The next few days will feature WEATHER GONE MAD! Dangerous and possibly strong to violent tornadoes whipping across the South, while in the colder air Across the central Plains into the Corn Belt there will be a full-blown blizzard. There is no sugar coating this – many lives and property will be impacted and put in danger by weather conditions between now and Sunday. These types of high-impact, dangerous weather events always leave a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I know there could very well be people going about their daily lives today that will no longer be with us in a few days. Taken tragically and prematurely by an act of nature than cannot be controlled, but while we cannot control the weather we can certainly talk about it in strong, attention-getting ways that will hopefully make people understand the seriousness of the event, and hopefully spur them to take the necessary steps to protect life and property, thus mitigating losses.
All of the ingredients are there for a high-end severe weather event across AR, LA, MS, AL, TN and western GA during the day Friday and through Friday night. Northern and central LA, southern AR, southwest TN and western MS appear to be at the greatest risk for all modes of severe weather during the daylight hours on Friday. the risk will exist for strong to violent long-tracked tornadoes, and I am most concerned about the Mississippi Delta region being ground zero for this potentially deadly weather.
Heading into the darkness of Friday night and early Saturday morning, the greatest threat translates eastward across the remainder of MS, all of AL, western GA and much of TN. The severe thunderstorm and tornado parameters remain strong, and there is a very real threat for strong to violent nighttime tornadoes across a region that is frequented by these in set-ups like this. Overall the parameters are generally weaker than those forecast for Friday afternoon, and hopefully that will lessen the severity of the nighttime event, but the potential is certainly there for just a horrible night, especially for eastern MS and much of AL.
On Saturday exact timing and location of the surface features becomes a question, and a precise forecast hinges on the location of these features. In general, it can be said that severe weather and tornado parameters continue to weaken, but are still high enough for a significant event that would include the possibility of tornadoes. As the surface low lifts northeast, the unstable airmass in the warm sector will surge north and northeast ahead of it. This means that there threat for significant severe weather will now extend as far north as the eastern sections of the Ohio Valley. Under the gun for severe weather on Saturday will be the eastern half of GA, northern FL, SC, NC, eastern TN, central and eastern KY, southern and southeast OH, WV and VA. At this point I cannot be more specific about Saturday, except to say that the severe weather threat remains significant and potentially dangerous.
While all of this is going on in the South and East, a blizzard will be raging across southwest KS, the OK panhandle and northern TX panhandle during the day on Friday. Thundersnow will also be a possibility with snowfall rates over 3 inches per hour and howling winds. This will be a very dangerous storm for anyone traveling across this region, and those caught outdoors unprepared for the extreme winter weather conditions. The heavy snow and blizzard conditions shift into northern OK and central and eastern KS early Saturday morning, then northeast into the Corn Belt region during the day on Saturday. The danger factor for travelers and those caught outside unprepared remains high through Saturday.
Looking ahead, another major winter-style storm is possible for parts of the central and northern Plains and western Great Lakes early next week. The middle and end of next week could again feature a multi-faceted severe weather and winter-weather-producing storm for the eastern half of the country.