(WMC) - A cold front moving out of the Rockies and through the Central Plains is headed toward the Mid-South.
The front will enter the area Thursday, but will bring very heavy rain and thunderstorms well in advance. Current forecast models are indicating two to three inches of rain for many parts of the Mid-South with the heaviest precipitation expected to fall over north Mississippi and southern Arkansas, along and south of I-40.
The National Weather Service in Memphis has issued a Flash Flood Watch that will go into effect for those areas Wednesday afternoon and remain in place until 7 p.m. Thursday. While the greatest risk for flash flooding is in those areas, the National Weather Service expanded the Flash Flood Watch to include St. Francis County in Arkansas and all of Southwestern Tennessee, including Shelby County.
Expect showers to develop along and west of the Mississippi River early Wednesday afternoon with heavier rain and thunderstorms spreading east into the evening and overnight hours.
There is a slight risk for severe storms from Memphis west into eastern Arkansas and along and west of I-55 in north Mississippi. A few storms could produce some damaging wind and hail but the main concern with this system is the threat for flash flooding. Heavy rain will move into the WMC Action News 5 coverage area by the evening hours, with the heaviest rainfall expected overnight Wednesday.
Areas in the furthest southwest portion of the WMC Action News 5 viewing area are under an enhanced risk for severe weather Wednesday afternoon. This will include the furthest tip of Coahoma County and Quitman County in Mississippi and parts of Phillips County, Arkansas.
By Thursday morning, the heaviest precipitation will move into middle Tennessee and northern Alabama. Periods of scattered showers will continue until the cold front moves east of the area late Thursday afternoon.
Thursday afternoon, current NWS models predict that rain will return and more of the Mid-South will be under an enhanced risk for severe weather. Areas east of Memphis, including eastern Shelby County, and all of Northern Mississippi are included in this enhanced risk.
Cool, dry air will filter in behind the front and be firmly entrenched across the Mid-South for the end of the week and weekend, so you may want to start planning now for a great weekend.
In the meantime, take a moment to download the WMC Action News 5 Storm Tracker app to your smartphone or iPad. It's a free download that will give you access to a live interactive radar, along with hour by hour forecasts, and voice alerts for watches, warnings, and lightning detection wherever you may be. This will allow to stay alert to the weather moving through the Mid-South. You can also count on the First Alert Storm Tracking Team to keep you updated on this system.
Text 'SEVERE' to 90105 to receive severe weather text alerts sent straight from NWS.