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(WABNEWS) — Strong storms moving through the Lower Mississippi Valley have produced at least 10 reports of tornadoes since 8:30 p.m. Miami time. Nine of them are recorded in central and southern Mississippi.
The threat of tornadoes will continue through the night in the South. Nighttime tornadoes are deadlier than daytime tornadoes because people are often asleep and unable to get to safety or receive a warning.RELATED
Tornado warnings currently extend from northeast Louisiana to Alabama.
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A tornado watch from “particularly dangerous situation”, which is reserved for the most serious severe storm threats and is used in only 3% of watches, was issued Tuesday for central Mississippi, northeast Louisiana and southwest Arkansas, and is in effect until 2 p.m. am, local time. This is the second such alert to be issued this Tuesday and includes many of the same locations as the first, which has since expired.
“There is an outbreak of severe thunderstorms occurring in the south tonight and is expected to continue through the night,” the governor said Tuesday. National Weather Service (NWS). “Severe thunderstorms are bringing strong tornadoes, very large hail, and severe wind gusts to parts of the lower and mid-Mississippi Valley, the Mid-South, and parts of the Southeast.”
Some tornado warnings were issued Tuesday afternoon, the agency said, and a tornado was confirmed near Vaiden, Mississippi, the National Weather Service reported.
This comes as severe storms could hit a much wider area of the United States Tuesday through early Wednesday, from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, with tornadoes, damaging winds and hail, forecasters said.
But forecasters at the forecasting center focused especially on Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In this sense, they said that “the parameters seem favorable for strong tornadoes with a long trajectory”, that is, those that remain on the ground for a prolonged period in the surveillance area from Tuesday afternoon.
“Numerous tornadoes are expected with a chance of a few severe tornadoes,” along with scattered large hail and scattered damaging wind gusts of up to 70 mph (113 km/h), forecasters said in special tornado alert.
In total, more than 41 million people from southeast Texas east to Georgia, and north to central Indiana and Illinois are under a minimal threat of severe weather Tuesday, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
Apart from the special tornado watch, the prediction center established an area where he believed the greatest potential for severe weather, including tornadoes, existed, covering 1.6 million people in east-central Louisiana; a strip of southeast Arkansas; much of Mississippi, including Jackson; and northwestern Alabama. The threat for that area — a level 4 of 5, or moderate — is relatively unusual for this time of year, and tornadoes, while they can occur year-round, are more frequent in spring and summer.
“Severe thunderstorms in the fall and winter can be extremely strong and can sometimes catch people off guard, as thunderstorms tend to occur less frequently during the colder months,” he told WABNEWS Weather Bill Bunting, head of forecast operations at the Storm Prediction Center.
A level 3 of 5, or enhanced, risk zone surrounds that area, covering 2.8 million people in parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as a small part of eastern Texas, southeastern Arkansas, southwest Tennessee and western Alabama.
Some tornadoes could occur overnight Tuesday through Wednesday.
“Another challenge with nighttime tornadoes, especially in the fall and winter, is that the storms typically move very fast, sometimes 50 or 60 mph (80 or 96 km/h),” Bunting said.
“This means that decisions must be made quickly and shelter based on the information contained in the severe storm or tornado warning, and not wait until the storm arrives,” Bunting added.