Severe thunderstorms to keep rattling southern US
After more than a dozen states were targeted by severe weather this past week, some of the same areas will be threatened by thunderstorms once again during the first week of April.
A dip in the jet stream across the center of the country, which started late last weekend, allowed an early week storm to travel from the Northwest states to the southern Plains, sparking some stronger thunderstorms on Sunday. Hail larger than a quarter was reported across parts of southwestern Oklahoma.
As the storm progresses east, the area of possible severe weather will become more widespread.
"Severe thunderstorms are expected to erupt across Eastern Texas and reach into the Mississippi River Valley on Monday, including in larger metropolitan areas such as Dallas and San Antonio that could all be at risk," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Kienzle.
Once again, thunderstorms will be capable of producing hail and damaging wind gusts, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 75 mph possible. In addition, flooding downpours as well as isolated tornadoes will be a concern.
Motorists along portions of Interstates 10, 20 and 45 should remain alert, as the gusty winds and heavy rainfall can lead to poor visibility as well as ponding on roadways. Both could bring slowed travel, especially during the afternoon and evening commutes.
The threat for severe weather does not end at the Mississippi River Valley, as AccuWeather meteorologists remain concerned about severe weather across the remainder of the Southeast as midweek approaches.
Two separate storms are forecast to target an area from central Tennessee on southward through the central Gulf Coast and on eastward to the South Carolina beaches into Wednesday. The first is the same storm that is expected to bring severe weather farther west. The second storm will swing through the Plains and into the Midwest late Tuesday into Wednesday, bringing yet another round of thunderstorms to the region.
"These duo storms could put the same locations under the risk for severe thunderstorms two days in a row," warned Kienzle.
Kienzle further explained that cities from New Orleans and Tallahassee, Florida, on northward to Charleston, South Carolina, should all remain alert for severe thunderstorms for the middle of the week.
Along with the threat for severe weather comes concerns around flooding in this region, especially if the same areas are hit by a heavy thunderstorm more than once in a 48-hour period.
At of the end of March, portions of the South remained in a drought, including cities like Augusta and Albany in Georgia, as well as Jackson, Mississippi, New Orleans and Dallas. While rainfall would likely be beneficial to the overall drought conditions, thunderstorms often bring too much rain too quickly, causing the water to pool in low-lying areas instead of being absorbed into the ground.
"It's possible that the Southeast could see rainfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour in the heaviest thunderstorms," said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Expert Meteorologist Paul Pastelok earlier this week.
Residents should be prepared for both the severe weather and the threat for flooding by having a plan prior to the storm's arrival as well as having a reliable way to receive watches and warnings, like the AccuWeather App.
Many of the same areas that have been struck by severe weather so far this spring will once again be at risk for more damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Jacksboro, Texas, a community about 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth, is one of the many areas reeling from the active spring. Residents in the city are still cleaning up from an EF3 tornado that struck the area Monday, March 21. Jacksboro's elementary and high schools both took a direct hit from the twister's estimated 140-mph winds. Those in the New Orleans area could also be threatened by severe weather once again following an EF3 tornado that badly damaged portions of the city that were also hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
On Wednesday, March 30, more than two dozen preliminary tornadoes were spawned from near the Texas-Louisiana border to the western Florida Panhandle. Preliminarily, this active day pushed the tornado count so far in March 2022 past 200, which, once confirmed, would break the tornado record for March of 192 set in 2017. The average number of tornadoes across the United States in the month of March is 75, spread across 21 states, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.
In early March, AccuWeather long-range meteorologists predicted that 2022 would be filled with more tornadoes than in recent years.
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