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Mid-Mississippi Valley Severe Threat Increasing Thursday

The severe weather threat for the Mid-South and Mid-Mississippi Valley has increased.

A Slight Risk (Level 2 out of 5) has been added for southern Illinois through western Tennessee and parts of the Ozarks. While scattered severe storms capable of gusty straight line winds of 60 mph and/or hail 1″ or larger are the main threats, a brief tornado is possible as well. In the surrounding Marginal Risk areas (Level 1 out of 5) the potential is lower for severe storms, but an isolated severe storm can’t be ruled out.


This comes as a jet stream level low swings through the region and provides the lift and wind shear needed for thunderstorm development.


The upper low combines with limited energy along a cold front. While surface energy is on the lower side, there’s enough energy due to returning moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and lift along the cold front to generate  isolated to scattered severe storms.

Gusty winds of 60 mph or higher is the greatest threat through the risk area today (Thursday). Areas in yellow have the higher chance for gusty 60 mph winds as a line of thunderstorms moves through in the afternoon and early evening. This is mainly along and east of the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Memphis, TN and east almost to Nashville.


A brief tornado can’t be ruled out either, especially in any bowing segments that form within the line of storms.  Any storms that form ahead of the cold front will also have the chance for rotation.



As energy increases along the cold front in the afternoon and the upper low passes overhead, thunderstorm coverage and intensity will increase. A line of storms with gusty winds and hail is expected from western Ohio through the Mid-South.

The line of storms will move through quickly in the late afternoon and evening. By late evening into the overnight hours, energy will be lessening and thunderstorm strength will decrease as well.

Paducah, Kentucky is one of the spots included in the Slight Risk today (Thursday). Once this system clears out, an active pattern builds in to start the weekend with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast through mid-week next week.

This is one of our top weather headlines. Stay tuned to WeatherNation for updates on this story, which will also be included in the Eastern Regional forecast at :10 past the hour, every hour!

About the author
Kara has always been passionate about weather and knew from an early age that she wanted to become a meteorologist. Living in different regions of the country and experiencing weather events ranging from ice storms to tornadoes drove her to pursue a bachelor's degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Throughout college, storm chasing became a regular event for Kara, where she saw fir... Load Morest-hand the power of the atmosphere. Kara graduated cum laude from OU and decided to further her meteorology education with a Master's degree from Mississippi State University. The deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak struck while Kara was studying at MSU; her first “Dixie Alley” tornado event and an up close glimpse into the destruction of the storms she so closely studied. Her broadcast career began in Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi, where she earned her Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society. Kara's career has included coverage of all types of severe weather including tornado events, flooding and tropical systems across multiple southern states. Recently she helped cover the 2020 Easter Sunday deadly tornado outbreak in southeast Mississippi. In her free time, you can find Kara outdoors exploring new areas with her mini poodle,Truffles. Kara is also an avid runner and frequently races in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. Say hi to Kara on Twitter and Facebook!