Mississippi to Michigan on alert for severe storms with damaging winds

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 15, 2019, 2:51:56 AM EDT

Severe thunderstorms, some with tornadoes, will shift eastward across the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys into Thursday night, following severe weather over the south-central United States into Wednesday.

The entire swath from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana can expect showers and thunderstorms that have the potential to bring damaging wind gusts.

The severe weather risk extends to the Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland metro areas.

Strong gusts, in some cases topping 70 mph, can occur even without any thunder and lightning.

In addition to the extensive risk for damaging wind gusts, enough rain can fall in a short period of time to aggravate existing flooding of the larger rivers and spur on new flooding along small streams.

Some hail may accompany the stronger thunderstorms.

From near the Interstate 94 corridor to near the I-20 corridor, there will be the potential for a few isolated tornadoes to develop.

The main tornado risk in this zone will be for brief spin-up tornadoes along the advancing line of thunderstorms. However, a few isolated thunderstorms ahead of the line may produce a longer-lived tornado as well.

Severe 3 pm

A tornado just missed hitting the National Weather Service forecast office in West Paducah, Kentucky, during the late morning hours on Thursday.

Radar was showing some very dangerous thunderstorms from Mississippi and Alabama to central Indiana and western Ohio as of the mid-afternoon hours on Thursday.

People spending time outdoors or on the roads in the region should keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions. All interests in the severe weather zone should closely monitor weather bulletins as they are issued.

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People are urged to seek shelter immediately at the first sign of a storm.

This severe weather risk will be associated with a push of colder air that will cut into building warm and humid conditions in the South and a taste of spring farther north.

The conditions are being set into motion by a powerful winter storm that brought both blizzard conditions and flooding to the North Central states at midweek.

The same storm has been producing a swath of high winds over a 1 million square mile area of the Central states.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to the latest forecast and receive severe weather watches and warnings.

Much more tranquil weather will take hold over the region during Friday and Saturday as chillier air settles in.

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