Severe storms to linger through weekend. Watch for flooding
Friday, April 21, 2017, 7:21 - A new weather system developing early Friday east of the Rockies could potentially bring a round of severe weather from the South/Central Plains, across the Mississippi River Valley and eventually into portions of the Southeast US.
Below: Friday precipitation forecast (Courtesy: WxBell)
As this low pressure center tracks to the east, plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will flow into the system. This plume of surface humidity, combined with a strong upper level jet stream characterized by a intense mid-level wind shear, will lead to the formation of severe thunderstorms. This line of very active weather is expected to move east on Friday from the Kansas/Oklahoma/Texas Panhandle area into the Central Mississippi River Valley.
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Click play to watch below: Storm track and timing
Friday storms severe across southern Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Mississippi
On Friday severe thunderstorms are expected to roll across portions of southern Kansas and Oklahoma into Arkansas and then across the Mississippi Valley later in the day. General thunderstorm activity will extend north and south of this region producing gusty storm winds and large hail as well. Tornado formation is a possibility, especially in areas where supercell thunderstorms appear.
Below: Precipitation forecast Friday into Saturday (Courtesy: National Weather Service - NWS)
According to the NWS 24 hour precipitation forecast, between mid-Friday and mid- Saturday, heavy persistent precipitation and local flooding can also occur along a large swath extending from northwest Oklahoma, into southern Missouri and northern Arkansas where 2 to 4 inches are possible. Portions of eastern Kentucky and southern Illinois could also be affected by flood waters.
Tornado 101: Everything you need to know about staying safe
Severe Weather threat extends south and east on Saturday
Details of the exact area of severe weather threats on Saturday will have to be updated as the weekend nears. Model predictions tend to move the area of most active weather east and south as the day progresses.
Below: Saturday Sea Level Pressure and the Precipitation forecast (Courtesy: WxBell)
Some counties of Louisiana, Mississippi, northern Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky will experience strong gusty winds, large hail, heavy rain, local flooding and the potential for some tornados to touch the ground.
Despite the severe weather threat for all these areas of the southeast, non damaging precipitation will be very welcome in some of the mention states which are still undergoing a moderate to severe drought situation. Rain is still very needed in large areas of northern Georgia and extreme western portions of the Carolinas.
Severe weather reaches the Southeast on Sunday
If the predicted storm track holds into the weekend, on Sunday severe thunderstorms will eventually move across a large swath of the southeast. Heavy rain, gusty winds and large hail are expected anywhere from the Florida panhandle into Georgia, and across the Carolinas into Virginia.
Below: Sunday precipitation forecast (Courtesy: WxBell)
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Heavy showers could lead to localized flooding across Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia although the largest values will most likely be recorded along the Appalachians. 2 to 4 inches of rain are likely in some of these areas in just a 24 hour period.
Below: Sunday Severe Risk (SPC)
As the week progresses, we will update any information relevant to the severe weather outbreak expected to affect much of the south central and southeast states between Friday and Sunday.
Below: Precipitation forecast Saturday-Sunday (Courtesy: National Weather Service)
Watch below: Long Range Forecast