Parts of the South that endured severe weather outbreaks in consecutive weeks won’t be able to catch a break in the near future. AccuWeather forecasters say more volatile weather will arrive as soon as this weekend, and stormy weather could be unrelenting even into next week.
Communities were once again picking up the pieces on Friday after a destructive day of weather. At least six people were killed after long-lived tornadoes touched down and caused devastation across parts of Alabama and western Georgia on Thursday and Thursday night. In total, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center reported a total of 23 tornadoes with one in Mississippi, five in Georgia, and 17 in Alabama.
Just a week earlier, a tornado outbreak spawned dozens of twisters, again with Alabama placed squarely in the crosshairs. Parts of Louisiana and Mississippi also faced heavy damage from violent storms. Despite widespread damage, no fatalities were reported. Officials and forecasters credited communities for being prepared and hunkering down during storm and tornado warnings for the miraculous outcome.
The turbulent weather pattern that developed during the middle to the latter part of March is expected to continue through the final weekend of the month — and perhaps beyond that, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.
“Another feisty storm is forecast to shift from the central Plains to the Great Lakes this weekend, bringing with it the threat of more flooding and severe weather, across the southern U.S.,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said.
Many of the classic ingredients necessary to trigger severe weather will be present with the setup on Saturday, including warm, moist air streaming northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
“At this time, the threat of severe weather is not as high as those that have recently hit the region, but it only takes one strong storm to cause damage,” Walker warned.
The main severe weather threats, in addition to frequent lightning, are likely to be heavy downpours, hail, and damaging wind gusts from central Kentucky down to northern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. An isolated tornado or two can touch down from the strongest storms.
Some communities may deal with several rounds of heavy thunderstorms, which will reduce visibility and escalate the risk of water ponding on roadways, which could hamper travel.
(Image credit: Accuweather)
Gusty winds could also make for dangerous cross-winds for high-profile vehicles, and widespread strong winds could cause tree damage and lead to power outages in the area.
In the line of fire will be some of the same areas already threatened by severe weather this month, including Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, down to Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi. Even if widespread severe weather does not occur over the weekend, any cleanup efforts still ongoing following the previous rounds of severe weather could be slowed.
Severe weather threats will shift eastward across the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states on Sunday.
More bouts of rain may be on the way for the southern U.S. again next week, with the next round of wet weather expected on Monday or Tuesday.