Flood, Flash Flood Warnings and Watches Issued as Severe Storms, Heavy Rain Hit Central U.S.

Severe weather that started earlier this week in Texas was making its way north and east Wednesday, bringing with it the risk of heavy rains and flooding.

The Weather Prediction Center with the NWS was calling for "excessive rainfall" and the outlook showed areas in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas were at the highest risk. Kansas and Missouri were also at risk though it was significantly lower. "A slow-moving frontal boundary will persist from the Great Lakes region to Texas, and multiple waves of low pressure are expected along this front and will result in areas of enhanced rainfall," said the forecast from the NWS.

Here's a closer look at the excessive rainfall outlook for today through tomorrow morning. A moderate risk means that flash flooding is likely! pic.twitter.com/bV3rW4a3f1

— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) May 1, 2019

Anywhere from one to three inches was expected in the areas where the heaviest rain was forecast, in north Texas up to central Illinois. That excessive rain meant flooding and flash flooding was possible over the areas where rain was expected. As of Wednesday morning, there were flood warnings and watches as well as flood warnings and watches across several states in the southern plains and the midwest.

The most severe warning was the flash flood warning issued for southeastern Oklahoma. Flash floods can arrive suddenly and sweep people away. When a flash flood warning is issued the NWS says that's the time to take action because the flood is imminent or already happening. Under these conditions, it's important to move to higher ground if possible. A flash flood watch means the conditions are good for a flash flood to develop though there currently isn't one. Parts of northern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas were under flash flood watches but not warnings Wednesday.

flood waters in missouri rain
Floodwater surrounds the town on March 22, in Craig, Missouri. More severe weather and heavy rain was expected to hit the same areas again this week. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Flood warnings and advisories have similar principles behind them. The warning means there is a flood happening or soon expected while an advisory simply means the conditions are right for a flood to happen. "A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property," according to the NWS.

Regular flood warnings were issued for most of Missouri on Wednesday as well as parts of southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma. The NWS urged people to not try and cross any flooded roadways that could potentially carry away them or their vehicle. Just a foot of water can carry away a small car while it takes two feet for other larger vehicles and flooding related deaths are the number one cause of thunderstorm-related hazards, according to the NWS.

As with all severe weather, those in the area should check their local forecasts and take any warnings from authorities seriously.