Strong to Severe Thunderstorms
A complex and multi-faceted winter storm will take shape across Texas on Saturday, and then slowly move through the Southeast and mid-Atlantic Sunday into Monday.
While there are many aspects to this storm that we do know, there are some that are still uncertain, such as how far north the snow and ice actually gets and how much of it falls.
A strong jet stream disturbance will dive across the Four Corners region and eject into Texas on Saturday. As warm and dry air clashes with warm and humid air streaming from the Gulf of Mexico, showers and thunderstorms will blossom over eastern Texas, including Dallas and Houston.
The biggest threats with these storms will be damaging wind gusts to 60 mph and hail as large as quarters or golf balls, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out either.
As this storm system moves eastward Saturday night, a swath of strong to severe thunderstorms will cut across Louisiana and Mississippi, and then across Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle on Sunday.
In addition to damaging winds, hail and the threat for an isolated tornado, very heavy, potentially flooding, rain will also become a concern.
Ice and Snow
Farther north, where colder air will be present, the exact track of the low through the Southeast will determine how much snow and ice falls.
It looks as though the best chance for snow and ice will be from far eastern Kansas eastward into the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and eastern New England.
Snow and ice should break out across eastern Kansas and Missouri Sunday and then end rather quickly by Sunday evening. Farther east, snow and ice will likely linger through Sunday night across the Ohio Valley. It will not be until Monday that snow and ice arrive in the mid-Atlantic and New England.
For now, anyone planning to travel Sunday and Monday can expect big-time delays, especially at the airports.
For those living from Texas to Georgia, now is a good time to brush up on your severe weather terminology.
Current technology has advanced enough over recent years to provide ample alert of the potential for severe weather and the approach of localized severe storms. Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.
Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining.