Heavy rains could cause flash flooding on the Coast

Hope you enjoyed the sunny weather while it lasted, because Wednesday is likely to be the last dry day of 2018 on the Mississippi Coast.

Heavy rains are expected off and on through New Year’s Eve, the National Weather Service predicts.

The heaviest rain and possibly severe weather is forecast for Thursday, when 2 to 5 inches could fall.

A flash flood watch has been issued for all of South Mississippi, as well as near Hattiesburg and Laurel, starting Thursday morning through Friday morning, though that could be extended.

High winds with gusts up to 40 mph prompted a wind advisory until 4 p.m. Thursday and coastal flood advisory early that morning. A small craft advisory on the Mississippi Sound is in effect through Friday morning.

Additional watches could be issued over the weekend.

The biggest severe threat is flash flooding, but strong wind gusts and tornadoes also are possible. On Wednesday afternoon, the Coast was upgraded to a “slight” risk of severe weather, which is the second of five risk levels, with one being the lowest.

“Several rivers are expected to experience substantial rises and some could eventually approach or exceed flood stage later this week or over the weekend,” the weather service said.

Flood warnings have been issued for the Biloxi, Wolf and Tchoutacabouffa rivers.

Thursday’s chance of rain is 90 percent, dropping slightly to 60 percent Friday during the day and 50 percent at night.

The timing of the following storm fronts is less certain, but the weather service said Wednesday afternoon the forecast models show a second wave Saturday and a third overnight Sunday into Monday.

The forecast for Harrison County shows the chance of rain Saturday at 70 percent, again falling to 60 percent overnight. Sunday and Monday are “likely” to see showers and thunderstorms too, the weather service predicts.

Temperatures are expected to cool slightly to highs in the low 60s and lows in the 50s.

New Year’s Day may stay rain-free, but it may get even colder with a high near 60 and lows in near 40.

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