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Torrential rainfall continues to swamp parts of the South, smashing March records, and triggering major flash flooding and worsening river flooding in parts of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Heavy rain has also spread into parts of western Tennessee, western Kentucky, and western Mississippi.

More than 20 inches of rain had fallen near Monroe, Louisiana, by Thursday morning, prompting numerous rescues. The official airport reporting station in Monroe had picked up 18.97 inches of rain in about two days by 5 p.m. CST Thursday. This is closing in on the record wettest month for that location set in October 2009 when 20.56 inches was recorded.

Major flooding has also swamped the Shreveport, Louisiana, area where up to 16 inches of rain has fallen. Elsewhere, double-digit rainfall totals have been recorded in east Texas, southern Arkansas, and northwest Mississippi.

Record flooding is now forecast along a stretch of the Sabine River next week along the Texas/Louisiana border, due to record releases from Toledo Bend Reservoir, first put in service in 1966. In some locations, the river may see levels not seen since 1884.

Why This Is Happening

A massive, slow-moving, southward dip in the jet stream inched east across Mexico, then near the Gulf Coast, funneling deep, tropical moisture into parts of the South and Mississippi Valley, a rather unusual pattern for early March.

In fact, atmospheric moisture values (known to meteorologists as “precipitable water”) may near or top March records from the northern Gulf Coast into the Great Lakes, values last seen this time of year during the record-shattering March 2012 heat wave.


Written By Quincy Vagell and Chris Dolce and Jon Erdman

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