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No damage, but lots of rainfall as storm push east

RANDALL DICKERSON,Associated Press • Apr 11, 2013 at 7:18 AM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Storms moving across West Tennessee are not as severe as earlier expected, but they were a lot wetter.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Branda in the Memphis forecast office said early Thursday there had been no reports of injuries or serious damage from wind that had gusted to 45 mph.

"No, none at all," Branda said.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Nashville also reported no reports of storm damage.

However, storms were moving slowly northeastward, dropping heavy amounts of rain. By 3 a.m. CDT, there were reports of up to 2 1/2 inches of rainfall in some places in West Tennessee. The entire region, from the Mississippi River to the Tennessee River, was under a flash flood watch.

"A slow-moving cold front and an upper level low in the Central Plains has storms following each other across the same areas," Branda said.

NWS expected an additional 2 to 3 inches of rain before the storms rolled across the Tennessee River into Middle Tennessee later in the morning. Even then, lingering showers were expected to add to the rainfall total. The flash flood watch was in effect until 7 p.m. for counties near the Tennessee River.

As the same weather system lumbers slowly eastward, Middle Tennessee was expected to begin receiving thunderstorms after sunup.

A 100 percent chance of rain is forecast for Thursday and showers into the nighttime hours are expected.

In Chattanooga, forecasters expect the storms to begin around 1 p.m. Thursday and the heaviest rain should fall overnight into Friday.

Thunderstorm chances in Knoxville will pick up at midafternoon, with the heavier rain expected at night.

The storms should roll into the Tri-Cities area during the afternoon commute and the heaviest activity is expected well after dark.

Forecasters expect the heaviest rainfall to be out of Tennessee by dawn Friday.

Temperature will fall behind the cold front. In Bristol, forecasters expect lows to be in the upper 30s. Memphis will bottom out in the mid-40s.

Sunshine and warm temperatures are forecast to return statewide for the weekend, with Memphis reaching near 80 degrees by Sunday afternoon. The mid-70s are forecast for Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville on Sunday.

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