Severe storms bring risk for tornadoes, flooding to southern US on Monday

By Faith Eherts for

A storm ramping up in the central US will push an area of potentially severe weather into the southeastern states for Monday afternoon.

The center of the developing system is predicted to bring strong winds, snow and heavy rain to large swaths of the northern and central Plains. The impacts of this storm will reach southward to the Gulf Coast.

"Severe thunderstorms will likely fire along a potent cold front across eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, and most of Louisiana," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

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Widespread storm damage possible

While thunderstorms may seem out-of-season, autumn outbreaks are not uncommon in the southeastern US and should not be underestimated.

"This area is known for having severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes during the fall or early spring," Rossio said. "All the atmospheric ingredients necessary for damaging winds, hail, and even a few tornadoes will be present during the afternoon on Monday."

A widespread tornado outbreak is not expected, but a few could spin up.

"The most likely bullseye for possible tornadoes will be across northern Louisiana," Rossio said.

Residents should stay up-to-date on local watches and warnings and be aware of any sudden changes in the weather throughout Monday and Monday evening.

"Shreveport and Texarkana should keep a close eye to the sky on Monday," Rossio said.

Powerful thunderstorms could contain damaging wind gusts, while associated heavy rains will bring the threat for flash flooding. Up to 2 inches of rain could fall in a short period of time from any given storm.

Particularly in areas where rain has been scarce, flooding will occur quickly.

Creek beds that have dried during the recent drought could fill suddenly with swiftly moving water. Significant run-off of topsoil is also possible as dry weather has left the soil dusty and has thinned protective foliage cover.

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Low-lying and poor drainage areas will be inundated with water quickly and those on the road should be careful to avoid flooded routes.

Hydroplaning will pose a threat to highway travelers. At high speeds, newly wet roads will be especially slick. Drivers should also be aware of drastically reduced visibilities in areas of heavy rain.

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Beneficial for drought, wildfire containment

Strong thunderstorms pose many threats to those in their paths, but the rain will also be beneficial to areas experiencing drought conditions.

In northeastern Louisiana, the city of Monroe has received only 1.83 inches of rain since Oct. 1. Rainfall would normally total almost 9 inches during that time.