Fox News Weather Center

Texas to Alabama face severe storms, renewed flooding at midweek

A portion of the southern United States will face the return of severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours at midweek.

The severe weather will erupt as a cold front slices into the surge of warmth set to bring a dramatic upswing in temperatures during the first half of this week.

The warmth will erase the frost and freeze threat closing out the weekend.

"Storms will initiate ahead of a cold front late Wednesday afternoon across eastern Texas and spread northeastward into the Ozark Mountains and central Mississippi Valley into early Thursday morning," AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos said.

"Storms will be capable of producing mainly large hail and damaging winds," Avalos said, "but a tornado or two cannot be ruled out."

Cities at risk for the violent thunderstorms late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night include Dallas; Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Missouri; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

The severe weather will wane some for early Thursday morning before becoming more numerous farther to the east in the afternoon after some daytime heating.

Flood water swamps I-10 on Louisiana border with Texas

"The potential will exist for a few severe thunderstorms on Thursday across Louisiana, central-southern Mississippi, Alabama and potentially even into the far western Florida Panhandle," Avalos said. "Large hail and damaging winds will be the main concerns."

Thunderstorms capable of producing hail may also extend northward into northern Mississippi and western Tennessee.

Thursday's threat zone includes New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida.

The thunderstorms later Wednesday into Thursday will also produce downpours that raise another concern for the flood-ravaged lower Mississippi Valley.

"With continued flooding problems from heavy rains over the past couple of weeks across the Mississippi Valley, these storms will only act to further exacerbate flooding potential in these areas," Avalos said.

Even in the absence of flooding, the downpours will create hazards for motorists by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles traveling at highway speeds.

Residents are reminded to seek shelter as soon as thunder is heard. The danger of being struck by lightning will then be present.

John Jensenius, Jr., Lightning Safety Specialist at NOAA, reported that the first lightning death of 2016 occurred on Saturday.

"A 28-year-old woman was struck while sheltering in a personal tent as a blues festival in Larose, Louisiana. She died on Saturday."

The passage of the cold front will erase the severe weather danger and the midweek warmth. The cooler air that will follow the front, however, should not drop temperatures as low as what will have the region shivering early Monday morning.