WEST MONROE, La. — (originally written 4/11/2022, updated 4/12/2022)
This article has been updated on Tuesday, April 12. All images within the article have been updated as of 12:30pm. The general thinking behind the forecast has not changed since the article was originated. Many questions still remain regarding storm initiation and development over the next two days.
Multiple rounds of strong to severe storms are possible across much of the central United States this week. While this particular scenario isn’t a focused, regional severe weather “outbreak”, ingredients for storms will be favorable across many states over multiple days. In the ArkLaMiss, the most favorable days for severe storms are Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s a look at what we know, so far:
WHO (could see severe weather?)
This is an easy answer. Everyone. This is one of the easier aspects of the forecast. The overall set-up and ingredients are somewhat uniform across most of the ArkLaMiss. Everyone will need to stay weather aware for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday’s is a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for severe weather over the entire ArkLaMiss viewing area. Given more favorable ingredients on Wednesday, the risk is bumped up to an Enhanced Risk (level 3 of 5). Some areas of the Lower Mississippi Valley have been upgraded to a Moderate Risk (level 4 of 5), where tornado potential could be maximized during the afternoon/evening.
While the ingredients for severe storms are quite uniform across the area, this doesn’t mean that everyone will see severe storms. Generally speaking, it just means that everyone (at this point in the forecast) has a fairly equal chance of seeing severe storms.
WHAT (type of severe weather?)
All modes of severe weather will be possible… including damaging wind gusts, areas of large hail, tornadoes, and periods of heavy rainfall.
Tuesday | A mid-level disturbance will interact with our warm, unstable atmosphere. While a pocket of warm air aloft (“cap”) could limit storm potential for some of the day, isolated to scattered severe storms could develop during the afternoon and evening. Any supercell storms or clusters of storms that can break through the “cap” will bring damaging wind, hail, and tornado potential. This threat is a bit more conditional, but could still yield a few severe storms across the region.
Wednesday | As the upper trough exits and its cold front sweeps through the area, severe storms should be expected. Damaging wind gusts, tornadoes, hail, and heavy rain will all be possible. In fact, these storms could develop in multiple ways. First, supercells and clusters of storms could develop in the warm, humid environment ahead of the cold front. Secondly, storms could develop into a linear complex immediately ahead of the cold front… bringing a more focused wind threat through the area later in the day.
While the threat for widespread, heavy rain has become somewhat more limited, any storms that develop could produce heavy downpours atop more recently saturated soils. Isolated instances of street/flash flooding will be possible.
WHEN (can we expect storms to arrive?)
For those wanting a clear, “cut and dry” window for severe storm potential for both days, you’re not going to get one. Both days’ severe weather threats are what we call “diurnally driven”, which means they’re really being aided by the daytime heat. That said, Wednesday’s storm potential could extend into the night (even into early Thursday morning), thanks to the advancing cold front’s lift and support.
To put it plainly, Tuesday’s severe potential is likely waiting for water to boil. You know the ingredients are favorable, but it’s anyone’s guess as to where and when that first bubble (or multiple bubbles) will pop up.
For Wednesday, the first part of the day is the same thing… watching a pot of boiling water. However, later in the day as the front (and possible line of storms) moves through, it’s more like waiting on a bus/train/flight. You know it’s probably coming and the general time frame of its arrival, but it may be a little early or a little late.
Tuesday | Any storms that develop Tuesday will rely on the warm, unstable environment of the afternoon and evening. This means that storms are most likely to develop between 3pm and 9pm. Depending on how storms evolve to our east, an additional complex of strong/severe storms (bringing all threats) could move through the region late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. This is a slight shift from the original forecast. In theory, the severe threat could extend well into the night… in some areas.
Wednesday | As mentioned earlier, storms could develop in multiple scenarios across the ArkLaMiss. Our environment will become increasingly unstable as the day progresses. This does mean that some areas could, in theory, see multiple rounds of severe storms. Scattered clusters or supercells could develop well ahead of the cold front during the day, as early as 1-3pm. As the front advances through the Mississippi Valley Wednesday night/Thursday morning, a line of storms with embedded severe potential is possible. In our area, this scenario is more likely between 8pm-12am.
Severe storm potential is likely to exit the region by around 2am Thursday morning.
HOW (can I be prepared?)
The ArkLaMiss has seen multiple severe weather events over the last several weeks. All threats should be respected, and residents should take all measures to ensure that they’re prepared to act if a warning is issued for their area.
- Review your emergency kit. Make sure, in the event of a disaster, that you have fresh batteries to power radios and other devices. Have food and fresh water for everyone in your home for at least three days. Make sure all necessary medications are refilled.
- Discuss your severe weather plan with your family. Make sure everyone knows where to go if a warning is issued. Remind everyone to act quickly when a warning is issued, and remain calm.
- Have multiple ways of receiving severe weather alerts. NOAA Weather Radios and the KTVE/KARD Weather App are ideal ways to hear and receive warnings. Also, make sure that WEAs (wireless emergency alerts) are enabled on your phone. Everyone should have three reliable ways to receive severe weather information.
- Secure loose outdoor objects. Bring in all outdoor items that can be tossed by strong winds (trash cans, decorations, outdoor furniture). If items can’t be brought inside, make attempts to secure them as much as possible.
- Clear all drainage areas. Soils across the region have become more saturated recently. Periods of heavy rain could cause isolated street/flash flooding. Do your part to give rainwater the opportunity to drain properly.
- Keep devices charged. Severe storms occasionally cause power outages. Additionally, Wednesday’s extended severe threat could slow power restoration efforts. Make sure you have ways of receiving information if this becomes an issue.
- Know where you are on a map. When watches/warnings are issued, you’ll need to act quickly. This may seem elementary to some, but it’s very important. Make sure you’re familiar with nearby towns, roads, highways, and points of interest.
Residents are urged to have the most updated weather information, as it becomes available. Additional forecasts, graphics, outlooks, and more can be found here. We’ll continue to keep you updated with the latest information on-air and online.