A rare June severe weather outbreak is expected Wednesday across the Southeast, where destructive winds, damaging hail and strong tornadoes are all possible.
The severe storms could even meet the criteria for a widespread damaging-wind event known as a derecho.
Wednesday’s severe weather threat comes after massive hail fell Tuesday — estimated as large as 5.5 inches in Shamrock — while a tornado was spotted in Colorado.
Large hail also fell across Texas and Colorado on Monday, some as large as 4 inches in diameter. One of the hardest-hit areas was Pampa, Texas, where baseball-size hail fell.
Severe weather outbreak expected in Southeast on Wednesday
An outbreak of severe thunderstorms is expected across the Southeast on Wednesday, a rarity for June in this region of the US.
The risk of severe weather covers nearly 23 million people in southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, northern Florida and southern South Carolina.
The threat has been increased to a level 4 on NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) 5-point severe thunderstorm risk category scale for northeastern Louisiana, central and southern Mississippi and Alabama and southwestern Georgia — shaded in magenta on the map below.
This includes the cities of Jackson in Mississippi, Dothan and Montgomery in Alabama and Albany and Columbus in Georgia.
In SPC records dating to 2002, this is the first time a level 4 risk has been issued in the Southeast during the months of June, July and August.
The intense storms will likely come in multiple rounds through Wednesday night and could pack wind gusts of over 80 mph, hail larger than 3 inches in diameter and even a couple of EF-2 or stronger tornadoes.
Storms will likely be scattered through the afternoon, with the most widespread storms expected from Wednesday evening into early Thursday.
If the swath of wind damage spans at least 400 miles, the severe weather outbreak will meet the criteria for a derecho.
Severe storms possible in Southeast, Plains on Thursday
Both the Southeast and will face the threat of severe thunderstorms Thursday and Thursday night, though the storms are not expected to be as intense as Wednesday.
In the Southeast, the greatest risk stretches from southeastern Mississippi into southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.
In the Plains, portions of western and southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma have the greatest risk of severe storms.
Very large hail and damaging wind gusts are the main threats, but an isolated tornado is also possible.
More severe storms could develop Friday from Plains to Southeast
Scattered severe thunderstorms are possible Friday and Friday night in a corridor stretching from the central Plains through the lower Mississippi Valley and parts of the Southeast.
A more organized cluster of severe weather could threaten portions of northeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee.
Large hail and damaging wind gusts will likely be the main threats with Friday’s storms, though an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.
Severe weather threat continues this weekend
Additional rounds of severe weather are likely this weekend as a jet stream disturbance slides east across the Plains and mid-South.
Late Saturday and into Saturday night, severe storms are expected across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. That includes the potential for supercells capable of producing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
A more organized severe weather threat is possible Sunday and Sunday night across parts of the Ozark Plateau and mid-South.
Large hail and damaging wind gusts will likely be the primary threats, but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.