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Severe storms, tornadoes threaten South after record-breaking March

Severe thunderstorms packing damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes will rumble across the storm-fatigued South through Wednesday, targeting some of the same areas that were on the receiving end of multiday severe weather outbreaks over the past two weeks.

While the frequency of tornadoes typically increases during the spring, this recent stretch has been more active than usual.

A record-breaking 249 reports of tornadoes were tallied in March, besting the previous record of 225 reports from March 2012. That’s more than 2.5 times the monthly average. Sixteen different states had at least one tornado report last month.

Now, April will continue where March left off.

A southward dip in the jet stream will sweep across the eastern half of the nation while pulling warm, humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the South. This will create the instability needed for the development of severe thunderstorms and areas of heavy rain across the region.

The jet stream will also guide a pair of surface low-pressure systems through the southern and eastern US, both of which will bring the threat of severe storms.

Here’s what to expect through the week ahead. Be sure to download the FOX Weather app for the latest forecast and weather alerts for your exact location, plus our channel’s 24/7 livestream – now featuring a new, all-star lineup with live programming weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

There were 249 reports of tornadoes tallied in March, which is more than 2.5 times the monthly average.
Fox Weather

Monday

Severe storms are expected to develop late Monday afternoon into Monday evening from central and north Texas into southern Oklahoma. Large hail and a few tornadoes are possible in these areas, including the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and the Austin, Texas, metro area.

A line of severe thunderstorms will then charge eastward Monday night across east Texas, northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas and parts of Mississippi. Damaging wind gusts and a few embedded tornadoes are possible along the line of storms.

Areas of heavy rain are also likely from north Texas and Oklahoma into portions of northern Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi through Monday night.

Damage left behind by a tornado in New Orleans.
Severe weather will continue to batter Louisiana, which has already seen extensive damage.
Business Wire via AP

Tuesday

A broad area of severe storms is expected Tuesday across portions of the southern and southeastern US, with the highest severe weather potential from the central Gulf Coast eastward to middle and south Georgia and southern South Carolina.

This could be a continuation of Monday night’s line of severe thunderstorms as it continues to charge eastward across the Deep South, packing threats of damaging wind gusts and a few embedded tornadoes.

A second round of scattered severe storms is possible Tuesday afternoon across parts of the Deep South in the wake of that morning line of thunderstorms.

Homes are damaged after a tornado swept through, Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Arabi, La.
The March 23 storm front caused damage in places as it blew from Texas to South Carolina.
AP/Gerald Herbert

However, with locally heavy rain overspreading areas from the central Gulf Coast to the Piedmont of the southern Appalachians, the severe weather threat might be hampered during the afternoon, so it’s possible the second round doesn’t even materialize.

Wednesday

As a cold front sweeps through a warm, humid air mass in place across the Southeast, another round of thunderstorms is expected to develop on Wednesday.

Scattered severe storms packing damaging wind gusts and some tornadoes are most likely from the Deep South to the southern Appalachians.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation digital message board warns drivers along I-55 southbound in Jackson of a tornado warning.
Another round of thunderstorms is expected to develop on Wednesday.
AP/Rogelio V. Solis

Thursday

The cold front will reach the Southeast coast by Thursday.

A few strong to severe thunderstorms could linger from the eastern Carolinas to the Delmarva Peninsula before the storms push offshore late in the day.

Threat of heavy rain, flash flooding

Not only is severe weather possible, but there could be areas of heavy rain across the South through midweek.

Bertelina Martinez, who lives nearby and her son lives across the street, looks over destruction after a tornado struck the area in Arabi, La.
Southerners can expect severe weather and heavy rain of over three inches.
AP/Gerald Herbert

A broad area of 1 to 3 inches of rainfall could drench areas from the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians and the Florida Panhandle.

Locally higher amounts over 3 inches are possible where any heavier bands of rain stall for a period of a few hours or longer.

While this should help to alleviate ongoing drought conditions from the southern Plains to parts of Louisiana, there could be instances of flash flooding in portions of the Southeast and the southern Appalachians, where soils remain saturated after a wetter-than-average March.

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