NEW ORLEANS – After weeks of punishing drought, the Deep South will get some much-needed precipitation in at least some areas this week, according to weather officials.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says a cold front approaching Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia will bring thunderstorms to the region, and some of them could be severe.
The weather service said damaging winds will be the primary threat, with tornadoes also possible. Some storms could produce hail that could at times be severe.
Northern Louisiana and northern Mississippi will see gusty winds of up to 40 mph and brief heavy downpours on Monday. Rainfall amounts will average between a quarter and half an inch, with higher amounts of up to an inch possible in some areas.
The weather service said the rain water should be soaked up quickly because of severe drought conditions across the Deep South.
Forecaster Anna Wolverton of the National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi, said the northern part of the state could get between 3 and 3 ½ inches of rain.
With drought conditions across much of the Deep South, Wolverton said "any amount will help."
"Most of the state had a wet spring and summer, but going into the fall months we are about 9 inches below normal."
As the storm system moves further to the southeast, Alabama was expected to see severe weather by Monday night.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham said in statement Monday that the limited severe weather risk would be west of a line from Alexander City to Montgomery.
The weather service said severe thunderstorms, including wind gusts up to 60 mph and a possibility of tornadoes, were possible from 7 p.m. Monday through 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Central Alabama can expect severe weather beginning Tuesday afternoon through early Wednesday afternoon.
High wind warnings were issued for mountains in northern Georgia through Monday night.
The forecast center in Atlanta said scattered thunderstorms were possible over north and portions and west central Georgia on Monday night.