A tornado watch has been issued for three states as the US’ winter storms rage on
Tornado watches have been issued across the south of America as the US’ winter storms rage on. After flash floods and heavy rain in the west of the country, central and southern states have been issued warnings about tornados, heavy rains and winds, and thunderstorms.
One of the tornado watches was issued for eastern Oklahoma, southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas until 10pm CT, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
The centre also issued an enhanced risk warning for severe thunderstorms for East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia through Tuesday morning.
A third watch is also in effect for southeastern Arkansas, northeastern Louisiana and western Mississippi until 3am CT on Wednesday.
AccuWeather said a dip in the jet stream will bring strong upper-level winds into the southern US.
Combined with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and substantially above-average temperatures, severe weather is likely.
The National Weather Service has issued its first tornado watch of 2023 as storms hit
Eastern Oklahoma, southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas have a watch until 10pm
“The extent of the tornado threat will depend on whether storms can remain separated, which would allow for a few intense, large tornadoes to form,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Haley Taylor said.
“If this does not occur, and storms form into a line, damaging winds would become the primary hazard.”
The main threats from the storms on Tuesday will be powerful wind gusts and flash flooding, AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine also said.
However, he noted that a few of the strongest thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.
On Tuesday and Tuesday night, Mr Johnson-Levine suggested the risk of severe thunderstorms will be greatest in, but not limited to, the area from southeastern Louisiana through much of central and southern Mississippi to central Alabama.
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AccuWeather said a dip in the jet stream will bring strong upper-level winds into the south
Three tornadoes were already reported on Monday, including one near Jessieville, Arkansas, causing damage to at least 14 homes, multiple commercial buildings and several buildings at a local school district, including a local high school.
The storms began to form from a pressure system which brought flash floods in California, which killed two.
About seven million people are now under flood alerts across the Mississippi River Valley as the California storm continues to head east.
Flood watches spread from the Texas-Louisiana border north along the Mississippi River Valley into southern Indiana and Illinois.
Widespread radar estimated totals across the area range from 1 to 3 inches, but isolated areas where storms have trained over the same location have seen estimated totals as high as 5 inches.
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Three tornadoes were already reported on Monday, including one near Jessieville, Arkansas
Anyone in areas at risk of tornadoes should seek safe shelter immediately, said Brad Bryant, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service office in Shreveport, Louisiana.
“If you wait around for a warning to be issued, it is too late,” Bryant said Monday.
“You need to have a safe shelter plan in place in advance of these storms.”
He urged anyone needing help — especially those living in mobile homes — to contact local emergency mangers or law enforcement for sheltering options, and added: “Since mid-November we’ve had three rounds of severe weather and we have had fatalities, most of which have occurred in mobile homes.”
The Weather Channel said ‘this storm system is expected to weaken some by Wednesday’
The Weather Channel’s forecast noted tornadoes and damaging thunderstorm winds are possible, along with hail, in areas from Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama over to the side of Lafayette in Louisiana.
They added: “This storm system is expected to weaken some by Wednesday.
“However, there could be a lingering threat of a few severe storms from parts of the Carolinas into middle and south Georgia and northern Florida.
“Damaging wind gusts would be the primary threat then, but a couple of tornadoes are possible.”