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Severe storm outbreak developing in South

Severe storm outbreak developing in South

Tractor-trailer heading down a highway with dark storm cloud ahead.

Several southern states are in the target zone for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes the next two days. Truckers will have to dodge the dangerous weather from the Plains all the way to the Carolinas.

Many, if not all, the dynamics needed for a widespread outbreak are coming together — warm surface temperatures with much colder air aloft, ample moisture, a strong jet stream, as well as plenty of wind shear (increasing wind speeds with height, along with shifting wind direction with height).

The threat for severe storms Wednesday and Wednesday night includes eastern parts of Texas and Oklahoma, in addition to Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Georgia, western Florida, western Tennessee and southern Missouri. Of particular concern are areas of northeastern Louisiana and southeastern Arkansas to central Mississippi (including Jackson) and western Alabama. This is where the Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare “high risk,” meaning these areas have the best odds of strong tornadoes (EF2 to EF5), large hail of 2 inches or greater in diameter, as well as crosswinds of 75 mph or stronger. However, drivers will also need to be on high alert in places like Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; in addition to Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama.

On Thursday, the threat will be from the southern Appalachians to Florida. The risk for tornadoes, large hail and dangerous winds will impact drivers from Virginia and parts of the Ohio Valley to the Florida Panhandle. However, the greatest chances are from places like Atanta and Macon, Georgia, to all of North and South Carolina. The severe threat should end sometime Thursday evening.

Drivers should make sure their weather apps are set to GPS or government mode. This can be done in the settings of mobile devices and will ensure drivers receive severe weather alerts no matter where they go.

Look for weather updates throughout the week on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.


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17 March 2021, 13:30