A potent winter storm that turned deadly in California is now threatening powerful tornadoes in the South and heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain in the Midwest.
About seven million people are under flood alerts across the Mississippi River Valley as the storm that brought heavy rain California 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.
A moderate risk of excessive rainfall – level 3 of 4 – remains across the lower Mississippi and lower Ohio valleys, where rainfall rates could reach 1 to 2 inches per hour. This area could still see 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, by Tuesday morning. Widespread rainfall across the remainder of the area Tuesday morning is likely to be between 1 to 2 inches.
A tornado watch has been issued for eastern Oklahoma, southeast Kansas and northwest Arkansas until 10 p.m. CT, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. A third watch is in effect for southeastern Arkansas, northeastern Louisiana and western Mississippi until 3 a.m. CT.