The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is forecasting a potentially high impact severe weather event for Wednesday that could extend into the early morning hours of Thursday.
Tornadoes, with perhaps a few significant ones, are possible across northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama.
The SPC regularly issues convective thunderstorm outlooks in order to communicate the level of risk associated with severe weather events to the general public. These risks are noted by different colors and numbers. This particular event will likely be given a Level 4 (out of 5 total) Moderate Risk, meaning a few long-track tornadoes will be possible in the affected region.
In the meteorology world, weather models are one of the tools we regularly use to issue accurate forecasts.These models produce a plethora of different parameter outputs and products that enable you to see a nice, clean forecast on a daily basis.
Several models are hinting at the development of supercell thunderstorm formation on Wednesday. Supercells are the parent thunderstorm of potentially dangerous, long-track tornadoes.
This event is still approximately 48 hours from coming to fruition, however if you live in northeastern/central Mississippi or central/northwestern Alabama, NOW is the time to be prepared in case of a potential tornado.
It’s been quite some time since this region has experienced the threat of severe weather.
Here is a quick review of the things you should do if a tornado warning is issued for your area…
- You absolutely cannot be mobile home during a tornado. Cars and mobile homes are one of the worst places for you and your family to be during a tornado. If you’re in a mobile home, you MUST know in advance nearby structures that can withstand strong winds. Identify those places NOW before the action happens.
- No cars. If you’re in a car, you’ve got to get out and get to a site-built structure. This includes places like a well-built home, business, restaurant, gas station, etc. Cars are like tiny toys to a tornado. They have very little weight, comparatively speaking. Think you can outrun a tornado? Bad idea. Tornadoes can have erratic motion at times, and it’s critical that you are not in a vehicle during a tornado warning.
- Once you’re in a site-built structure, get to the lowest floor. You’ll need to be away from windows and doors, preferably in an interior hallway, closet, or bathroom. The more walls you can put between you and the outside world, the better off you’ll be.
- Folklore says you should be underground during a tornado. While this is preferable, if you’re not near a basement or storm shelter, it’s better to get in the middle of a site-built structure and not try to run or drive to a basement.
- I’m a big proponent of putting football or bicycle helmets on during a tornado warning, especially on children. Without going into too much detail, the odds of survival increase pretty dramatically if you protect and shield your head. It may look funny and you may draw some weird looks, but trust me… Do it anyway. It very well could save your life.
Rise News will continue to monitor this potential severe weather event in combination with RedZone Weather over the next few days.
Spinks Megginson is the chief weather analyst for Rise News. He also runs RedZone Weather, a hyperlocal weather service that focuses on Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida.