Particularly dangerous situation tornado watch issued, tornado outbreak underway in the South
The threat of dangerous severe storms capable of producing tornadoes will continue to increase through Tuesday afternoon and evening in the Gulf Coast states. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a "Particularly Dangerous Situation" tornado watch for portions of the Gulf Coast.A Particularly Dangerous Situation tornado watch is in effect for portions of southeaster Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southwestern Alabama and the far western Florida panhandle until 10 p.m. CST. The watch includes New Orleans, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Mobile and Pensacola.
See images from the Gulf Coast area:
A tornado watch has been posted for much of central Mississippi, including Jackson and Meridian, until 10 p.m. CST.
A tornado watch remains in effect for portions of south-central Louisiana until 5 p.m. CST.
As of 2:30 p.m. CST, there have been at least seven reports of tornadoes in southeast Louisiana, according to SPC. Damage has also been reported, which you can find details on at the link below.
The TOR:CON (Tornado Conditions Index) for Tuesday and Tuesday night has been raised to 8 out of 10 for parts of eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida panhandle, according to Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel. This means there is a 80 percent chance of a tornado within 50 miles of any location in the specified areas. TOR:CON values as high as 6 out of 10 are posted for Wednesday in eastern and central North Carolina and eastern Virginia.
In addition, SPC has issued a moderate risk for parts of the Gulf Coast Tuesday and says that a couple of strong tornadoes (EF2 or higher rating) are possible. A moderate risk is the second highest of five categories on SPC's severe thunderstorm forecasts.
The threat of tornadoes will continue well after dark Tuesday evening and overnight. Severe storms and tornadoes will then target parts of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states on Wednesday.
SEE ALSO: The Danger of Nighttime Tornadoes
If you live in or are traveling through the South Tuesday, Tuesday night or Wednesday, be prepared for the possibility of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes. Be sure you have a way to get the latest watch and warning information.
Below is a breakdown of our latest severe weather outlook.
SEE ALSO: Interactive Storm Reports Map
Severe Weather Forecast
Threat Areas: Outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes begins from parts of southeastern Louisiana to central/southern Mississippi and southwest Alabama.
Main Threats: Tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail are all possible hazards. Heavy rain could lead to some flash flooding. A couple of strong tornadoes are possible.
Cities: Hattiesburg | Jackson, Mississippi | New Orleans
Threat Areas: Severe weather outbreak will continue during the evening and overnight hours from southeastern Louisiana and much of Mississippi into Alabama, south-central Tennessee, Georgia and the Florida panhandle.
Main Threats: Tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail are all possible hazards. Heavy rain could lead to some flash flooding.
Cities: Columbus, Georgia | Mobile, Alabama | Montgomery, Alabama | Pensacola, Florida
Threat Areas: A line of severe thunderstorms will continue surging east ahead of the advancing cold front across the Deep South from parts of Florida and Georgia to the Carolinas, eastern Virginia and portions of the mid-Atlantic.
Main Threats: Damaging thunderstorm winds would be the biggest threat, however, tornadoes are also a possibility, if instability is high enough, both within the squall line and in any individual thunderstorms ahead of the line.
Cities: Jacksonville, Florida | Raleigh, North Carolina | Richmond, Virginia | Savannah, Georgia
In addition to the chance for severe thunderstorms, heavy rain is expected from eastern Texas into the Ohio Valley through Wednesday and some flooding is possible as well. Widespread rainfall up to two inches may also spread up the East coast into the Northeast, with locally higher amounts possible.
The National Weather Service has issued flood watches from central Alabama to northern Georgia and western Virginia.
The 2016 Severe Season So Far
Severe thunderstorm activity, including tornadoes, has been off to a quicker start in 2016 than what we had seen over the prior two years.
The month of February has already witnessed two tornado outbreaks across the Gulf Coast states, bringing the preliminary tornado count for the year to at least 74. This is actually near or slightly below the 2005-15 average about just over 80 tornadoes through mid-February.
Florida has seen more than its fair share of tornadoes thus far in 2016. This includes a relatively rare EF3 tornado that ripped through the Florida panhandle on Feb. 15. That was the first EF3 or stronger tornado to hit the area since April 19, 1988, according to the Severe Weather Institute at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
There have also been multiple other damaging tornadoes to the south and east across the Florida peninsula since January.
The ongoing El Niño may be an factor in the onslaught of severe weather across the Sunshine State. The National Weather Service has said that El Niño creates favorable conditions for winter tornadoes in Florida.
SEE ALSO: El Niño Means More Florida Tornadoes?
El Niño has been gradually weakening, but it is difficult to speculate how this may influence the spring severe weather season with much certainty.More from AOL.com:
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