An outbreak of potentially damaging thunderstorms is developing across the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys. Not only will a few destructive tornadoes be possible, but very large and damaging hail, high winds, and even flooding will be big problems as well, reports the WeatherBug Meteorology Team.
Due to the threat for severe weather Tornado Watches are in effect for parts of Arkansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky, including the cities of Little Rock, Ark., Springfield, Mo., and Paducah, Ky.
For a complete look at the current watches and warnings across the U.S. visit the WeatherBug site.
Several arcing clusters of strong thunderstorms are already stampeding across Missouri, Arkansas and northeastern Texas. Following along a warm front dividing warm and humid air to its south from dry, Arctic air to its north, the thunderstorms will only continue to multiply as they sweep deeper eastward through the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys and Mid-South today.
Unfortunately, today’s already potent storms are only a precursor to a potentially larger and more dangerous outbreak this afternoon and evening from northernmost Louisiana into southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. In fact, the threat is so high the government’s Storm Prediction Center has maintained a Moderate Risk for significant severe weather into Friday morning.
Triggered by the merging of a cold front and dry line, the thunderstorms will quickly explode as rich and moisture-laden Gulf of Mexico air ahead of it meets up with much cooler, drier Canadian air in its wake. The end result will be several waves of damaging thunderstorms rumbling across the Lower Mississippi Valley, Mid-South and lower Ohio Valley by this afternoon and evening. Even the Tennessee Valley will see an increase threat of destructive thunderstorms tonight into Friday.
In addition to the possibility of a few violent and long-tracked tornadoes, high winds gusting up to 80 mph and hail up to baseball size will be on the weather menu as well.
Even surrounding the heightened severe weather danger zone will be equally dangerous thunderstorms patrolling eastern Texas all the way to Ohio tonight into Friday. In fact, a mini-outbreak of tornadoes will likely develop across the Deep South tonight, with damaging wind exceeding 60 mph and large hail also possible. Houston, Nashville, Tenn., Bowling Green, Ky., and Columbus, Ohio, are just a few places that could be impacted by severe weather.
As if the severe weather weren’t enough, the thunderstorms stomping repeatedly across the Missouri and Ohio valleys through Friday will produce 2 to 4 inches of heavy rainfall. Flood and Flash Flood Watches stretch from Missouri to Ohio along the Interstate 70 corridor. Here, recent heavy rain coupled with excessive runoff will overwhelm streams, rivers, creeks and storm drains, creating a growing flood threat.
Remember, if you approach a flooded roadway, it is best to, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Get more flooding safety tips on our blog post.