Sunday, December 23, 2012

Significant Severe Weather Threat on Christmas Eve / Christmas Day in the South...

As mentioned in a blog post yesterday afternoon and with added emphasis in a facebook post this morning, I am growing increasingly concerned about the potential for a significant (though regional) outbreak of severe weather in the South late on Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day.  This threat will include tornadoes, a few of which could be strong and/or have a long track.

The latest severe weather outlooks for Christmas Eve (Monday) and Christmas Day (Tuesday) from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK are shown below.  The first image is the outlook valid for Christmas Eve:

...and the second is the outlook valid for Christmas Day:

In both cases, severe storms are possible anywhere within the brown and yellow shaded areas on each of the given days.  For Christmas Day, there is an elevated risk of "significant" severe weather within the red shaded and black hatched area, generally extending from central and eastern Louisiana, Eastward into southern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama.  Within this region, hail greater than 2 inches in diameter, wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and one or more strong and/or long track tornadoes are possible.

I am always very concerned about a significant severe weather threat taking place on a holiday because, understandably, most folks are out of touch with the weather and don't generally monitor local media sources as they are away from home, with family and friends, etc.  This is not a situation where you should turn a blind eye to the weather.  If you live or have travel plans within the threat areas outlined above for either Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, please make sure that you have a way to receive severe weather warnings, including the possibly that some of those warnings will be issued at night on either day.

In an effort to give you a better idea as to what specific areas are most likely to be threatened at specific times during the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day period, I have prepared the following maps below.

First, the primary threat area on Christmas Eve from 6pm to Midnight CST:

...then the primary threat area late on Christmas Eve into the morning hours on Christmas Day, from Midnight to 12 Noon CST:

Later on Christmas Day, here is the primary severe weather threat area for the period 12 Noon to 6pm CST:

...and for the period 6pm to 12 Midnight CST on Christmas Day:

Again, this is a potentially dangerous and life threatening situation for late Christmas Eve into much of Christmas Day.  If you will be in these areas, please make sure to listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for the latest weather information.

Especially if you will be in unfamiliar surroundings during this time, please take a few moments to review your severe weather safety and preparedness tips and make sure that you have identified the best place to seek shelter quickly if threatening weather is observed or a warning is issued for your location.

I'll make another post tomorrow with any relevant updates, but I generally do not expect much change to what has been outlined above...

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