Texas and the Southeast Brace for Tornadoes and Heavy Rain

A strong storm system capable of producing large hail, isolated tornadoes, damaging winds and flooding was forecast to slam the South and Southeast through Tuesday, meteorologists said.

While thunderstorms are common in the region throughout the year, severe weather reaches its peak during March, April and May, according to the National Weather Service.

As a strong front producing rain and snow over the Rockies moves east, a wave of low pressure will develop over the Southern High Plains, the Weather Service said. That system will pull moisture northward over the plains and Mississippi Valley from the Gulf of Mexico. As of Monday morning, several areas in the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley were under an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms.

The rolling storms could produce frequent lightning, heavy wind gusts, hail, tornadoes and excessive rainfall that could lead to flash flooding, meteorologists said.

Here is a glance at the forecast by region.

Stormy weather begins Monday afternoon in Texas.

About 13 million people across central and eastern Texas were under an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms on Monday, including the cities of Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, according to the Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

A larger area that outlined a slight risk for thunderstorms covered several million more people and reached to western Louisiana, the southwest tip of Arkansas and the southernmost portion of Oklahoma.

From Monday evening through Tuesday morning, portions of Texas could see up to four inches of rain, with isolated higher amounts along with possible street flooding, the Weather Service in Houston said.

While there was uncertainty about the exact timing of the storms and which areas would receive the heaviest rain, meteorologists told residents to prepare.

Storms move to the Southeast on Tuesday.

As the storms push eastward on Tuesday, more than two million people in portions of Louisiana and Mississippi will be under a moderate risk of severe weather. Some of the cities under that warning include Baton Rouge, La., and Jackson, Miss.

More than four million people will be under an enhanced risk for severe storms, circling the southwestern edges of Louisiana through most of Mississippi and a portion of Alabama.

The main threat on Tuesday will be tornadoes and damaging winds before and after the storm, the Weather Service in New Orleans said, adding that hail greater than an inch in diameter could develop. Up to three inches of rainfall was forecast. A tornado outbreak was also likely on Tuesday.

Areas in Mississippi could see winds as strong as 70 miles per hour and hail the size of golf balls, forecasters said. Similar conditions were expected in other portions of the state.

In Memphis, Tenn., about three inches of rain was expected. Areas eastward, including Georgia, were expected to see lower amounts of rain.

Parts of the East Coast will be under a marginal and slight risk for severe weather beginning Wednesday.

Source: NY Times