Severe storms to threaten wind damage, flooding in southern US into early Sunday
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
February 24, 2018, 11:53:09 PM EST
The potential for damaging thunderstorms into early Sunday will target an area that has been hit by heavy rain and rising floodwaters in recent days.
The severe weather outbreak has already turned deadly.
While the severe weather threat has diminished across northeast Texas, Arkansas, northwestern Mississippi and western Tennessee, thunderstorms capable of producing flash flooding and damaging winds will continue to sweep across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys into early Sunday.
"At this time we feel the greatest risk to lives and property will stem from strong straight-line wind gusts and flash flooding," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
However, there is also a risk of isolated tornadoes being spawned by the strongest thunderstorms. This risk will diminish as Saturday night progresses.
It will be important for residents to keep up to date on local watches and warnings.
Due to the saturated soil, trees will be especially susceptible to falling even in moderately windy conditions. This could lead to blocked roads and damaged power lines across the affected region.
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Anyone venturing out should travel with extreme caution and be aware of flooded areas, debris on roads as well as fallen trees and large branches.
Travel on the roadways will be slow in any storms due to heavy rain, strong winds and low visibility.
Airline delays are also possible from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Little Rock, Arkansas, to Nashville, especially as the heaviest storms pass through.
"The risk of severe thunderstorms will end from northwest to southeast over the area at risk early Sunday," Sosnowski said.
Many will see sunshine for the first time in about a week as dry weather finally returns on Sunday. The exception may be along and south of I-20 as downpours will continue.
A few thunderstorms may briefly become severe along the central Gulf Coast on Sunday. Farther north, rain may impact the NASCAR race in Atlanta.
The dry spell is not expected to last long as a new round of severe thunderstorms and flooding may unfold on the final day of February.
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