State College, PA April 25, 2011 -- As the onslaught of drenching, and in some cases severe thunderstorms continues into Wednesday, new flooding issues will inevitably develop from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma.
"Inches of rain have already inundated this area since Friday," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Katie Storbeck.
Rainfall totals over the past three days are approaching 8 inches in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Muskogee, Okla. is near the 7-inch mark.
The ground from the Ohio Valley to Oklahoma cannot handle any more rain, but drenching thunderstorms will not stop, lasting into Wednesday.
In some cases, the thunderstorms will also turn severe with damaging winds, hail and even a tornado.
The potential exists for an additional 3 to 6 inches of rain to pour down through Wednesday with locally higher totals.
That amount of rain will only lead to more serious flooding problems.
Already-swollen streams and rivers will rise further out of their banks, inundating more neighboring land, roads and homes. Flooding will also worsen in low-lying, urban and poor-drainage areas.
"Feet of water could wash across area roadways," Storbeck reported.
Motorists should heed all road closures put in place by officials. Even if barricades are not in place, "Never attempt driving through flooded streets, as it only takes a few inches of flowing water to sweep away a vehicle," Storbeck warned.
Even where flooding is not under way, motorists will be faced with reduced visibility and a heightened risk of vehicles hydroplaning.
Fortunately, relief from the onslaught of rain will finally come Thursday and Friday.
The dry weather will give flood waters a chance to recede. The exception will be along larger rivers, where flooding problems will last longer, as runoff from smaller streams will continue to drain downstream.
The rain-free conditions will only be brief, as more thunderstorms are in the forecast for this weekend.
By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist