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Severe Weather Expected in the South Friday

23 Apr 2021, 7:20 pm

After a relatively quiet week of severe weather in the South and Gulf Coast, strong energy moving out of the Rockies brings back the chance for strong to severe thunderstorms. The upper-level trough will bring an element of shear in the atmosphere to enhance rotating thunderstorms while increasing moisture in the atmosphere.

Severe thunderstorms could produce hail near 2″ in diameter, wind gusts of 60-70 mph, and tornadoes.  Flooding rain is also possible

RELATED ARTICLE – Severe Weather for the Southeast to Start the Weekend

At the surface a developing dryline and cold front will bring in the lift to initiate organized thunderstorms for portions of Oklahoma and Texas by this afternoon (Friday), with storms moving into the lower Mississippi Valley into early Saturday.

Risk Areas

The enhanced risk (level 3 out of 5) is where severe weather ingredients are most favorable. The surrounding slight risk (level 2 out of 5) also represents a significant severe threat while the marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) is a less favorable environment for severe storms to develop, but a threat still remains.

Throughout the evening, storms will progress east and retain their strength. Storms will move into the Lower Mississippi River Valley through the evening and overnight hours with gusty straight line winds as the biggest threat. However a tornado cannot be ruled out as low level spin in the atmosphere will be favorable.

With a strong jet stream and substantial wind shear, severe storms will be capable of very large hail and damaging wind gusts.

Hail larger than 2″ is possible with the strongest storms in the afternoon for much of Oklahoma and Texas. The risk for hail greater than 1″ extends from southern Kansas to the Gulf of Mexico.


Forecast Models


Storms will develop in the midday near the dryline in Texas and move east of the I-35 corridor through the late afternoon. Thunderstorms head towards Louisiana into the evening hours and continue throughout the overnight hours as the low level jet kicks in.

By early Saturday morning, heavy rain and storms move into the Southeast. Strong, damaging wind gusts will be the main threat.

Forecast Rainfall

Rain totals throughout the South and Southeast could top 2-3″ in spots. Localized heavier rain totals are possible where storms train across the same places. Brief ponding on the roads is also possible especially in areas that tend to flood easily. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect through Saturday morning for 2-5″ of rain possible with locally higher totals.

As we receive new model data, we will continue to update this story. Be sure to check into WeatherNation for the very latest on the potential for severe storms in the South.

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!