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Substantial threat of strong tornadoes anticipated in the South this week

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These types of tornadoes are those that remain constantly on the ground for a long period of time, unlike a typical one that could be on the ground for only a few minutes.

There is also the risk tornadoes during the night. The darkness makes it difficult to see a tornado on the ground, and these types of tornadoes are more dangerous and deadly.

The system that will be responsible for these strong storms is currently impacting the southwest and will make its way through the Rocky Mountains and be expelled to the Plains in half a week, allowing an atmospheric configuration conducive to the formation of dangerous storms.

“We have increasingly warm, humid air over the Gulf of Mexico that will rise rapidly to the north; these large-scale conditions are quite favorable for severe storms. We believe some of the smaller details we often see in final days with significant tornado potential, there will also be room, ”said Bill Bunting, head of SPC forecast operations.

“This is a very strong system that we’ve been tracking for the potential for severe storms as it develops and moves northeast, from the plains to the Ohio Valley,” meteorologist Jason told CNN. Holmes at the NWS office in Birmingham, Alabama. .

Timing storms

The threat of storms begins as early as Tuesday evening in much of Kansas, Oklahoma and northeastern and central Texas.

The highest risk, however, will probably be during the night hours of Tuesday and through Wednesday morning. An isolated tornado will be possible, especially in central Oklahoma, but the main hazards will be the big hail and harmful winds.

There will also be a different risk for some strong storms all over the south during Tuesday, including parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

“Our real day of concentration right now is Wednesday. We could see a fairly widespread severe weather threat and potentially some severe high-end storms,” ​​Bunting said.

Wednesday night is expected to be the busiest day in terms of severe storms this week. Currently, according to the SPC, there is a “moderate risk” for severe weather in five southern states. A “moderate risk” is a level 4 out of 5 in terms of potential severity. This includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

The SPC said a “moderate risk” means “widespread severe storms are likely to occur” and that all threats are possible in Wednesday’s setup: tornadoes, at least the size of a golf ball and at least strong winds. at least 58 mph.

The ingredients for a harsh climate seem so daunting that SPC warns that an upgrade to a “high risk” may be needed by Wednesday. High-risk days are not used lightly, on average they only occur once or twice a year. In fact, in 2020 there were no high-risk days. The last one was in May 2019.

A morning round of showers and storms is currently expected to move through parts of the Gulf Coast states. Some of these storms can be severe, but the main threat increases in the afternoon and continues through Wednesday night.

During the afternoon hours, some of the states, especially in the “Moderate” or “Improved” risks, could see supercell cells developing. These types of storms are individual and discrete storms, known to produce tornadoes. Not all of these storms will produce tornadoes, but given the favorable environment for tornadoes, it will be possible with some of them.

“With these discreet storms all severe weather modes will be possible, including some tornadoes, and perhaps a significant one,” the NWS office in Memphis said Tuesday morning. discussion.

Then there will be a last line of storms along the cold front that will rise in the evening near the Mississippi River and continue east through these southern states. Storms along this front will need to be monitored for tornadoes, wind damage and heavy hail.

“This (night) wave of strong storms will likely have the greatest potential for stronger long-haul tornadoes,” according to the NWS office in Birmingham.

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There may be “potentially some severe weather waves, starting in the morning, then at noon and then later in the evening when the cold front enters,” Holmes said when discussing the forecast for downtown Alabama, a region currently in this “Moderate Risk.”

By Thursday, the risk of severe to severe storms will shift to the east coast of the U.S. Currently, the region from central Florida to central Virginia is being monitored by the SPC to detect this risk. Currently, some areas are at a 3 out of 5 level, “Improved Risk,” according to the Storm Prediction Center. At this time, the timing and specific threats of the storms are unknown.

Severe storms typical of the south

Severe storms are not uncommon in this part of the country and during this time of year. Historically, strong tornadoes in mid-March have been the most prevalent in northern Mississippi and Alabama, which closely aligns with the storms forecast this week.

This graph highlights the most likely areas of strong tornadoes (EF-2 or higher) during the mid-March period.  Darker tones make it more likely for tornadoes according to history from 1982 to 2011.

“The details will play a significant role in the bad grade of things and where the storms affect them. I think the important thing is to know that this is a typical early-season, southeastern weather configuration of the U.S., in the sense that storms move quickly and will continue after dark, ”Bunting said.

“A dangerous aspect of tornadoes in the south is that they can occur at midnight when people sleep unlike Tornado Alley storms that typically become less severe after sunset,” the CNN meteorologist said. Chad Myers.

Whenever severe weather threatens your area, it’s important to be prepared.

“It’s very important to heed the warning and not wait until you have a visual confirmation (of the storm),” Bunting said. “This is the time for people to have a plan in various ways to receive the alerts.”

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This includes setting up weather alert notifications on your phone. Many weather apps offer alerts based on your location, but your device also allows you to enable tornado warning notifications in your settings.

It is also important to know where to take refuge in case a tornado warning it is broadcast, Holmes said. He says you should go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building (not a mobile home) and put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
Along with tornadoes, there will probably be some as well large hail and frequent lightning, therefore, it is important to stay inside during the storm.

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