Fall severe season brings strong tornado threat to Texas and surrounding states Friday

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CNN

A two-season clash is underway as an early winter blast and record fall heat, leading to a robust severe storm system in the south and creating the largest tornado threat the US has seen in more than five months.

A tornado watch is in effect Friday afternoon for nearly 12 million people in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and there were reports of a tornado and damage Friday afternoon, according to the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office in northeast Texas.

“Several tornadoes are possible over far southeastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas,” the Storm Prediction Center warned in its Friday severe weather forecast, adding that “a strong tornado or two can occur from the late afternoon to early evening.”

CNN Weather

The Storm Prediction Center marked a “moderate risk” — a level 4 of 5 — with severe thunderstorms for eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana on Friday.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area remains under elevated risk – a level 3 out of 4 – for Friday.

“The most likely area for strong tornadoes [EF2 or higher] will be from far southeast Oklahoma south to eastern Texas, east of the I-35 corridor,” the forecast center said.

The tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. local time and includes north-central and northeastern Texas, eastern and southern Oklahoma, and northwestern Arkansas. It includes Dallas, Waco and Tyler in Texas, Tulsa in Oklahoma and Fort Smith and Fayetteville in Arkansas.

In addition to intense tornadoes, scattered large to very large hail, larger than a golf ball (2 inches in diameter), are also possible, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The main threat will shift from tornadoes Friday afternoon and evening to damaging winds into the night as thunderstorms align and spread to Arkansas and Louisiana.

As the storms move east, a significant widespread and damaging wind event is forecast in parts of the Ark-La-Tex region later Friday night. Therefore, the forecast center has increased the threat level for Friday.

“The storms will continue well into the night, tracking much of Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as western Mississippi, the forecast center added.

This storm system will move quickly from west to east, minimizing the chance of flash flooding in the Ark-La-Tex area. Further north, one to four inches of rainfall is expected through Saturday across a wide area from Kansas to Wisconsin.

Precipitation is desperately needed in this region as the recent drought has caused the Mississippi River to reach record levels, impacting shipping and the supply chain.

A total of 42 million people from Texas to Wisconsin are at risk from severe storms on Friday. Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Kansas City and Wichita are also at risk areas.

The last time the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area was at increased risk or later was May 24.

While tornadoes in the US can happen in any month of the year, they are most common in the spring thanks to the collision of cold and warm air as the seasons change. The same confluence of temperatures also occurs in the fall, which is why you’ll often see a secondary “heavy season” later in the year.

“You can see that while the spring months are our busiest time climatically, there is a secondary increase in tornado activity in November,” the National Weather Service said in New Orleans.

Texas sees the most tornadoes (7) on average in the month of November, followed by Alabama (6), Louisiana (5) and Mississippi (5).

The time of day a tornado occurs makes a big difference in the death rate. Nighttime tornadoes are more dangerous because many people are asleep and unaware that they need to find a safe location. While the greater tornado threat for this particular event exists during the day, there is still the potential for a few rotating storms through the evening hours.

Have your severe weather safety plan ready before bad weather hits. Know where to go when severe weather strikes, and make sure flashlights are working and cell phones are fully charged in case your power goes out.

“One of the most important features of your severe weather safety plans is to have a reliable means of receiving severe weather warnings,” the New Orleans Weather Service said.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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