Tornado Damage in Dixie Alley, Storms Tonight in Same Area
[ABOVE: Stunning footage of a massive tornado that struck Louisville, MS Monday night via BaseHunters Chasing.]
Severe weather has been a top story for the past two days now, but we aren’t out of the woods just yet. Monday night’s storms brought down entire cities and left a wide berth of destruction across parts of 5 states (map created 9am Tuesday):
At least 2 dozen people lost their lives in these powerful storms over the past two days, and we still have one more round with severe weather this evening before blue skies return. Storms were still rumbling even into Tuesday morning in northern Florida, with hail, lightning, and heavy rain.
[ABOVE: Lightning just offshore in Panama City, FL from Facebook friend Gary Cooper.]
Tonight’s storm threat highlights many of the same areas as Monday evening. People who are doing storm clean-up will need to stay weather-aware and have a safety plan ready as storms are likely to pass over already damaged areas. This is the zone with the best chance for severe weather:
This MODERATE risk zone has a significant tornado risk associated with it, and strong storms could produce tornadoes once again tonight.
Why so many tornadoes? Well, a lot of factors go into storm development and many different forces play into tornado formation, but one sign to look for when forecasting strong thunderstorms is wind shear. Wind shear (winds that change direction & speed as you move upward in the atmosphere) can contribute to upward motion in thunderstorms as well as rotation, both of which aid in tornado formation. Not a sure-fire bet, but a good indication of the potential strength of storms that have yet to form.
This is what wind shear looks like today in the Southeast:
Note southerly winds at the surface, enhancing the moisture in the lower layers of the atmosphere, and the strong westerly flow at the mid-level (500mb refers to air about 18,000 – 20,000 feet above the surface). The winds turn clockwise with height (called “veering” by meteorologists) and increase in speed, so upward motion will be supported as storms form through the day today.
We’ll have continuing coverage of the severe weather through this evening on WeatherNation, be sure to tune in! Stay safe out there . . . — Meteorologist Miranda Hilgers