Fox News Weather Center

Warmup Could Spur Thunderstorms, Flooding in South Central US

A storm forecast to track northeastward across the Ohio Valley will bring the potential for flooding rain and locally strong thunderstorms in part of the South Central states this weekend.

While areas from the central Plains and Rockies to part of the Upper Midwest and Northeast contend with wintry conditions, the storm will bring a taste of early spring weather farther south.

The weather setup is not the most dynamic. However, enough warm, moist air may surge in to destabilize the atmosphere from northeastern Texas to the western parts of Tennessee and Kentucky during Saturday.

According Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "Thunderstorms with hail and strong wind gusts are possible, centered on Arkansas."

In order for an outbreak of severe weather, the sun would need to bust through and significantly warm the area up.

"Winds aloft (wind shear) will be strong enough to support severe thunderstorms," Margusity said.

While temperatures will climb into the 50s and 60s F in the area, an extra boost from the sun does not appear likely.

Instead the storms are likely to develop into a line of drenching rain and gusty winds with a few of the storms containing hail.

Some of the cities that could be impact by locally gusty, drenching thunderstorms include Little Rock, Arkansas, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Memphis Tennessee.

Another potential problem from the storm this weekend has to do with the snow on the ground and 1-2 inches of rain projected to fall onto that snow in part of the Tennessee Valley to the southern and central Appalachians.

"Enough rain could fall with surging temperatures in portions of Kentucky, West Virginia and part of Virginia to raise the risk of flooding," Margusity said.

Many of these areas have several inches to up to foot of snow on the ground. Heavy rainfall in this area could release the moisture locked up in that snow, which could be too much for area streams and small rivers to handle.