RIGHT NOW: The squall line has taken shape and is currently moving through West and Central Mississippi. At 11:45 AM, Key Field is reporting 59 degrees. We really need to be above 60 to see significant severe weather, but a warm front is positioned just to our Southwest and is moving Northeast. That should pull some moist and warm Gulf air into our area just ahead of the squall line. As I write this, there is one strong (not severe) storm over Newton County moving to the Northeast. There is also a Tornado Watch up for the Jackson Metro and Mississippi Counties bordering our Western most areas.
THIS AFTERNOON: We should warm up into the 60s before the squall line gets here, and that will provie plenty of energy. The sounding from Jackson this morning showed a very sheared environment (winds turning with height). They'll be sending another balloon up at Noon, so we'll have a better grasp on the current atmospheric conditions. I do expect a Tornado Watch to be issued for most of our area within the next few hours as the squall line approaches.
TIMING: Our Western most areas will see the squall line start to move in during the early afternoon hours, While our extreme East Mississippi and West Alabama Counties won't likely see the action until the evening hours. This will be an all afternoon and evening (and possibly early night hours) event for the Newscenter 11 viewing area simply because it will take a while for the squall line to progress through.
THREATS: Primary threats include tornadoes and damaging straight line winds. Since the environment is so sheared, a strong tornado can't be ruled out with the strongest broken cells that form the squall line. Wind will also gust over 60 MPH in some of the bowing segments along the line. A secondary risk of hail also looks likely, as there are Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for the Jackson Metro due to hail over 1 inch in diameter. Heavy rains will also be an issue. (We are all under a Flash Flood Watch).
As this squall line moves closer, we'll be watching it. You just need to make sure you have a way to get warnings. A NOAA Weather Radio or smartphone app are the best ways. Never rely on an outdoor siren! If a warning comes down for your area, be sure to turn it to WTOK or check the web for updates.