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Typically in July, cold fronts can only push southward to a certain point before stalling out. With the main belt of jet stream winds far to the north, there is just nothing to push a front all the way through the Gulf Coast like you would see in the fall, winter or spring Thus, we have the scenario for the "Southern Thunder Zone" this week.
Southern Thunder Zone
Our heat-relieving cold front for the Midwest and Northeast will stall out across the South and loiter for several days. Add in abundant moisture, disturbances aloft and daytime heating and you have all the ingredients for clusters of daily pop-up type thunderstorms from the Carolinas and southern Virginia westward to the Tennessee Valley, Lower Mississippi Valley and Texas.
Since winds aloft are relatively weak, these thunderstorms could deliver some locally heavy rainfall amounts in a short period of time. Over the course of the next several days, an inch or more of rain could soak many locations.
Our rainfall forecast map to the right shows where we are forecasting an inch or more of rain the next 48 hours in the darkest green shadings.
A few of the storms could also turn severe with damaging winds the main threat each day.
(MORE: Severe storm forecast)
Drought Relief and Flooding Possible
As you can see in the latest drought monitor released last week, there are several pockets of the South that are either abnormally dry or that are experiencing some level of drought. Overall, this rainy pattern is good news for many in this region, particularly since the recent extreme heat has dried out soils.
(MORE: U.S. drought sets new benchmark)
That said, there can always be cases of too much rain too fast. As mentioned before, these storms will be slow moving and could deliver some localized very heavy rain amounts in a short period of time. As a result, some localized flash flooding is possible the next few days.
(MAP: Severe weather alerts)
Unfortunately for the corridor from northern Kansas to Indiana, the front has stalled too far south to bring any significant relief to this region that is suffering from drought. By late week and the weekend, some thunderstorms may finally begin to build north into Illinois, Indiana and eastern Missouri.