• Severe weather will return to the South in the coming days.
  • Tornadoes, destructive winds and large hail are all potential threats.
  • Last December proved how tornadoes can be a danger in the winter months.

Severe thunderstorms in the South next week could spawn tornadoes in addition to destructive wind gusts, large hail and flash flooding.

The Severe Weather Instigator

A​n energetic storm system will track into the middle of the country by Tuesday, where it will gather increasing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

That warm, moist air in combination with the storm’s strong upper-level winds will create a volatile environment that’ll fuel the formation of numerous thunderstorms that could produce severe weather.

W​hat To Expect

Tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds and large hail are all in play as potential threats. S​ince we are still a few days away, the magnitude of each of those threats is still a bit uncertain.

Below is a general outlook showing where there’s the highest confidence of severe weather Tuesday and Wednesday, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

-T​uesday-Tuesday night: eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma into Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee

-​Wednesday-Wednesday night: southeastern Louisiana into southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle

K​eep in mind the location of these threat areas could shift in the coming days once the exact timing becomes more certain.

H​eavy rain might also raise the risk of flash flooding in much of the South from Tuesday through Thursday.


December’s Recent History Shows It Can Be Prone To Outbreaks

While tornadoes may not be on your mind this time of year, severe weather can occur well into the winter months.

Wintertime outbreaks often occur when excessive Gulf of Mexico heat and humidity swarms over the South while the strengthened cool season jet stream blows ahead of winter storms. These severe weather outbreaks are most common from Texas to Florida, but bursts of heat can bring the risk of nasty weather into parts of the Midwest.

(​MORE: Tornadoes Are Not Just A Spring Concern)

L​ast December was an extreme example, as a pair of outbreaks helped crushed the month’s tornado record. A total of 232 twisters were confirmed, more than doubling the previous record of 99 tornadoes in December 2002.

T​he worst outbreak produced 66 tornadoes Dec. 10-11, including a pair of long-track EF4 tornadoes from northeastern Arkansas and Missouri’s Bootheel into northwestern Tennessee and Kentucky. More than 80 people were killed and hundreds were injured across parts of five states.

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