| USA TODAY
Tornado spotted in the Texas panhandle
Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer caught a tornado on camera as it touched down and passed through an area not far from Goodnight, Texas, on March 13.
- Big cities at the highest risk of severe weather and tornadoes on Wednesday include Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham, and Little Rock.
- “Tornadoes at night in Alabama are particularly dangerous, because most people are sleeping.”
- “It’s going to be one of the higher-end severe-weather events we’ve seen so far this year.”
A dangerous outbreak of severe weather is forecast on Wednesday and into Thursday across the South, an area in which tens of millions of people are at risk of tornadoes, hail and strong winds, forecasters warned.
The threat of violent storms will focus over the lower and middle portions of the Mississippi Valley, much of the upper Gulf Coast, the Tennessee Valley and part of the Ohio Valley, which is home to more than 40 million people, AccuWeather said.
Big cities at the highest risk of severe weather and tornadoes on Wednesday include Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham, and Little Rock.
Although the threat will start during the day, the risk will continue into the nighttime hours, forecasters said.
“We are very concerned about the risk to lives due to the potential for strong tornadoes to occur after dark on Wednesday over the south-central states,” AccuWeather forecasting manager Dan DePodwin said.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama at “moderate risk” of severe storms, which is level 4 on their 5-level threat scale. The “risk for additional significant tornadoes is anticipated to last through the overnight hours, focused particularly across much of Alabama,” the Center said.
Josh Johnson, chief meteorologist for WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama said tornadoes that happen overnight are particularly dangerous: “The sources of information you usually rely on aren’t designed to wake you up. That’s why you need multiple sources of information to stay informed.”
The last time conditions came together offering this level of risk in Alabama was the system that moved through the state on March 3, 2019, which spawned the Beauregard tornado. That EF4 tornado killed 23 people as it tore through Alabama and Georgia that day.
In Mississippi, residents should be prepared with more than one way to stay on top of weather events, Mississippi Emergency Management officials said on Twitter. “Have multiple ways to get warnings,” the tweet said.
Logan Poole, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi, said “it’s going to be one of the higher-end severe-weather events we’ve seen so far this year.”
Localized flash flooding is also a potential threat across much of the South due to the predicted heavy rain, Weather.com said.
Contributing: Lici Beveridge, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger; Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser