The calm before the storm as temperatures today warmed into the 80s and we have seen much more sunshine than expected, which is not generally smiled upon in severe weather scenarios.
To our west, a tornado watch has been issued for most of the state of Arkansas as storms have been developing all morning. They currently lifting northward as they are embedded in the jet stream and actually travelling all the way to Pennsylvania.
These storms, while mostly discreet, are beginning to show signs of morphing into a squall line, or perhaps more accurately, a quasi-linear convective system (QLCS), which is several thunderstorms moving in a line but remaining somewhat discreet.
These storms will be impacting the Delta of Arkansas and Mississippi within the next few hours, where a tornado watch will likely be added and extended, probably to I-55 this evening.
Timing is the biggest question mark with this system, as it will determine what we will see for Thursday. For now, the thinking is the squall line currently beginning to form in Texas and western Arkansas will arrive in the Delta around 3am and be reaching East Mississippi around sunrise. However, the models have been slowing this system down significantly and we could see the squall line almost stall around the Jackson Metro overnight. This would be the worst case scenario as that would allow us to warm up through the morning and generate more instability for storms.
WHAT TO EXPECT
I am currently thinking that the remnant of the squall line to our west will arrive around sunrise. The severe threat with this will be minimal and it will be slow in moving. In fact, the line itself may not even reach the state line until 11am or later. Because of the slow movement, I expect locations along and east of Highway 45 (Meridian, Scooba, Macon, Waynesboro and all of Alabama) to warm up into the mid 70s by noon, at which time we will see the development of new storms ahead of the line and a re-strengthening of the line. This is where I think our severe threat lies with damaging winds, hail, and potential isolated tornadoes in storms ahead of the line or breaks in the line. The storms should push into West Alabama just after noon and clear out completely by around 4pm.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW?
Now is the time to prepare for any potential severe weather. Make sure your NOAA Weather Radio has batteries and is working properly. Also, make sure you can get alerts however you will be best able to receive them. If you haven't already, download the WTOK TV app for your smartphones and tablets as that will give you the latest weather information as well as allow you to watch us live streaming should we need to do weather cut-ins. If you haven't already, like and follow WTOK-TV on Facebook or follow us @Newscenter 11 on Twitter. You can also like and follow Jeff and myself on Facebook and Twitter.
I honestly do not expect this to be a major severe weather event, but it only takes one tornado to hit someone's house for it to be major to them. Make sure you are prepared and be weather aware Thursday. Jeff and I will be keeping you updated throughout the event.
Details will be available on Live at 5 and Newscenter 11 at 6 and 10 and also on Good Morning Meridian.