Pattern Flip To Return Downpours, Severe Weather To Southern US
In a dramatic reversal of the seasons, portions of the South that dealt with record cold over the weekend will experience a resurgence of warm, moist air that will reignite the risk of downpours and severe weather early this week.
Temperatures took a nosedive behind the large storm that brought snow, downpours and feisty thunderstorms during its journey from the southern Plains to the Eastern Seaboard spanning Friday through Saturday. Florida bore the brunt of the severe weather side of the storm over the weekend as wind gusted past 70 mph caused damage in Ocala and a waterspout in Fort Myers sent beachgoers fleeing for safety.
By Sunday morning, subfreezing temperatures had descended upon much of the region, putting a temporary end to the risk for severe weather.
Warm weather fans will be eager to hear the news of a quick turnaround in temperatures during the first part of this week. However, that pattern flip will come with renewed spring weather dangers, forecasters say.
A storm system is forecast to develop across the southern Plains at the start of the week and dive southeastward along the Gulf coast Tuesday into Wednesday. Rain and thunderstorms will blossom and expand in coverage as the storm moves along and gathers moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
“A threat for severe thunderstorms is expected to unfold late Monday through Monday night across northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas and a good chunk of Louisiana,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
With the threat for severe weather expected to be highest during the late-day, evening and overnight hours, forecasters encourage residents to have a means of receiving severe weather watches and warnings before heading to bed. This can include keeping a cell phone on and fully charged with severe weather alerts enabled or by having a weather radio on hand.
“Flash flooding, damaging wind gusts, hail and even a few tornadoes are all possible,” Buckingham said.
On Tuesday, the volatile weather will shift southeastward, putting the Sunshine State in the crosshairs of the heftiest thunderstorms once again. Neighboring areas of southern Alabama and Georgia may also be at risk, depending on the exact track of the center of the storm. A track farther to the south would bring a general steady rain to these areas, as opposed to severe weather.
AccuWeather meteorologists expect similar hazards to play out with Tuesday’s event, including damaging winds, hail, downpours and isolated tornadoes. Waterspouts may also be spawned over the Gulf waters and could potentially move onshore.
Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach, Florida, are all expected to be in the zone at risk for thunderstorms producing the aforementioned threats. The severe weather risk area may expand as far south as Fort Myers by Tuesday night.
“In addition to the severe thunderstorm threat Monday night and Tuesday, a threat for flash flooding is possible along the central Gulf coast and into northern Florida. Many locales in northern Florida experienced multiple rounds of rain and thunderstorms in recent days, so flash flooding may occur more quickly as the stormy pattern returns early week,” Buckingham said.
A dry February helped to fuel wildfires across the Florida Panhandle, near where Hurricane Michael made landfall, during the early part of March. A general 2-4 inches of rain since the latter part of last week has since helped to quench the flames.
Forecasters do not expect a widespread flooding danger to unfold in the days ahead, but do caution that travel could be disrupted as a result of the downpours with reduced visibility and ponding of water on the roadways.
“Motorists with plans to travel along portions of interstates 10, 20, 49, 55, 59 and 65 will want to monitor weather conditions and prepare for wet conditions along intended travel routes from Monday night through Tuesday,” Buckingham said.
This storm is expected to slowly spread northeastward and return rain to portions of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic later in the week. The Gulf Coast region may only briefly dry out before the threat of rain returns by next weekend.
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