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Tornado threat returns to South after deadly storms last week

Risk begins Tuesday in Plains, increases Wednesday in South

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

For the second week in a row, truckers will face another threat of tornadoes in the Plains and South as an approaching system intensifies. 

Last week, more than 50 tornadoes hit from Texas to the Carolinas, including a deadly EF3 tornado just east of downtown New Orleans. This next round of severe storms may also contain strong tornadoes.

Related: Tornadoes across South may further strain flatbed capacity


The next round of severe weather will begin Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday night in the Plains. Look for scattered areas of damaging winds and large hail from central Texas to southern Iowa, as well as isolated tornadoes. Some of the cities under the gun include Dallas; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; as well as Des Moines, Iowa.


As the threat for severe storms will shift eastward Wednesday, stretching from the mid-South to the Gulf Coast, the odds for tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail will increase. Drivers will hit many more areas of severe weather Wednesday. Some of the cities under the gun include New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi; Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; as well as  Little Rock, Arkansas.

A few severe storms Wednesday could reach parts of the Ohio Valley.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events and radar, 8 a.m. ET, Mar. 29, 2022. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)


The risk of severe storms and tornadoes will decrease Thursday, back to about the same level as Tuesday. The potential strike zone will be from Tallahassee, Florida, to portions of the mid-Atlantic, including the Atlanta area.

An additional potential threat with these storms will be torrential rain and periods of flash flooding, leading to possible road closures. Also, winds in some places could gust as high as 50 mph prior to any thunderstorms arriving. Once those storms turn severe, they could produce winds in excess of 60 or 70 mph.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 10 from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Jacksonville, Florida.
• Interstate 20 from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Augusta, Georgia.
• Interstate 35 from Des Moines to Dallas.
• Interstate 40 from Oklahoma City to Nashville.
• Interstate 70 from Topeka to Terre Haute, Indiana.
• Interstate 55 from St. Louis to New Orleans.
• Interstate 65 from Louisville, Kentucky, to New Orleans.

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.