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Drenching rainfall could flood out Thanksgiving plans in south-central U.S.

By Jessica Storm, Accuweather.com
Drenching rainfall could flood out Thanksgiving plans in south-central U.S.

A drenching storm is headed for the south-central United States later this week, just in time to soak Thanksgiving plans and potentially bring flooding to the region.

There is growing confidence that a storm will develop over Texas ahead of a slow-moving dip in the jet stream in the Southwest, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

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A strong cold front is expected to sink southward while moisture from the Gulf of Mexico flows into the region, combining to produce soaking rainfall in the South Central states. Rain is anticipated to spread from the Texas-Mexico border to Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday.

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"As the cold front sweeps across East Texas on Thursday, the cold northerly winds behind the frontal boundary will sweep up the warmer and more humid air near the Gulf Coast and send it skywards, prompting the development of clouds, rain and thunderstorms," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Michael LeSeney.

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Perfectly situated between these two ingredients will be the eastern half of Texas, where the rain is expected to focus.

"Some of the rainfall will be heavy, especially near the Texas coast from Houston to the mouth of the Rio Grande River near Brownsville, Texas," said LeSeney. Strong-to-severe thunderstorms also can't be ruled out.

Showers and thunderstorms will likely arrive on Wednesday night in places like Austin and San Antonio, Texas, ahead of heavy rain on Thursday morning. Rain and thunderstorms are also expected across much of southeastern Texas on Thursday, including Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas.

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"Within the area of heaviest rain there can be flooding as several inches of rain falls within a short period of time," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty.

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This could lead to power outages and closed roadways, especially in low-lying and flood-prone areas, disrupting Thanksgiving plans.

"Unfortunately, any outdoor Thanksgiving plans from Houston to Corpus Christi and potentially even as far south as Brownsville could be impacted by this weather," said Douty.

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Residents planning to play some backyard football or socialize outside in the mild Texan weather should prepare for alternatives, and travelers should prepare extra time to take it slow on the roads or stay home altogether if local officials recommend it. Fortunately for some, there may be some dry hours of the afternoon, though not without a chill.

"While Austin and San Antonio can see rain during the morning, depending on the exact speed of the front, they could see dry weather return for the afternoon," said Douty, adding that it may turn colder by evening in the wake of the front.

After a forecast high in the middle 70s on Wednesday, Austin and San Antonio will have temperatures only reaching the middle 60s on Thursday. Typically, these cities reach around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the second half of November.

After the sun sets on this cold front, temperatures in San Antonio are likely to fall into the lower 40s, while Austin could even reach around 40 F, well below-average lows in the middle to upper 40s for this time of year.

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Rain can linger along the Texas coast into the evening, though precipitation is forecast to depart the area by Friday morning as it travels eastward across Louisana and the Southeast, as well as southeastward into the Gulf.

"This storm will likely move eastward along the I-10 corridor Friday and into the last weekend of November," added Pastelok.

Though some of the areas could benefit from drought-relieving rain, some have had more than 120 of average rainfall since the beginning of October, including San Antonio and Austin. Corpus Christi has reported over 180 of average since Oct. 1.

A calmer pattern is anticipated to settle into the South Central after the storm as high pressure gains control, though residents and visitors to the region should continue checking their forecast as conditions change.

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