Severe Storms in Central U.S. Could Cause Flash Floods, Weather Service Warns

Millions of Americans in the central United States are bracing for severe weather expected to bring several inches of heavy rain that threaten to cause flash flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued flash flood watches for about 20 million people residing in areas from Texas to Indiana.

The slow-moving system has already scattered large hail, with 25 reports of hailstones 2 inches in diameter across parts of western and central Texas on Monday, ABC News reported. There were also reports of strong to severe thunderstorms in parts of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, nearly 4 inches of rain were reported at the NWS office in the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area. The office also reported quarter-sized hail on Monday.

We just received quarter-sized hail here at the office in Pleasant Hill.

— NWS Kansas City (@NWSKansasCity) March 26, 2018

The Weather Channel reported that an upper-level trough, or southward plunge in the jet stream, was slowly moving into the Plains. A slow-moving front will then glide east from the Plains into the Mississippi Valley through Thursday, while deep moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will move northward ahead of the cold front.

The NWS issued a flash flood watch for parts of north-central Texas, northeast Texas and south-central Texas, where rainfall amounts of between 2 and 3 inches are expected, with isolated amounts of 5 inches possible.

"Soils will saturate quickly, and periods of heavy rain will likely result in rapid runoff and a potential for flash flooding," the weather service warned.

A flash flood watch was also issued for parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and southeast Oklahoma. The slow-moving cold front moved into the region on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to gradually spread eastward before moving out Thursday morning. Thunderstorms are expected along the cold front, as well as "widespread rainfall" of 2 to 4 inches, with 4 to 6 inches possible.

The NWS issued a flash flood warning for several counties in Missouri: Ozark County, Western Shannon County, Eastern Douglas County, Dent County, Howell County, Texas County and Southeastern Phelps County. The weather service said that excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding in small streams and creeks, country roads, farmland and low-lying spots.

The heaviest rainfall is expected in eastern Texas and Oklahoma into Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, northern Alabama and Tennessee, the Weather Channel reported.

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A slow-moving system is expected to bring heavy rainfall across the central U.S. Tuesday through Thursday, the National Weather Service warned. National Weather Service