A severe weather outbreak is likely today across the Southeast. Several tornadoes are possible, some could be large with long tracks on the ground. Supercells will create large hail and damaging winds as well. It has been an active few days in the South and Plains with dozens of severe weather reports and more will occur today.
A moderate risk for severe storms has been mapped out by the Storm Prediction Center. Due to ripe conditions in the atmosphere, an upgrade to a high risk is possible later today. As of this writing, a Tornado Watch is already in effect for parts of Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.
— NWS SPC (@NWSSPC) April 5, 2017
When compared to other days over the last week, the tornado risk is higher today. An outbreak of tornadoes, some EF3 or larger, is possible. Hail larger than golf balls and wind gusts greater than 70 mph may occur as well.
A strong Jet Stream is digging into the Southeast from the Central Plains. Mid-level dry air and energy will help to support severe storms development. Wind direction is changing with height, from southerly winds at the surface to southwesterly aloft. This provides ample wind shear, which is necessary for tornadoes. The first wave of storms has been developing along a warm front, with more storms likely this afternoon and evening with a cold front.
Humidity levels are climbing in the atmosphere, with the flow increasing off the Gulf of Mexico. This will help to aid in severe weather development, along with the concern for heavy rainfall. Flash Flood Watches have been issued in Georgia and South Carolina for rainfall totals that could reach to 3″ to 4″ in the heaviest storms.
Supercells have already been developing in Alabama and Georgia this morning and more will occur into this afternoon. Storms will continue to push across Georgia into South Carolina, with additional development in Tennessee and Alabama this afternoon and evening.
Later tonight, the cold front will blast across the southeast, creating a squall line of thunderstorms. Tornadoes, large hail, and damaging wind gusts are likely as the storms move eastward along the cold front into the overnight.
Stay tuned to WeatherNation on-air and online at weathernationtv.com throughout the day for updates on the potential severe weather outbreak. We will have live reports with the latest radar and warnings, along with storm chasers in the field.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels