Millions of people in the South and Southeast are at risk of strong thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash flooding Tuesday and Wednesday, while a disorderly winter storm is expected to hit the Midwest and another storm is expected to hit the Midwest. California later this week. Meanwhile, all-time highs are expected in the Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic.
Threats of severe storms, flash floods
Up to 20 million people from southeastern Louisiana to south-central Alabama are at risk of severe thunderstorms Tuesday that could bring damaging wind gusts, large hail and a few strong tornadoes, rated with winds in excess of 111 mph. .
The storms are expected to continue through the day and last into the night. The cities of New Orleans, Montgomery, Alabama, and Gulfport, Mississippi, are in the highest risk area.
In addition to severe thunderstorms, flash flooding will also be a threat. As of Tuesday morning, 24 million people were under flood watches for parts of the Southeast, Tennessee and Mississippi river valleys, which are expected to receive 2 to 4 inches of rain. The greatest risk for flash flooding is in south-central Alabama, including Montgomery.
At least 4 million people in northern Louisiana through central Kentucky were under a tornado watch as of 11 a.m. CT Tuesday as storms raged through those regions, which could see 2 to 3 inches of rain per hour and an associated risk of flash flooding.
In Louisville, Kentucky, several roads were blocked by flash flooding and crews were conducting water rescues as of Tuesday morning, NBC affiliate. WAVE of Louisville reported.
On Wednesday, 5 million people are at risk of severe thunderstorms that could spread across parts of Georgia and northern Florida, including the cities of Macon and Tallahassee, and could also bring damaging winds, hail and tornadoes, though not expect the threat to be greater. as high as it is Tuesday.
Disorderly winter storm moving across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest
A total of 11 million people are under winter alerts from northeast Colorado to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for snow and freezing rain. Up to 3 to 9 inches of snow is possible, and isolated areas could receive up to a foot of snow, from northeast Nebraska to northwestern Wisconsin through Thursday.
Minneapolis will see a myriad of precipitation types with this event, likely shifting between freezing rain and snow for most of the duration. The heaviest snow will be Tuesday until 3 pm when snow could fall at times 1-2 inches per hour. There will be a break in the snow at noon before another round on Tuesday night. As of Tuesday morning, 5 to 9 inches of snow is expected in the greater Minneapolis area.
Road conditions began to deteriorate throughout southwestern Minnesota Tuesday morning, with the Minnesota Department of Transportation warning that people should avoid driving in Rock and Nobles counties due to reduced visibility, heavy snow and High Winds, NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis reported, adding that more travel impacts are expected across the state on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Short break for California… before a big storm
One state that is forecast to remain dry on Tuesday is California, which saw record rainfall this holiday weekend, an increasing occurrence as climate change raises the odds for extreme precipitation. Oakland saw its wettest day on record since 1970 over the weekend with nearly 5 inches of rain, and downtown San Francisco received nearly 5.5 inches of rain on December 31, making it the second-wettest day in the more than 170 years of records at that location.
But the break will not last long. Another strong storm system is expected to move toward the West Coast between Wednesday and Friday, and is forecast to reach bomb cyclone status by the time it hits the California coast early Wednesday morning.
That storm will put 12 million people in north-central California under a flood watch Wednesday and Thursday. There could be 2 to 4 inches of rain in the valleys, 3 to 5 inches on the slopes, and 7 inches on the mountains below 6,000 feet.
The Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles are the most populated areas to watch for flooding, but flooding is possible across much of the state on Wednesday and Thursday.
NBC Bay Area noted that a National Weather Service forecast warned that Wednesday’s storm would be “a truly brutal system that we are watching and must be taken seriously” and that it would bring a “probable loss of life.”
Record high temperatures forecast elsewhere
Numerous all-time highs are likely in the Midwest and Ohio Valley on Tuesday. St. Louis could see a high in the early 70s on Tuesday before expected highs drop to the 30s and mid-40s the rest of the week.
In addition to those areas, the warmth will also spread to the south and east.
Temperatures rising 15-25 degrees above average will lead to highs in the 50s and 60s in the Northern Tier areas and in the 70s and 80s in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Atlanta and Washington, DC, are expected to post highs in the 60s and 70s on Tuesday and Wednesday, while New York is expected to see highs near the 60s.
The cooler temperatures are expected to hit the Midwest on Wednesday and the Northeast on Friday, but they will still be well above average for this time of year.