Powerful tornadoes and damaging winds are threatening several parts of the southern United States this week while a major snowstorm is expected to bury the Pacific Northwest under several feet of snow.
The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast warned that the violent storms would hit Tuesday afternoon into evening and produce powerful ‘long-track’ tornadoes – twisters that stay on the ground far longer than normal tornadoes.
The string of tornadoes extending from Illinois to Louisiana with gusts of 111 miles and above are likely to hit overnight when most people are asleep and unprepared, according to Storm Prediction Center specialist Bill Bunting.
While the southern states brace for the storms, at least 18 states in the Northwest are on alert as some areas could get up to two feet of snow on Tuesday.
Powerful tornadoes and damaging winds are threatening several parts of southern US this week while a major snowstorm is expected to bury the northwest under several feet of snow
Forecasters warned that tornadoes can occur overnight when people are asleep, and the areas most at risk are between Illinois and Louisiana
The National Weather Service Spokane office tweeted that a winter storm watch has been issued for Spokane, Washington, late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, with heavy snowfall expected.
The cross-country storm is expected to bring heavy snow from Nebraska to Michigan later Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Over the next two days, Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; and Casper, Wyoming, are expected to get between 6 and 12 inches of snow.
With the cold front barreling down from the Rocky Mountains and pushing across the central plains, with warmer, moist air pushing north from the Gulf of Mexico, it’s triggering severe storms in the south, Andrew Orrison, an NWS meteorologist, said.
The NWS on Monday warned the violent storms would hit parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee, with heavy wind damage expected, affecting more than 30 million people.
‘We are fairly confident that there will be multiple tornadoes on the ground from late Tuesday to early Tuesday night,’ AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. ‘People should take this threat seriously.’
The National Weather Service Spokane office tweeted that a winter storm watch has been issued for Spokane, Washington late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning
Along with the possibility of tornadoes, damaging winds of more than 60 mph and large hail are also possible for the northwestern Gulf coast to the Mississippi Valley, AccuWeather meteorologists warned.
Heavy, gusty, and possibly violent thunderstorms are expected to erupt later in the day Tuesday and into Tuesday night as energy from the jet stream moves in miles above the ground, AccuWeather reported.
Storms are first expected to hit northeastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana and central and eastern Arkansas from mid-to-late afternoon on Tuesday. And then shift to Mississippi, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee on Tuesday evening.
Meteorologists warned that the damaging winds are capable of downing trees and power lines, and even structures.
As the tornado threat extends into Tuesday evening, there is an added danger as it makes it harder to spot the storm in advance.
Bunting warned that Tornadoes at night are more dangerous than during the day since fewer people are typically aware of the incoming storm during normal sleep hours.
‘Another challenge with nighttime tornadoes, especially in the fall and winter, is that storms typically move very quickly, at times 50 or 60 mph,’ Bunting added.
The string of tornadoes extending from Illinois to Louisiana with gusts of 111 miles and above are likely to hit overnight when most people are asleep and unprepared
The risk of severe thunderstorms will continue to some extent on Wednesday farther to the east.
‘On Wednesday, atmosphere conditions will begin to trend less favorable for severe weather, but that may not be enough to prevent isolated damaging storms from occurring,’ AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Joe Bauer stated.
‘The greatest risk of severe thunderstorms may be near the Interstate-10 corridor of the central Gulf coast, but some strong storms may extend as far north as eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina as well.’
As the storms sweep across the country, airline delays and ground stops are likely from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday evening.
Storms over the weekend have already been slowing Thanksgiving travelers down as they make their way home after the holiday.
According to AAA, about 55 million people were expected to go more than 50 miles from home over the holiday, about 98 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Flight Aware, which tracks delays and cancellations, reported 4,850 flight delays and 104 cancellations within, in, and out of the US on Monday.
In the southeast, wind advisories are set for about nine million people on Monday, including in Louisiana where a tornado was confirmed Saturday.
At least 3,200 Entergy Louisiana customers lost power and some buildings were damaged when a tornado struck Paradis on Saturday afternoon
The storm warning comes after a tornado hit Paradis, Louisiana – which is outside New Orleans – on Saturday and left thousands without power. Pictured: A classroom torn apart by tornado
A mobile trailer was overturned after the tornado hit the city on Saturday
Video showed the intense storms hitting the region with further footage seeing a ton of damage and downed power lines in the New Orleans metropolitan region.
The area has also faced multiple marine warnings throughout the evening due to the wind and rain.
Forecasters warned people near the tornado’s path to be aware of flying debris that might damage mobile homes, roofs, windows, and vehicles.
But with heavy rain hitting much of the southern half of the country and moving toward the mid-Atlantic region, cities from Chicago to Atlanta to Washington to Nashville could see travel impacted.