2nd multi-day severe weather, tornado outbreak in a week looms for US
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 18, 2019, 12:55:06 PM EDT
For the latest forecast on the current severe weather outbreak, go to this story.
A severe weather outbreak, including the threat for tornadoes, will extend through the nighttime hours through Friday night, bringing a heightened risk to those in its path.
The unfolding outbreak will be the second in less than a week for portions of the South, Midwest and the East. At least two dozen states are likely to be hit with severe thunderstorms during this week's outbreak.
While the number of tornadoes produced by this setup may be lower than the more than 60 twisters produced this past weekend, all it takes is for one tornado to strike a populated area to threaten lives and cause great property damage.
There were multiple reports of tornadoes in rural areas across the southern U.S. There was a confirmed tornado near Higgins, Texas Wednesday evening and a small, brief tornado in Oklahoma.
At least nine people died in the storms last weekend, including three children.
Nocturnal thunderstorms with high winds and tornadoes are especially dangerous as there is the risk that people will sleep through warnings and some others may not hear the dangerous storms coming.
This severe weather threat, like the one spanning this past Friday to Monday, includes the full spectrum of potentially damaging and dangerous phenomena ranging from high wind gusts to large hail, flash flooding, frequent lightning strikes and tornadoes.
The storms will hit as travel, outdoor plans and religious services ramp up as the Easter holiday approaches.
On Wednesday and Wednesday night, storms pummeled much of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Damaging winds snapped branches and toppled power lines, leaving tens of thousands without power by Thursday morning.
Severe weather to push slowly eastward Thursday
During the day Thursday, the risk of severe thunderstorms and the potential for isolated tornadoes will extend from southern Illinois western Kentucky to near the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
That night, this risk will advance slowly eastward and is likely to extend from central Kentucky to the Alabama and Florida panhandles. There is still some risk of violent storms, including tornadoes, after dark in this swath.
Storms with the risk of flash flooding and powerful wind gusts may reach the Atlanta metro area either late Thursday night or first thing Friday morning. Expect major airline and motorist delays during this time.
Severe weather risk to reach Atlantic coast Friday
The storm producing severe weather is likely to gain some strength and get a bump in moisture as it nears the Atlantic Ocean on Friday and Friday night.
"Friday has the potential to bring an elevated risk of severe weather, including a few storms with tornadoes and large hail to areas in the Carolinas," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
"The most likely area for tornadoes may be close to the Carolina coast, where a breeze from the Atlantic Ocean may impart extra spin in the low levels of the atmosphere," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
The risk of severe storms is likely to extend farther north in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and farther south in Georgia and the Florida Peninsula from late Friday to Friday night.
Even storms in portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and New York state are likely to be heavy and may become briefly severe.
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The major cities of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City, can be hit with heavy enough rain to cause travel delays related to flooding and perhaps wind gusts strong enough to cause property damage.
Locally gusty storms still possible Saturday in Northeast
While the greatest threat for severe thunderstorms is likely to have diminished substantially by Saturday midday in New England, there is still the potential for gusty storms that can break tree limbs.
Flash and urban flooding will be the main threat in much of the Northeast, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts.
People are urged to take the severe weather threat seriously and have a plan of action in place before storms hit.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to severe weather watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
In addition to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, the same storm system will aggravate existing flooding and may bring new flooding to portions of the Central states.
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