The potential for severe weather in the South will continue through the rest of the week, as nearly 50 million people face strong storm threats.
A level 2 out of 5 “slight risk” of severe weather exists for portions of the Gulf Coast, Southeast coast and mid-South, according to the Storm Prediction Center, with cities like Jacksonville, Florida, Memphis, Tennessee and Orlando, Florida, included in the risk area.
The main severe weather threats for Thursday evening are damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes.
There’s a broader level 1 out of 5 “marginal risk” of severe weather that includes nearly 20 million people from areas of Arkansas to Florida. This area includes cities like Tampa, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama.
There’s also a threat for flash flooding across the Gulf Coast from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Places like New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, could experience torrential rainfall that could lead to flash flooding.
“Upwards of 3 to 6 inches of rain will be possible in isolated locations,” said the National Weather Service office in New Orleans.
On Friday, severe weather will strike again as another storm system moves across the South. Over 50 million people will be under the threat of storms, including giant hail and tornadoes.
Tornado watch vs tornado warning
The storm center has issued a level 3 out of 5 “enhanced risk” of severe weather for portions of East Texas, including the Dallas area.
“We will wrap up the week with another round of showers and storms as a strong system moves across our region on Friday,” said the NWS office in Fort Worth, Texas. “Large hail to potentially very large (2+ inches) hail and damaging winds will be the main threats, with isolated tornadoes possible.”
How hail is formed
This threat comes on the heels of Wednesday night’s severe weather that brought softball-sized hail to portions of Texas.
There’s is a broader risk of severe weather that extends from portions of southern Oklahoma to south Texas. Cities like Houston, San Antonio and Austin are included in this level 2 out of 5 “slight risk” of severe weather.
This area will have a significant hail threat as well, some potentially up to 2 inches in diameter, as well as damaging winds.
Additionally, two level 1 out of 5 “marginal risk” areas of severe weather will impact nearly 40 million people across portions of the South Friday. One area is from southern Oklahoma to south Texas. The other area covers much of the Southeast and includes cities like Miami, Jacksonville, Florida, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Along with the threat of scattered thunderstorms, very heavy rainfall and flash flooding will be a concern.
“Three day storm rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected with locally higher 3 to 6 inch amounts possible, most of which will help the current drought conditions across NE FL/SE GA, but will likely produce some temporary localized flooding conditions and possible significant river rises in some basins,” said the NWS office in Jacksonville, Florida.
By Saturday, most of the severe weather will be winding down. However, a level 1 out of 5, “marginal risk” for severe weather will hang around along the Gulf Coast.
While there’s still some uncertainty in the forecast, places like New Orleans, Montgomery, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida, could see damaging winds, hail and even an isolated tornado.
Get the latest forecast here