Dangerous and severe storms are expected to slam parts of the Southeast and Ohio River Valley this weekend, forecasters say.
The potent system will create the potential for life-threatening winds, strong tornadoes and large hail.
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk (level 4 out of 5) for severe weather Saturday across parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
And on Sunday, an enhanced risk (level 3 out of 5) stretches from Atlanta to Cleveland.
Severe storms possible from Texas to Mississippi
The first severe storms are expected during lunchtime Saturday into late afternoon across East Texas, Louisiana, southern Arkansas and eastern Mississippi. Cities such as Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi, may be affected.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said the threat for severe weather is greatest at such times.
He said that the warm air present during the afternoon will enhance the atmosphere’s instability, creating more energy for storms to tap into and aiding in their development.
The storms most capable of producing tornadoes and large hail will be the individual, rotating cells that form ahead of a larger complex of thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.
Tornadoes possible overnight in Alabama
By late Saturday, the storms will organize into a line as they cross the western border of Mississippi.
The system will begin to move through Alabama overnight and is expected to reach Georgia by Sunday morning.
The energy from warm afternoon temperatures will diminish, but the risk for tornadoes will not be over.
“The storm is so vigorous that tornadoes are still possible after dark,” Myers said.
Tornadoes at that time can be especially dangerous since they are difficult to see and people are less likely to receive warnings while they’re asleep.
Georgia, the Southern Appalachians and Ohio Valley
The most significant risk of severe weather is expected Saturday, but there’s still considerable potential Sunday.
The Storm Prediction Center issued an enhanced risk across a broad area, stretching from eastern Alabama through the southern Appalachians and into the Ohio Valley. The main line of storms will begin to push into this area late Sunday morning and trek to the east on Sunday afternoon. The center expects the threat of severe weather to increase throughout the afternoon.
“Damaging winds appear to be the greatest threat on Sunday, but tornadoes will also be possible,” CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
The risk will slowly diminish as the system begins to weaken Sunday evening.
The Masters tournament may see exciting final round
Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club is included in the slight risk area Sunday as the Masters concludes.
The storms are expected to move through the Augusta area during the afternoon and evening, which could affect the schedules of some players finishing up their rounds.
The tornado threat will be lower by then, but damaging winds could still present hazardous conditions.
Either way, it could make for a delayed and an interesting end to the four-day tournament.