in the new year.

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As this area of high pressure slides to the Southeast coast Thursday, southerly winds out of the Gulf of Mexico will pump warm and moist air into the Deep South.

After a storm brings rain and mountain snow for parts of California to early in the week, it will move into an unstable environment of the south-central Plains on Wednesday night. The combination of the moisture and an unstable environment could fuel thunderstorms across Texas on Wednesday night.

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By Thursday, the threat for wet weather will expand across much of the lower Mississippi Valley.

Strong to potentially severe thunderstorms will be possible across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and possibly Tennessee and Alabama, from Thursday into Thursday evening as the storm system intensifies.

Atmospheric conditions may be favorable enough for some thunderstorms to continue into the overnight hours on Thursday. This risk may be realized across much of Alabama as warm and unstable air remains in place over the state.

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Cities that may face this risk include Alexandria, La.; Jackson, Miss. and possibly even Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Along with the thunderstorm threat, a more widespread threat for heavy rain will accompany this storm system as well.

"Heavy rain is expected over parts of the lower Mississippi Valley and even the Tennessee River Valley as a warm front shifts north across the Gulf coast," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck said.

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Many locales along the Gulf coast and in the Deep South could have over an inch of rainfall as this storm system tracks through. Localized areas of 3 to 5 inches of rainfall cannot be ruled out across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

While Thursday looks to be the wettest day across the South, rain will continue to slide eastward ahead of a cold front into the day on Friday.

Southeastern cities from the Florida Panhandle into the Carolinas will be next in line for rainfall.

With the exception of the Florida Peninsula, much of the Deep South and Southeast will have an end of the wet weather by the weekend.

Cooler and less humid air will filter in across much of the region in the wake of the departed system.

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