Significant severe weather, tornado outbreak to aim for southern US this weekend

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 12, 2019, 7:36:02 AM EDT


A significant outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes, is likely for part of the South Central and Southeastern states this Palm Sunday weekend.

People are encouraged to closely monitor the weather this weekend in the South as the forecast for severe storms poses a significant risk to lives and property.

The anticipated severe weather and tornado event is coming only a couple of days after an attention-grabbing massive storm blasted the central United States.

A smaller but potent storm is forecast to take a path from Texas to Michigan spanning Saturday to Monday.

The storm is poised to tap into surging warmth and moisture, while a strong jet stream sweeps overhead over the lower Mississippi Valley.

There has not yet been such a strong and widespread surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico so far this season and that has AccuWeather meteorologists concerned that this could be one of the worst outbreaks of severe weather this year.

"Saturday into Saturday night may bring the greatest risk for and greatest number of tornadoes [of this outbreak]," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

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The setup is such where some of the tornadoes may be strong and on the ground for more than a few minutes.

The full spectrum of severe weather is anticipated, ranging from damaging wind gusts and large hail to frequent lightning strikes, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Ultimately, the amount of sunshine that occurs in the region ahead of the thunderstorms that erupt may determine the magnitude of the event.

Only where thick cloud cover remains through the arrival of a sweep of drier and cooler air might violent tornadoes be avoided.

The threat area during Saturday will extend from eastern Texas through much of Louisiana, western Mississippi and central and southeastern Arkansas.

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During Saturday night, the risk of severe storms will progress eastward, but it may take the better part of the night for areas east of the Mississippi in the aforementioned zone to be in the clear.

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Storms hitting after dark Saturday night will add to the dangers, especially in parts of eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, southwestern and middle Tennessee and western Alabama.

On Palm Sunday, the risk of severe weather will progress farther to the east in the Southern states.

"It appears the severe thunderstorms may organize into more of a squall line on Sunday," Pydynowski said.

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"While there may still be the risk of a few tornadoes, storms with high winds and flash flooding may be the main threat by Sunday."

On Sunday, areas from southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle to much of Alabama, eastern Tennessee and the western and central parts of Georgia and South Carolina and part of western North Carolina will be at risk for severe weather.

The storms may not reach the central areas of Georgia and the Carolinas until late Sunday or Sunday evening.

Part of the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia may be affected by approaching showers and severe thunderstorms later Sunday.

Download the free AccuWeather app to receive the latest forecast and severe weather watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirectTV, Frontier and Verion Fios.


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