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Severe storm outbreak developing in South

Tornadoes likely in many states

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Several southern states are in the target zone for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes the next two days. Truckers will have to dodge the dangerous weather from the Plains all the way to the Carolinas.

Many, if not all, the dynamics needed for a widespread outbreak are coming together — warm surface temperatures with much colder air aloft, ample moisture, a strong jet stream, as well as plenty of wind shear (increasing wind speeds with height, along with shifting wind direction with height).

The threat for severe storms Wednesday and Wednesday night includes eastern parts of Texas and Oklahoma, in addition to Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Georgia, western Florida, western Tennessee and southern Missouri. Of particular concern are areas of northeastern Louisiana and southeastern Arkansas to central Mississippi (including Jackson) and western Alabama. This is where the Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare “high risk,” meaning these areas have the best odds of strong tornadoes (EF2 to EF5), large hail of 2 inches or greater in diameter, as well as crosswinds of 75 mph or stronger. However, drivers will also need to be on high alert in places like Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; in addition to Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama.

On Thursday, the threat will be from the southern Appalachians to Florida. The risk for tornadoes, large hail and dangerous winds will impact drivers from Virginia and parts of the Ohio Valley to the Florida Panhandle. However, the greatest chances are from places like Atanta and Macon, Georgia, to all of North and South Carolina. The severe threat should end sometime Thursday evening.

Drivers should make sure their weather apps are set to GPS or government mode. This can be done in the settings of mobile devices and will ensure drivers receive severe weather alerts no matter where they go.

Look for weather updates throughout the week on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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.