Residents wake up to tornado warnings, blast of rough weather
A funnel cloud was seen spinning in the sky as a severe thunderstorm pushed through Henderson, Tennessee, on Dec. 5.
Severe thunderstorms started ripping across the southern United States on Sunday and spread eastward on Monday, triggering a series of tornado warnings and a couple of tornado reports. AccuWeather forecasters say the threat for severe weather more reminiscent of springtime than early December will persist across portions of the South on Monday.
"While December brings more winterlike weather for some portions of the country, severe weather is expected to make a return to portions of the country including much of Arkansas and western Tennessee," AccuWeather Meteorologist Lauren Hyde said.
A cold front associated with a potent storm set to dump snow across portions of the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and portions of Canada will push through the South-Central states and part of the Southeast region early this week.
This image, taken on Monday morning, Dec. 6, 2021, shows a line of drenching showers and thunderstorms over parts of the Ohio, Tennessee and lower Mississippi valleys. The most intense storms are indicated as orange and red. (AccuWeather)
Severe storms ramped up on Sunday, with several reports of hail the size of quarters spanning from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Kentucky and Tennessee. Winds up to 65 mph were also reported in Jonesboro, Illinois. A tornado warning was issued for central Jackson County in Illinois on Sunday night, and there was a preliminary report of a tornado in Livingston County, Kentucky.
The National Weather Service in Louisville, Kentucky, confirmed Monday afternoon that an EF1 tornado with peak winds of 95 mph struck the town of Stamping Ground earlier in the day. Stamping Ground is located about 24 miles northwest of Lexington.
Large trees were downed in Slagle, Louisiana, as a possible tornado touched down in the area on Monday morning, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
A tornado-warned storm in northeastern Alabama unleashed high winds that flipped a school bus with the driver inside in Trousdale County before midday Monday, according to Fox Nashville.
"On Monday, thunderstorm activity is likely to continue across the Mississippi Valley," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer said.
Conditions in the atmosphere across portions of the southern Plains and Southeast will be primed to produce a few explosive storms on Monday.
The Storm Prediction Center's severe weather outlook for Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 shows an enhanced risk stretching from eastern Texas to south-central Tennessee. (SPC)
Areas from eastern Texas, through portions of Louisiana and Arkansas and much of Kentucky, will all be at risk for feisty storms early this week. Residents in cities like Houston; Nashville, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, will have to keep an eye to the sky for changing weather.
"The main threats for these storms are expected to be hail and damaging winds, though an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out," Hyde cautioned.
Forecasters say isolated tornadoes cannot be completely ruled out anywhere across the areas at risk for severe weather, but they have pinpointed a more-defined area that may need to take extra precautions.
Areas from eastern Texas through northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas to Mississippi and northwestern Alabama are in the bullseye for isolated tornadoes on Monday, including cities such as Shreveport, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; and Lufkin, Texas.
In the strongest storms, damaging winds can gust in the range of 50-60 mph with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 75 mph.
Winds of this magnitude can be enough to bring down trees or power lines. With the potential for power outages, residents should also make sure all devices are charged up and ready to go before storms arrive.
In addition to hail, wind and isolated tornadoes, any feisty storm has the potential to bring heavy rainfall as well. Flash flooding may occur in any of these heavy downpours, especially in low-lying or poor-drainage areas.
"The trailing cold front will quickly shift across the Northeast on Monday and bring an influx of moisture over the Eastern states while gusty downpours and thunder continue to sweep along the Gulf Coast states on Monday," Smithmyer said.
Portions of Louisiana and Mississippi will continue to deal with drenching, potentially-damaging storms on Monday. Forecasters urge anyone that must travel to allow extra time and be prepared with back-up routes in case of flooded roadways.
Many residents may consider severe weather season to be essentially over by early-December, with the traditional peak in activity falling during the springtime. However, a secondary peak in the severe weather season often occurs during the autumn months.
"This secondary peak is often a result of cold fronts diving southward into warm and humid air masses originating from the Gulf of Mexico, which is a common occurrence with early season snowstorms," Smithmyer explained.
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