Locally severe thunderstorms have fired from northeastern Texas to central Missouri late Monday, kicking off what promises to be a stormy week.
Areas from near St. Louis, Mo. to around Houston, Texas will be in the zone of strong storms Monday evening, while snow returns to the Great Lakes. Other cities in the path of the storms include Shreveport, La., Little Rock, Ark., Jackson, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn.
A few locations within this corridor could experience damaging thunderstorms with high winds and large hail.
Many locations within this zone will experience one or more thunderstorms that can be briefly drenching, blinding and gusty. There is the potential for brief urban flooding.
"This severe weather is just the start of a busy week of severe weather this week into the weekend, into early next week," AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity said.
Many of the strongest thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and blinding downpours. The strongest storms could spawn isolated tornadoes.
If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately.
The thunderstorms should organize into a solid line by nightfall and then race eastward across eastern Louisiana, Mississippi and into far western Alabama during the overnight hours. Damaging winds and downpours will be the main threats.
Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., Jackson and Gulfport, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., are among the communities in the path of Monday night's violent thunderstorms. Hattiesburg, Miss., which was struck by a tornado a week ago, is also at risk.
While a widespread outbreak of severe weather is not expected later Monday, residents should not let their guard down. It only takes one violent thunderstorm or isolated tornado to cause damage and put lives in harm's way.
In addition, Monday's severe weather is just the start of a stormy week for East Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley as AccuWeather.com meteorologists are concerned for more numerous violent thunderstorms to erupt on Thursday.
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The main weather concern to search crews through Monday in the vicinity of where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 lost contact will be building seas.
"We exchanged notes already pledging to work together for the common good of the weather enterprise and the nation," AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers said.
Springlike warmth will pour from the Plains to the East over the next few days before a potential winter storm unfolds at midweek.
The long-lasting and relentless winter season has broken seasonal maintenance expenditure records across much of the U.S.
This March has been and will continue to be a month on the wild side with storms and temperature extremes.
Chicago will be watching to see if a storm grazes the region at the beginning of the week but milder air will make a comeback.
Brinkley, AR (1909)
Tornado killed 49 and caused $600,000 worth of property damage.
Philadelphia, PA (1941)
8.0" of snow.
Dallas-Monroe Co. AR (1909)
Tornadoes killed 64 and injured 671.