WEST MONROE, La. — (3/29/2022) Another strong storm system will enter the Mid and Lower Mississippi Valleys on Wednesday, bringing the potential for more widespread severe weather across the southern U.S. Damaging winds and tornadoes will be the primary threats, as an upper-level disturbance fires off storms along and ahead of a southeastward-moving cold front. Here’s a look at more of the details on Wednesday’s threat:
WHO (could see severe weather?)
The entire Mid and Lower Mississippi Valleys will have ingredients favorable for severe storms on Wednesday. In fact, the severe weather outlook is quite expansive. A strong field of low and mid-level winds, combined with strong moisture return out of the Gulf, could bring severe weather to a very large area.
Due to the large area of favorable ingredients, you’re also hearing terms thrown around like “regional severe weather outbreak”. These terms are often used when confidence is high that severe weather events (some possibly significant) will be spread out over a large area. It doesn’t guarantee that any specific area will see severe storms.
The Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) severe weather area expands over fourteen different states. The Enhanced Risk (level 3 of 5) over nine (technically, ten) states. The Moderate Risk (level 4 of 5) over six states. Again to reiterate, this is a large area of favorable ingredients. Regardless of threat area, the entire ArkLaMiss will see *potential* for severe weather on Wednesday.
WHAT (type of severe weather?)
Given the extremely strong winds associated with this disturbance, our main threats (for the entire area) will be damaging wind gusts and embedded tornadoes within a broken line of storms. “Embedded” does not imply weak, simply that they could be somewhat hidden in obscure areas of high winds during strong thunderstorms.
At about 5000 feet, winds are expected to strengthen to around 80 mph late Wednesday morning. Many storms could bring those stronger winds down to the surface in the form of straight-line wind gusts. Those gusts, in some areas, could exceed 75 mph.
As earlier mentioned, embedded tornadoes within this broken line of storms will also be possible. While supercells could form out ahead of the main “line” of storms, the environment really isn’t expected to support that scenario. If those cells can develop, they will also have wind/tornado potential.
While some small hail will be possible, instances of severe hail (quarter sized or larger) are expected to be quite isolated. Periods of heavy rain will be possible as the storms move through, but due to the quick-moving nature of this system… flooding is not a major concern.
WHEN (can we expect storms to arrive?)
Most of this severe weather threat is focused around a broken line of storms that should move through the area relatively quickly. Of course, timing of storms through any given area can always vary. Right now, the best window for storms in our western counties/parishes will be late morning through around noon. In the central sections of the area (including Monroe/West Monroe), early afternoon will be the best window… and, along the Mississippi Valley during the mid to late afternoon.
HOW (can I be prepared?)
As we’ve mentioned a lot lately, March and April are peak severe weather months in the ArkLaMiss.
- 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. Regardless of severe storms, everyone will see gusty winds through the day. 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. While flooding shouldn’t be a major issue with this system, this is always ideal to complete when periods of heavy rain appear likely.
- Keep devices charged. Widespread damaging wind gusts will be *possible*. This could lead to power outages. 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.
Again, severe weather potential doesn’t necessarily guarantee severe weather for our area… but, conditions will be favorable through the day Wednesday.
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.