Severe storm threat returns to south including Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee

Severe thunderstorms packing damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes could impact areas hit hard by last week's devastating tornadoes across the south.
Image: NOAA
Weather across the United States on March 11, 2020.NOAA

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By Kathryn Prociv

A slow-moving storm system will bring the risk of severe storms for the next two days across portions of the southeast, Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley.

On Wednesday morning a batch of thunderstorms producing frequent lightning and rainfall rates of up to 1.5 inches per hour moved through parts of southern Missouri. This cluster is expected to continue throughout the day and strengthen, leading to the risk of severe thunderstorms later in the day.

Four million people could be affected by severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes that could develop across parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, western Alabama and extreme southwest Tennessee. Memphis, Little Rock and Tuscaloosa are all within the threat zone.

On Thursday, severe storms across the Tennessee and Ohio river valleys could impact 9 million people. Little Rock, Memphis, Louisville and Nashville are cities that could experience thunderstorms capable of damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and hail. Unfortunately, these severe storms in the forecast for Nashville won’t help with continued clean-up efforts following last week’s devastating tornadoes.

In addition to the severe weather, heavy rainfall could cause isolated instances of flash flooding across parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. One to two inches of rain, locally higher amounts, could fall across this region through Friday.

Meanwhile, across the west, the National Weather Service has issued flood alerts for 6 million people for parts of southeastern California, southern Nevada and central Arizona, including Phoenix. There will be widespread showers mostly across Arizona and New Mexico on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, another round of rain moves into the southwest from the Pacific, bringing more heavy downpours to parts of southern California and Arizona. Through Friday, rainfall totals of one-half to two inches will be possible across the region, with totals up to three inches especially, across central Arizona. Isolated flash flooding, landslides and mudslides are possible.