Severe weather threatens southern US for third week

(CNN) — As we enter the third straight week with extreme weather potential, the reports are starting to look like a broken record.

But the reality is that it’s not just the third week in a row with potential bad weather, it’s happening again in the same places.

Could it be that we weren’t forgotten because of the deadly EF-3 tornado that hit outside New Orleans in the first round?

Weather systems often follow patterns, so this potential for extreme weather in the same areas may be more common than it appears.

We spoke with Bill Bunting, chief of forecasting operations at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), about storms recently returning to the same areas.

“There’s a pretty chaotic component to the atmosphere, but it sometimes goes into patterns where we register that repeatability. We’ve registered it every season,” Bunting said. “Unfortunately, over this past month, and certainly into next week, the threat of severe weather will be present again, in many areas that have experienced more severe weather than necessary over the past four weeks.”

Bunting pointed out that extreme weather is tied to the location of the jet stream, which creates the conditions for it to happen again.

“These types of weather often feature strong southwesterly winds at mid-levels and strong south-southeast winds near the surface. This creates an environment conducive to wind shears that are favorable for thunderstorms and tornadoes. organized,” Bunting explained.

Additionally, Bunting mentioned that very humid air flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico, which has fueled storm development in recent weeks, will be in play again this week.

storm timeline

This week is shaping up to be a classic weather event.

“The humidity of the golfo de México will come to emerge hacia el norte, hacia los estados de la franja sur, y convergerá con el frente frío que se mueve slowly hacia el sur de las Llanuras”, escribió el Centro de Predicción del Tiempo (WPC, for its acronyms in English). “This will cause showers and thunderstorms to spread steadily from the southern plains into the deep southern states over the next two days.”

Risk Outlook from Monday, April 4 at 12:30 a.m. ET through Tuesday, April 5 at 8:00 a.m. ET. Updated Monday, April 4, 2022 at 12:27 p.m. ET.
Source: National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
Low risk areas are marked in green and high risk areas in orange.
Graphic: John Keefe, CNN

The SPC has highlighted an area that includes more than 10 million people for extreme climate risk level 3 out of 5 today.

The “hardened” zone includes places like Dallas, Shreveport and Jackson. However, even Baton Rouge, New Orleans, San Antonio and Houston could see storms.

“There is a possibility of damaging wind gusts, large to very large hail and tornadoes,” SPC noted in its analysis of today’s severe weather threat forecast.

On Tuesday, the threat moves east, but still includes some of the same cities as today. New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson will continue to be under threat from severe weather on Tuesday, with storms arriving overnight through tomorrow.

But places like Montgomery, Savannah and Charleston will also be added, which will be under an “enhanced” level 3 out of 5 extreme weather risk.

southern severe weather tornadoes

Risk Outlook from Tuesday, April 5 at 8:00 a.m. ET through Wednesday, April 6 at 8:00 a.m. ET. Updated Monday, April 4, 2022 at 1:31 p.m. ET.
Source: National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
Graphic: John Keefe, CNN

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in New Orleans was bold in its discussion of today’s forecast.

After two weeks of extreme weather, they began by saying, “At the end of the day… heavy to severe storms are possible late Monday night and Tuesday morning.”

They went on to say, “All possible extreme weather modes, with a current focus on the wind threat.” While wind will be the biggest threat, tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

“A band of damaging wind gusts and multiple tornadoes are possible,” SPC noted in its analysis of the forecast.

By Wednesday, a separate system will form, bringing another round of storms south and extending the threat of severe weather for a third day.

“A second system develops after the first as an upper low deepens sharply and plunges across the Central Plains and eventually the Deep South,” the NWS Atlanta office said.

Wednesday’s threat will again be an “enhanced” level 3 out of 5 extreme weather hazard.

This threat zone encompasses more than 10 million people and includes Atlanta, Birmingham and Chattanooga.

heavy weather wednesday

Risk Outlook from Wednesday, April 6 at 8:00 a.m. ET through Thursday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m. ET. Updated Monday, April 4, 2022 at 3:26 a.m. ET.
Source: National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
Graphic: John Keefe, CNN

On Thursday, the threat lessens as the storms move away from the east coast. While the system will mainly carry storms south, it will still produce showers on Thursday across much of the East Coast.

Rain is expected from Florida to New England, so there could be travel delays at some major airports on Wednesday, and again on Thursday as this system moves.

“Right hodographs pose a primary wind threat to any severe storm that develops, but care will need to be taken to monitor this near-term event,” the NWS Atlanta office said.

Hodographs are diagrams that represent the change in wind direction and speed with respect to height.

When will the parade of storms end?

It is impossible to say if this will be the last week that this region will be affected by severe storms, or if there will be a fourth week.

“Unfortunately, there’s no real predictability, looking at March and saying what that portends for the rest of the season,” Bunting acknowledged. “We’ve seen instances in the past where the pattern has changed dramatically. And while we can anticipate that, it’s hard to really predict the seasonal nature of it.”

If we look at the overall weather picture, we have a diminishing La Niña, “and those tend to lead to a very active season,” Bunting confirmed.

La Niña is an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon in which sea surface temperatures are colder than normal in the eastern Pacific near the equator.

It affects weather patterns around the world, even causing a more active storm season in the south.

“There are therefore a number of reasons to believe that the risk of severe storms is not going to decrease anytime soon,” Bunting said, adding:
“We are entering the peak of the season.”

And that’s how. Peak tornado season in the United States runs from April through June.

For the record book

Although tornadoes can occur any month of the year, tornado season in the south specifically runs from March through May, so we’re just getting started.

During the months of May and June, the tornado threat begins to move further into the southern plains, including places like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

If tornado season is already making you a bit dizzy, there’s a reason.

“Either way, March 2022 will go down in history as one of the busiest months in recent times,” Bunting says.

In fact, March set a record for the number of tornadoes.

It’s the second year in a row the country has suffered a record number of tornadoes in March, cementing a trend of more severe weather earlier in the year and raising questions among scientists, who have historically observed a peak in this type of time. April to early June.

Severe weather in the southeast is much more dangerous than other places, mainly because many storms hit overnight while people are sleeping and don’t have their phone alerts turned on.

Also, since the southeast can be quite hilly and heavily forested, you may not see approaching tornadoes like you can on the plains.

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