Southern States Brace For Rounds Of Flooding Downpours, Severe Weather This Week

Monday, March 15, 2021

AccuWeather meteorologists are urging residents from the southern Plains to the Southeast coast to remain weather aware this week as rounds of flooding rainfall and volatile thunderstorms unfold. The pattern could lead to a multi-day outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes.

The same storm that brought a  historic snowfall to the Rockies and High Plains and severe weather to portions of the southern Plains over the weekend will bring rain and thunderstorms to the Ohio and Tennessee valleys at the start of the week.

Locally severe thunderstorms are forecast to erupt on the leading edge of a puddle of cold air located in the upper levels of the atmosphere in central and northern Missouri Monday afternoon and evening.

Even though these storms may be isolated in nature, they can bring all facets of severe weather ranging from large hail and damaging wind gusts to a couple of tornadoes.

The storms may reach the St. Louis metro area during the evening hours.

The main threat across the Southeast will be areas of downpours that can slow travel and lead to isolated incidents of flash flooding. A few gusty thunderstorms are also possible.

On Tuesday, the storm will stall out over the Southern states, leading to rounds of downpours from Louisiana to the Carolinas throughout the day. Once again, a few storms can become heavy and gusty, and flash flooding will be possible where the heaviest rain persists.

In areas that receive multiple or extended downpours, there can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax of five inches of rainfall from Monday night to Tuesday night.

The next chance for widespread severe weather will arrive across the southern Plains late in the day on Tuesday as the storm that  moved over the West on Monday emerges from the Rocky Mountains.

Here, the storm will gain strength and tap into warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. As this sticky environment clashes with cooler air following in the wake of the storm, this will help to spark severe weather across the Southern states from Tuesday night through Thursday.

"Thunderstorms Tuesday evening and Tuesday night could contain multiple hazards. Heavy rain, hail, high winds and tornadoes are all possible," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said.

The storms late Tuesday may erupt just to the east of the hardest-hit areas of West Texas from over the weekend. At least 20 tornadoes were reported in the region during Saturday and Sunday, according to storm reports from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

Mr. Doll emphasized the importance of residents keeping up-to-date on the severe weather situation, given that most of the violent storms are expected to occur after dark.

"Tornadoes at night are especially dangerous because they can strike when people are asleep. It’s very important to have a way to get severe weather notifications at all times of the day, but especially at night. The AccuWeather app can help with this," Mr. Doll said.

Wichita, Ks.; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Ok.; and Dallas and Wichita Falls, Tx., are some of the locations where residents should make sure cell phones are fully charged and the volume turned up with severe alerts enabled prior to heading to bed.

Severe weather dangers will spread eastward heading into the middle and latter part of the week.

The same severe weather hazards, including hail, damaging winds and tornadoes, will exist Wednesday and Wednesday night, but farther east into the Mississippi Valley and Southeast, according to Mr. Doll.

"Roads could become flooded due to heavy rain, and hail, high winds and tornadoes could lead to property damage," Mr. Doll said. The flood risk will be greatest in areas of the South that receive repeated downpours early in the week.

Wind gusts could reach an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 80 mph with the storms Tuesday night through Wednesday night, so power outages will also be a big concern.

"It is possible that the period from Wednesday afternoon to Wednesday night brings a significant number of tornadoes and may be the biggest period for tornadoes of the multiple-day severe weather threat," AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said.


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