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Severe storm risk heating up across South

Increasing risk of tornadoes next week

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Severe storms have been pounding parts of the South this week, with more likely in the next two days.

Large hail and damaging winds have struck from Texas to South Carolina, with only two tornadoes reported to the National Weather Service. However, odds for a significant severe weather outbreak across the region may go up next week.

Before this happens, severe storms producing damaging winds and hail Friday will be scattered from the northern Gulf Coast to the lower Ohio Valley. Localized flash flooding from torrential rain is also possible, and hail could be larger than golf ball size in some spots.

Tornadoes will be mainly isolated but could be particularly strong from eastern Mississippi to Alabama and far western Georgia. Some of these tornadoes may also be long-track, meaning they could stay on the ground for extended periods of time.

By Saturday, the severe risk shifts eastward, stretching from the Florida Panhandle to the Delmarva Peninsula. The main threats will be severe winds, large hail and flash flooding, but isolated tornadoes could pop up. The severe risk in these areas will end Sunday evening.

A new storm system will generate an elevated threat for severe weather and tornadoes next Monday through Wednesday in many of the same places previously mentioned. Eastern Texas and the Gulf states could experience localized disruptions to businesses, transportation, freight flows and supply chains in the areas impacted by severe storms. Major cities within the zone include Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas; New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; as well as Atlanta.

This storm system is projected to intensify across the southern Plains later this weekend and on Monday, moving eastward through the first half of next week. As the low-pressure system moves through the southern Plains and mid-South early next week, the atmosphere could be primed for a widespread severe weather outbreak within the potential risk zone. Severe thunderstorms that do develop will be capable of potentially strong tornadoes, large hail, and destructive and flooding rains. Not all areas within the zone will experience severe weather and/or impacts, but the overall chances look good for a high number of severe storms and tornadoes developing.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 10 from Houston to Tallahassee.
• Interstate 20 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Atlanta.
• Interstate 45 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston to Amarillo, Texas.
• Interstate 55 from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee.
• Interstate 59 from New Orleans to Birmingham.
• Interstate 65 from Mobile to Huntsville, Alabama.

Other notable weekend weather

Look for rain and snow returning to portions of the Rockies, Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Most of the snow will be wet, with several inches of accumulation. Road conditions will be slick and slushy over mountain passes.

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.