Storms to threaten US Gulf coast with flash flooding, isolated tornadoes
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 16, 2017, 7:20:18 AM EST
A potent storm over the south-central United States will bring the threat of severe weather, including isolated tornadoes, near the Gulf coast into midweek.
Wind damage, downed fences and limbs on roadways has been reported in the town of Stafford, Texas, on Tuesday morning, according to the Stafford Police Department. In addition, several buildings and homes had their roofs blown off. There were also several reports of a funnel cloud.
Storm damage has also been reported in the Bridlewood section of Fort Bend County, Texas.
Enough warm and humid air will surge northward to raise the intensity level of thunderstorms from locally heavy and gusty to severe in part of the Deep South.
The most common occurrence during the storms will be for torrential downpours, which can lead to urban and flash flooding.
The strongest storms will bring the risk of damaging wind gusts and large hail. Within a few of the strongest storms, isolated tornadoes can develop.
"The greatest threat for severe thunderstorms and a few tornadoes will extend eastward along the Interstate 10 corridor from the upper Texas coast to the Florida Panhandle," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
"The severe weather threat will sweep eastward at a rapid pace," Walker said.
The severe thunderstorm and tornado threat will shift eastward across southern and central Louisiana during Tuesday afternoon.
During Tuesday night, the threat will shift farther east along the Gulf coast from near New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
"Overall we expect only a few isolated tornadoes with this event, unlike the outbreak that occurred last week," Walker said.
Even so, all it takes is one tornado to hit a populated area to put lives and property at risk, Walker stated.
People on the road or spending time outdoors should keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions and monitor severe weather bulletins as they are issued.
North of the severe thunderstorm threat, drenching rain will slow travel over portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi and parts of Tennessee.
During Wednesday, the drenching rain will shift across the Southeastern states.
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