Texas to Missouri: Storms Turning Severe Monday
February 18, 2013; 2:31 PM
Locally severe thunderstorms have fired from northeastern Texas to central Missouri late Monday, kicking off what promises to be a stormy week.
Areas from near St. Louis, Mo. to around Houston, Texas will be in the zone of strong storms Monday evening, while snow returns to the Great Lakes. Other cities in the path of the storms include Shreveport, La., Little Rock, Ark., Jackson, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn.
A few locations within this corridor could experience damaging thunderstorms with high winds and large hail.
Many locations within this zone will experience one or more thunderstorms that can be briefly drenching, blinding and gusty. There is the potential for brief urban flooding.
Thunderstorms will continue to strengthen into the afternoon hours as they also spread out to the north and east. The worst of the thunderstorms are expected to fire between 2-5 p.m. CST.
"This severe weather is just the start of a busy week of severe weather this week into the weekend, into early next week," AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity said.
Many of the strongest thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and blinding downpours. The strongest storms could spawn isolated tornadoes.
If a tornado warning is issued, seek shelter immediately.
The thunderstorms should organize into a solid line by nightfall and then race eastward across eastern Louisiana, Mississippi and into far western Alabama during the overnight hours. Damaging winds and downpours will be the main threats.
Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., Jackson and Gulfport, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., are among the communities in the path of Monday night's violent thunderstorms. Hattiesburg, Miss., which was struck by a tornado a week ago, is also at risk.
While a widespread outbreak of severe weather is not expected later Monday, residents should not let their guard down. It only takes one violent thunderstorm or isolated tornado to cause damage and put lives in harm's way.
In addition, Monday's severe weather is just the start of a stormy week for East Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley as AccuWeather.com meteorologists are concerned for more numerous violent thunderstorms to erupt on Thursday.