Tornado risk increases Wednesday for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi
A multiday severe weather threat is looming across the South while snow is set to develop across parts of the Upper Midwest, according to the FOX Forecast Center.
The threat of severe storms is expected to increase Wednesday as a cold front slides from East Texas into the lower Mississippi Valley, with the possibility of severe weather continuing right through the end of the workweek as the front slides across the Southeast.
Severe weather potential increases Wednesday in South
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center increased the threat of severe weather Wednesday to a level 3 of 5 for portions of eastern Louisiana, southeastern Arkansas and western and central Mississippi. A level 2 of 5 threat covers parts of East Texas, central and southern Arkansas and the rest of Louisiana and Mississippi.
The round of storms will bubble up Wednesday afternoon as any sunshine destabilizes the air and touches off thunderstorm development. The biggest threat will be damaging wind gusts, but the FOX Forecast Center said it can’t rule out large hail or a tornado in Louisana, Mississippi and southeastern Arkansas.
An estimated 1.1 million people are under the Tornado Watch and the SPC warns storms in and near the alerted zone could also produce damaging winds of 70 mph and large hail.
The NWS said there is a potential for EF-2-plus tornadoes in a centralized hatched area of eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi.
Individual supercells will organize into a powerful line of thunderstorms overnight and into Thursday, eventually marching across southern Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle on Thursday.
In addition to the severe weather, a widespread soaking of 2 to 3 inches of rain is expected across parts of the lower and mid-Mississippi Valley through Thursday. The heavy rain threat will likely peak on Wednesday.
A few severe thunderstorms are possible across the Southeast on Friday, including northern Florida, southern and eastern Georgia and southern South Carolina.
The FOX Forecast Center said wind damage would be the most likely threat from the storms.
Snow to blanket Upper Midwest on cold side of storm system
On the cold side of this storm system, the FOX Forecast Center is keeping an eye on the possibility for heavy wet snow across parts of the Upper Midwest on Thursday. Computer forecast models are coming into better agreement predicting a strip of moderate snow from central Iowa to northern Michigan.
Snow will begin to quickly break out Wednesday night across eastern Kansas and western Missouri, with about a dusting to an inch of snow forecast for Topeka and Kansas City.
The snow will intensify Thursday morning across Iowa and Wisconsin, where snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible.
This is expected to have impacts on the Thursday morning commute in cities such as Des Moines and Cedar Rapids in Iowa and Madison in Wisconsin. The snow will end across Iowa during the afternoon while continuing across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Travel delays will be possible across interstates in Wisconsin, especially along Interstate 94.
“The Upper Midwest already has issued Winter Storm Watches for Iowa into Wisconsin,” FOX Weather meteorologist Steve Bender. “It’s going to be Wednesday night into Thursday. So those are the commutes that you got to worry about heavy, wet snow.”
“You’re looking at 5 to 8 inches of snow. It’s going to go from Waterloo, Iowa, down towards La Crosse. It’s really going to be south of La Crosse, Wisconsin,” he continued.
Minneapolis and Milwaukee will see measurable, but not significant, amounts of snow from this event. This storm system will move out of the region by Friday, the FOX Forecast Center said.
Rain reaches the Eastern Seaboard
By Thursday, the storm system will speed up as it treks across the eastern half of the U.S.
The cold front is expected to stretch from Ohio to the Florida Panhandle Thursday morning, carrying showers and thunderstorms along its boundary. This rain will spread along the East Coast during the day, and drivers along the Interstate 95 corridor will need windshield wipers by the afternoon.