A severe weather outbreak is expected to impact the South late this week into the weekend. A potent upper-level storm system will dig into the Southwest late this week. Out ahead of this storm system, temperatures will climb 10-20 degrees above average with dewpoints soaring into the 60s & 70s. This airmass is unusually warm & moist (unstable) for early January.
As the storm moves east, it will spread high wind shear into parts of the South beginning Friday. This wind shear paired with the warm & moist airmass will allow thunderstorms to develop and quickly become severe on Friday. These severe storms will continue overnight Friday into Saturday as the system and associated shear advance east.
Friday, severe thunderstorms will erupt along the I-35 corridor in Texas & Oklahoma by late-afternoon. These storms will race east across eastern Oklahoma & eastern Texas during the evening hours on Friday. During the overnight hours Friday, storms will move into southern Missouri, Arkansas & Louisiana. Thunderstorms will produce tornadoes, damaging winds & large hail. The greatest severe risk Friday includes southeastern Oklahoma, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana & eastern Texas. It should be noted, all areas included within the Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 risk categories have a chance to see severe thunderstorms.
The severe threat will shift east throughout Saturday. By early afternoon, the severe threat will exist across central Tennessee & eastern Mississippi. The severe threat will then shift east into the late-afternoon/evening hours for Alabama, western Georgia & the Florida Panhandle. Similarly to Friday, all modes of severe weather are expected. Tornadoes, damaging winds & large hail all possible.
A flash flood threat also exists. The greatest flood hazard will reside across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee & northern Georgia.
Christopher Nunley is Meteorologist on Firsthand Weather, Lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University (MSU), and a PhD Candidate (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) at MSU. He earned his M.S. in Applied Meteorology at MSU, was an Assistant Cross Country Coach and taught at the University of North Texas, and was a Broadcast Meteorologist at KTEN-TV (just north of Dallas, Texas). Christopher’s main focus lies within teaching and inspiring prospective meteorology students, atmospheric research to further our understanding of atmospheric processes, and forecasting and analyzing extreme weather events to help save lives!