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Late-year severe storm threat continues across South

High wind, tornado potential from Texas to North Carolina

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Less than three weeks after a deadly tornado outbreak devastated portions of the Southeast, severe weather struck again Wednesday.

The National Weather Service received only three tornado reports but more than 30 reports of damaging straight-line winds, most of them in northern Alabama. It received no reports of injuries or deaths.

With warm, humid air remaining across the region, isolated severe storms could pop up Thursday from parts of the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. A cold front will trigger higher chances for severe storms Friday and Saturday, on the cusp of the new year, from Texas to North Carolina. This will be followed by quieter and much colder weather Sunday.

New Year’s Eve

Severe storms will be scattered Friday across a swath from eastern Texas to western Kentucky. Wind gusts of 60-plus mph and large hail could hit places such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, as well as spots in between. Tornadoes could also develop but should be isolated.

New Year’s Day

The threat for severe weather Saturday shifts a bit to the south and east, and the potential impact zone is larger than Friday’s. Severe winds and large hail will be scattered across a region stretching from northern Louisiana to northern Georgia, and as far north as southern Kentucky. Like Friday, tornadoes are possible but will probably remain isolated as opposed to scattered or widespread.

Storms will also produce heavy rain in some areas, possibly forcing truckers to pull over and stop at times. Storms could lead to localized flash flooding and temporary road closures as well.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 20 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Atlanta.
• Interstate 40 from Asheville, North Carolina, to Little Rock.
• Interstate 55 from Jackson, Mississippi, to Memphis.
• Interstate 65 from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to Birmingham, Alabama.
• Interstate 75 from London, Kentucky, to Atlanta.

Other notable weather

Look for snow, heavy in some places, across the Rockies and other areas of the Four Corners region through Saturday. This includes Denver; Boise, Idaho; Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City; as well as Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers

Blizzard conditions will spread across the Midwest Friday night and Saturday. This will affect travel from Wichita and Topeka, Kansas, all the way to Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.