Heavy rain soaks South this weekend with more on the way in the week ahead

The steadiest rain Saturday is expected from Texas to the Carolinas as the slow-moving cold front provides instability within a seasonably humid air mass. On Sunday, a dip in the jet stream from the Four Corners region will slide into Texas, fueling widespread moderate to heavy rain across the southern half of the Lone Star State.

The South is experiencing a severe drought and desperately needs rain. While long-term relief requires consistent precipitation, any amount of rainfall is helpful.

A cold front sliding across the region this weekend is providing some of that help, and additional welcome rain is on the way to start the upcoming workweek.

In many Southern cities, the rainfall is expected to be the heaviest since early October, which featured a storm system that dropped 3 inches of rain across parts of the Houston metro area.


Where is rain expected this weekend?

On Sunday, a dip in the jet stream from the Four Corners region will slide into Texas. This disturbance will encounter an air mass being fed by two sources of moisture, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

This combination will result in widespread moderate to heavy rain across the southern half of Texas, which may lead to some minor flooding from near San Antonio down to the Texas-Mexico border.


The forecast for Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023.
(FOX Weather)


Where is rain expected in the upcoming workweek?

As the jet stream dip approaches the Gulf of Mexico at the beginning of the workweek, a new area of low pressure is expected to develop and slowly track east across the northern Gulf of Mexico.

This system will be a big rainmaker for the worst drought areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Computer forecast models suggest between 3 and 5 inches of rain will fall along the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday, which would be a month's worth of rain for some cities in just a matter of days – much needed in a region dealing with exceptional drought.


The rainfall forecast through Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023.
(FOX Weather)


According to National Weather Service historical data, the New Orleans area annually sees a November monthly rainfall total of 3.87 inches, meaning this rain event has the potential to produce a month's worth of rainfall in just a few days.

"The rain itself will help make a dent in the drought, but it's going to take more," Herrera said. "So many spots out here have been dealing with the lack of rain, so we'll take every drop we can."

Despite the heavy rain, the flood threat should remain low due to a lack of instability and very dry soils owing to ongoing drought conditions. 

The outlook for the South between Monday and Wednesday, Nov. 13-15, 2023.
(FOX Weather)


Parched South

Houston experienced its 10th driest summer on record, while New Orleans had its second-driest summer, which could lead to a higher risk of wildfires due to the significant rainfall deficit.


While the rainfall is welcome news, the precipitation will not help communities make up their yearly deficit.

A look at the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
(FOX Weather)


Many observation sites across Texas are reporting rainfall deficits of between 10 and 30 inches, meaning it would take an extended period of storminess to end the drought. With a little more than 50 days left in the calendar year, it may be into 2024 before some communities along the Gulf Coast catch up on much-needed rainfall.