We’re tracking what may become a substantial tornado threat on Saturday from the ArkLaTex region through central Mississippi. The ingredients needed for severe weather are present, although not everything is expected to line up perfectly which would produce a huge severe weather outbreak, at least at this time.
A weak area of low pressure will develop Friday night over the Southern Plains, which will spark the development of rain and thunderstorms Saturday morning across eastern Texas into much of Louisiana, southern Arkansas, western Mississippi, and possibly into the Tennessee River Valley. Because this precipitation will be widespread and steady, instability will be practically non-existent so we do not anticipate severe weather at this point. However, the dynamics are present to produce tornadoes already, so a few embedded tornadoes are possible during the morning hours in the outlined severe weather risk zone below.
As we get into the afternoon and evening, the risk for severe weather, including damaging winds and tornadoes, increases. Showers and thunderstorms will build back from Louisiana through Alabama and into the Tennessee Valley. Now in eastern Texas, a few showers and storms are possible but most of the activity looks to be to the east. This is where it becomes interesting because in eastern Texas, that’s where the best dynamics are present for severe weather. There will be strong winds aloft, instability throughout the atmosphere, and directional wind sheer. At the surface, winds will be coming off from the Gulf of Mexico, pulling in moisture with a southernly vector. Then into the mid-levels, winds will take a turn, coming out of the southwest. It’s not until you get into the upper-levels closer to the jet stream where winds are forecast to come out of the west, as shown on the graphic below. So even though severe storms have the best chance in the ArkLaTex, we wouldn’t be surprised if the worst storms, if any storms develop, occur in eastern Texas.
The severe weather risk will continue for portions of the Gulf Coast states, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, Saturday night. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast across portions of the Gulf Coast states from Louisiana through Alabama as well as into Georgia and the Carolinas.
On Sunday, the rain will slowly move east while a cold front clears the moisture back toward the west, thus ending the wet weather there. Non-severe, showers and storms are expected across the Carolinas, Georgia, into much of Florida, and along the Gulf Coast. Also a few lingering showers cannot be ruled out from eastern Texas through the Mid-Mississippi Valley.
By Sunday night, much of the activity will clear out into the Atlantic, but lingering showers and thunderstorms are expected at times from coastal South Carolina into southern Georgia and across portions of Florida.