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The first week of May starts off very busy on the inclement weather front, with hundreds of millions of Americans in the eastern half of the country at risk of dangerous thunderstorms.
Severe weather hazards Monday and Tuesday follow an outbreak of tornadoes in Mississippi to end the weekend, including a large nighttime tornado that struck the city of Tupelo. Powerful storms with hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes were also reported in Colorado’s Front Range and the Central Plains on Sunday.
Forecasters expect storms early in the week to present similar dangers in much larger and more populated areas.
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Even outside of areas where AccuWeather meteorologists are focusing for more concentrated weather risks, any thunderstorms in the central and eastern states could become heavy and gusty locally at the start of this week.
Several high atmospheric disturbances, associated with warm, humid air coming out of the front of these systems, will be the catalyst for the expected widespread showers and thunderstorms.
From Monday to Monday evening, a system ejected from the Rockies is expected to trigger severe thunderstorms from eastern Oklahoma to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The threat is expected to spread to the lower Ohio Valley.
“These severe thunderstorms are expected to bring hail, intense lightning, flash flooding and damaging wind gusts, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax ™ of 80 mph,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo, adding that tornadoes are also possible.
Larger metropolitan areas such as Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Louis and Indianapolis could be in the crosshairs of these dangerous thunderstorms.
AccuWeather meteorologists are urging residents to make sure they have a way to receive severe weather warnings before bed, as the risk of severe weather is expected to continue long after dark.
Thunderstorms are also expected to erupt across much of the southeast to start the week, and a few of them could become severe locally. A swath from Alabama to the Carolinas could be most at risk from locally damaging storms on Monday.
Experts say another round of dangerous weather conditions will erupt on Tuesday.
A wave of very humid air spreading northward across the Gulf States will encounter a storm upwelling along a front from east Texas to the Ohio Valley. This will lead to an outbreak of thunderstorms that will likely persist until Tuesday evening, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson.
Thunderstorms are expected to target cities such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta; and potentially more northerly areas like Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh. Tupelo and other towns in Mississippi that were devastated by Sunday’s tornadoes will be right in the middle of the threat zone.
Storm hazards will include hail, showers, tornadoes and gusts of wind in a straight line with an AccuWeather Local StormMax ™ of 75 mph, according to LoBiondo.
“There will also be pockets of flash flooding, especially in areas of low elevation and poor drainage, but luckily the storms will move at a decent rate, limiting the duration of intense rainfall in most areas. “said Anderson.
Southern regions that experienced a very rainy April will be at the greatest risk of flash flooding.
Those with plans for road and air travel across the central, eastern and southern states may anticipate a slowdown amid the storm.
Even without any flooding issues, torrential downpours in storms can cause problems for motorists in the form of reduced visibility on highways as well as an increased risk of hydroplaning.
By the middle of the week, there may be a localized risk of severe weather along the mid-Atlantic and southeastern coasts before the front sweeps out to sea.
A surge of cooler air into the Midwest, Northeast, and even parts of the South will help suppress severe thunderstorm activity, at least temporarily, by the end of this week.
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