Severe Storms to Threaten Damaging Winds, Flooding Across Deep South
By By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist
November 17, 2015, 9:03:38 PM EST
Click here to see the latest reports of the severe weather and blizzard conditions across the south-central U.S.
A powerful storm system will bring the risk for severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes and flooding from the southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley through Tuesday night.
The storms will bring a risk to lives and property and cause travel delays over the Central states.
"A strong storm system will swing across the Plains and will provide the right ingredients for severe thunderstorms to fire across the Deep South," AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott said.
Individual thunderstorms began to erupt from the Texas Panhandle through western Kansas on Monday afternoon and quickly became severe.
Dozens of tornadoes, some long-lived, erupted from the Texas Panhandle into southern Nebraska early Monday night.
These individual thunderstorms congealed into a squall line late Monday night, with damaging winds now the main threat.
A squall line is a fairly continuous line of thunderstorms that is notorious for bringing high wind gusts and torrential downpours. These lines of storms can reach hundreds of miles long and can move along a path for a thousand miles.
Parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and Mississippi are at risk for severe thunderstorms through Tuesday.
Anyone living in or traveling through these states should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.
Conditions will still be favorable for a few tornadoes to spin up within or ahead of the squall line into Tuesday night. The greatest risk for a tornado extends from northern Louisiana to central and eastern Arkansas.
Gusts from the strongest storms can cause property damage, knock over trees and snap power poles.
On Tuesday, the squall line will pass through the eastern portions of Texas, southern Missouri, Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern and western Louisiana.
Cities at risk on Tuesday include Longview and Houston, Texas; Springfield, Missouri; Little Rock and Eldorado, Arkansas; and Shreveport and Alexandria, Louisiana.
The severe threat will continue to press eastward into Tuesday night from western and central portions of Kentucky and Tennessee to much of Mississippi.
In addition to the severe thunderstorm threat, very heavy rain will fall in a short period of time and can lead to widespread flooding.
Up to 6 inches of rain could fall in some locations centered on the Mississippi Valley from Missouri and Illinois to Louisiana and Mississippi.
Flooding may not be limited to urban areas. Small streams can spill out of their banks very quickly. Significant rises can occur on the tributaries to the major rivers with a risk of flooding unprotected areas.
Never drive through a flooded roadway. Only a small amount of water can wash vehicles off the road.
Rounds of heavy rain in recent weeks have reduced the abnormally dry and drought conditions over the South Central states.
The soil is very damp to saturated in many locations. Only a brief heavy downpour could lead to flooding.
Despite the rainfall, some areas in Oklahoma and Arkansas remain abnormally dry according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Use AccuWeather Minutecast® to track the severe thunderstorms across your area. Mobile users can use their GPS location.
The threat for severe weather and widespread flooding will begin to diminish as the squall line reaches the central Gulf Coast. Storms will still contain gusty winds and heavy rain at the local level in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys as well as the central Gulf Coast states.
On Thursday, drenching rain and thunderstorms will reach the Interstate-95 corridor, where localized flooding and travel disruptions are likely.
The storm system responsible for the severe weather will bring blizzard conditions from Colorado to Kansas and Nebraska through Tuesday..
Content contributed by AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
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