For weeks, severe weather has battered the West Coast and central US, and now, it’s coming for the Southeast. Severe storms are expected to sweep the southeastern states today (January 12), producing heavy rain, high winds, and large hail, with the possibility of tornadoes.
According to the National Weather Service, a cold front is producing a squall line, a narrow band of intense thunderstorms which often bring destructive winds and tornadoes. The line will carve a path from west to east across the south this afternoon and into the evening.
Scattered storms hit from Kentucky to Mississippi and Alabama this morning, with more severe weather on the way. Alabama, the state expected to receive the worst of the coming storms, has already seen one tornado. The funnel touched down just after 8:00 am.
Thus far, eastern Mississippi, northern and central Alabama, and the southern-central edge of Tennessee are under a tornado watch, with the possibility of more to come.
Forecasts predict Atlanta, Birmingham, and Montgomery will receive the brunt of the storms. Meanwhile, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas could see brief but severe thunderstorms.
The vicious winds making their way through the southern states will likely cause tree damage and power outages. Those within the squall line should prepare for the possibility of tornadoes and large hail as the intense weather rips through the southeast.
Experts advise staying on top of any watches and warnings issued in your area. If at all possible, travelers should delay their plans until the storms have passed.
Severe Weather in Southeast to Move Northward on Friday
The intense storm system will continue to push east Thursday night and into Friday, experts say. As the rain makes its way through the Southeast, it will stretch north as well, resulting in severe weather from Florida to New England.
“As this cold front moves through, it continues to drag in that immense moisture from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the cold front. That is the fuel for the fire,” FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin said. “It’s very much that clashing between the cool, dry air behind the front and that warm, moist air that’s really getting sucked up into the center of this system.”
As the cold air hits the backside of the storm, the higher terrain of the Northeast could see snow. The majority of the precipitation, however, should remain in the form of rain, with temperatures rising well above average.
The Lake Erie area and central Appalachians could see 3-5 inches of snow. Northern Maine could receive as much as 8 inches. Throughout the weekend, the storm system will pull away from the Northeast. Lingering snow showers, however, are possible even after the worst has passed.