Storms Forecast to Erupt Through Southern U.S. to Kick Off the Week

Posted: March 14, 2022 2:24 pm

Rain Will Expand to the East Through Tuesday

After hitting record lows in some areas of the South over the past weekend, the reappearance of more seasonable warm and moist air will trigger a rash of severe weather to start the work week.

A Look Back at the Weekend

It was a cold March weekend for much of the South. A massive storm system brought snow and icy conditions through the southern Plains and up and down the East Coast beginning on Friday and lasting through late Saturday. By the time the storm had wrapped up, much of the U.S. had experienced wintry precipitation, severe thunderstorms, or record cold temperatures.

Not even Florida was spared from the inclement weather conditions. The Sunshine State experienced gusty winds as well as an EF-1 tornado in Ocala. A waterspout on Fort Myers Beach sent visitors scrambling up the sand for safety. The temperatures had plummeted by Sunday morning, putting some crops in danger of a late season.

Warming Pattern in Store

The good news for those ready to welcome spring is that temperatures are already rebounding to start the week. However, along with this resurgence of warm air comes the heightened risk of more severe weather in the form of heavy downpours and thunderstorms.

A new storm system is expected to develop beginning in the southern Plains on Monday before moving to the southeast through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday. This system will bring a series of rain events and thunderstorms that are forecast to intensify as it brings up warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.

This will put the threat of severe weather late Monday across portions of northeast Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and the bulk of Louisiana. Residents should be ready for thunderstorms to fire in the late afternoon and evening hours and continue into the overnight hours. Because severe weather may strike when people are sleeping, it is important to turn smartphone alerts on or use a weather radio.

This system will bring the potential of strong winds, flash flooding, hail, and isolated tornadoes. Cities in the bullseye of this first system include Dallas and Shreveport.

Threat to Move to Southeast on Tuesday

This weather maker will move to the southeast on Tuesday, putting the Gulf Coast and Florida in the line of fire. It is still uncertain if this shift will bring simply heavy rain or the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There is also the potential of waterspouts forming over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that could possibly move onshore, disrupting the Spring Break beach plans of many tourists.

Sunshine State cities such as Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Myers, and Orlando may also see severe weather out of this system. The flash flooding risk will be particularly prevalent along the central portions of the Gulf Coast and through northern Florida. This is the same area that saw the heavy rain over the weekend, making flash flooding more likely because the ground is already saturated and many waterways are already full.

Rain to Temper Wildfire Danger in Florida

One bright spot in all of this rain is that it has helped to quell some of the wildfires that have erupted over the Florida Panhandle in the last several weeks. An abnormally dry February provided the fuel needed to ignite the flames and cause disruptions.

Travel routes that may be impacted by this latest round of severe weather include some stretches of interstates 10, 20, 49, 55, 59, and 65. Be sure to check the weather conditions before heading out on these routes over the next 48 hours.

The storm will eventually move to the northeast as the week continues, bringing more rain to the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic by the middle of the week.