- Widespread severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and tornadoes are expected across the South.
- Heavy rain and flooding are possible from the Plains to the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
- Heavy snow and ice will lead to dangerous travel from the Plains to New England.
Widespread severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and tornadoes are expected across the South on Friday and Saturday, while heavy rain and flooding are possible from the Plains to the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.
Meanwhile, heavy snow and ice will lead to dangerous travel from the Plains to New England.
Tornadoes and flooding
The Storm Prediction Center said more than 20 million people in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma will be at an enhanced risk of storms Friday that could include strong tornadoes and flooding rains. The area includes several major Texas cities including Dallas, Houston and Austin.
In a briefing early Friday, the National Weather Service said the storms could bring wind gusts of up to 80 mph or faster, the speed of a Category 1 hurricane.
In Dallas, the city’s Office of Emergency Management asked residents to bring in pets, outdoor furniture, grills “and anything else that could be caught up in high winds to reduce the risk of flying debris.”
Matt Hemingway, a weather service meteorologist in Shreveport, Louisiana, said “we could see some very strong tornadoes – possibly those that may stay on the ground for some time – not just the brief spin-up tornadoes.”
Severe storms continue into the South
The severe storm threat will continue overnight in the South, focusing on Alabama and Mississippi on Saturday.
The storm also will deliver heavy rain that could lead to flash floods and river floods from the Ohio Valley to the Lower Mississippi Valley, the National Weather Service said.
The latest forecasts call for up to 4 inches of rain in parts of Texas and southeast Oklahoma, according to the weather service.
“The rain is forecast to really ramp up Friday to Saturday morning from eastern Texas to southern Michigan,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Courtney Travis.
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Snow from the Plains to New England
Snow and ice will be the story from the Plains to New England. “A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain/freezing rain is possible in portions of the Southern/Central Plains into the Middle Mississippi Valley and northeastward into the Great Lakes Friday into Sunday,” the National Weather Service said.
Enough heavy snow and ice can accumulate during the event to raise the risk of power outages and broken tree limbs, AccuWeather said. Power may be out for several days in some communities.
Not to be outdone, the Pacific Northwest will have its own weather misery to contend with as a separate storm slams the area: Coastal areas will have periods of moderate rain while higher elevations of the Cascades, Northern Great Basin and the Northern Rockies will have heavy snow, the National Weather Service said.
Snow accumulations may very well reach or exceed 2 feet in the highest peaks of the Cascades, around 1 foot elsewhere.
Contributing: The Associated Press