Flood watch issued, heavy rains expected for New Year’s weekend

National Weather Service

The dry winter air is about to go away again as heavy rains and strong storms are expected through the holiday weekend.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a flood watch from Saturday morning through Monday evening for its coverage area, which includes Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River counties. The weather service in Mobile has not yet issued any watches for Stone and George counties, but heavy rains also will affect those areas.

There is also a risk of severe weather Monday.

The greatest threat of heavy rain will be over South Mississippi and southeast Louisiana, the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency warns.

The high-pressure area giving the Coast seasonal temperatures will move east by Saturday, and a low-pressure system will bring widespread storms to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The weather service advises moderate to heavy rains should reach South Mississippi by midday Saturday and last into Sunday morning before tapering off temporarily Sunday evening. Another strong front is forecast to bring more rounds of moderate to heavy rain Sunday night and Monday, with some rain possibly lasting into early Tuesday.

A total of 4 to 6 inches of rain is expected over the Coast, according to the Harrison County EMA, but even more could fall in localized spots.

Flash flooding is possible, and streams and rivers could exceed their flood stage by Monday or Tuesday, the weather service warns.

Temperatures also should warm up as the high-pressure area leaves. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 60s are expected.

Lauren Walck: 228-896-2393, @laurenwalck