Spring begins the typical uptick in tornadoes across the U.S., and right on cue, a multiday severe weather threat with tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail looms for parts of the South in the season’s first week.
An area of low pressure is expected to punch east out of the Rockies around the middle of the week ahead and track across the central and eastern U.S. through late week. As it does so, it will draw warm, humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
A cold front associated with the low-pressure system will sweep across the South and overlap with that Gulf moisture, adding instability to the atmosphere and likely triggering the development of severe thunderstorms.
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“You need to make sure that you are weather aware as we go late in the week,” FOX Weather meteorologist Jane Minar said. “Thursday and Friday are the days that we’re going to be highlighting here.”
While we’re still several days away from this potential multiday severe weather threat, here’s what the FOX Forecast Center can tell you right now.
Severe weather threat likely begins Thursday in southern Plains
While a few severe storms can’t be completely ruled out Wednesday in parts of Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, the severe weather threat will likely ramp up beginning Thursday in the southern Plains.
The highest threat of severe thunderstorms is expected to be near the cold front across portions of Oklahoma and northern Texas on Thursday afternoon, potentially continuing into Thursday night in some areas. Cities at risk of severe storms include Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.
A few tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail are all possible with these storms.
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Severe storms slide east into lower Mississippi Valley, Southeast on Friday
The severe weather threat will shift east on Friday, with the highest threat stretching from the lower Mississippi Valley into parts of the Southeast.
This includes Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee, Birmingham in Alabama and Jackson in Mississippi.
Similar to Thursday, the storms on Friday will also be capable of producing a few tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail.
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Heavy rain, flash flooding also a threat
Heavy rain will also be a threat later this week, even in areas that don’t see severe weather.
A large area from the southern Plains to the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys faces the risk of flash flooding on Thursday as the storm system moves across those regions.
Between 1 and 3 inches of rain is expected from parts of the South to the Ohio Valley, with the heaviest rain expected Thursday and Friday. The highest rainfall amounts will likely be focused across the Ohio Valley.