Thunderstorms are forecast by AccuWeather.com to erupt over portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas beginning today.
The initial thunderstorm area will generally be well southwest of communities hit by violent thunderstorms and tornadoes last Friday into Saturday. A zone of showers and rumbles of thunder will swing into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys today.
A storm system dropping across the West through the middle of the week will swing into Texas and the southern Plains today.
From this position, a return flow of warmth and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, strong winds aloft and rising air over the region will provide a favorable environment for thunderstorms spanning today into Friday.
There is the potential for a few of the storms to become locally strong to severe. Large hail and flash flooding appear to be the biggest threats for the region with localized damaging wind gusts.
Areas from northeastern Texas through Arkansas, including southeastern Oklahoma and the northwestern corner of Louisiana, seem to be the mostly likely swath with favorable atmospheric conditions for strong thunderstorms on this afternoon and evening.
Beneficial Rain for Southern Plains
On Friday, the threat for locally severe thunderstorms will shift eastward across Mississippi and Alabama.
According to Severe Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "We will be carefully watching how the storm system plays and any adjustments will be made to the forecast."
"Texas has not had a major severe weather outbreak so far this season and usually by now the Lone Star State has had one outbreak by this point," Kottlowski said.
Once the storm system begins to move again this coming weekend, thunderstorms could erupt farther to the north over the Mississippi Valley and also to the northeast in portions of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. However, the setup does not resemble anything close to the outbreak that occurred late last week.
Strong winds over the region into tonight are not a sign of approaching severe weather, but rather merely a return of warmth.
There is an indication that the storm system may stall and reorganize (reload) over Texas and the South Central states this weekend.
It could be that energy will be released in the form of rounds of drenching rain, instead of repeating gusty thunderstorms from eastern Texas to the Ohio Valley this weekend into next week.
This story was originally published Monday, March 5, 2012 and had been updated.
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