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Dangerous severe weather outbreaks are expected in Texas on Monday and then again in Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, with the threat from the latter being well-documented for days. 

Tuesday's threat has been dubbed a "moderate" risk by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), which marks the 18th time since 2005 that a moderate risk status has been issued three days ahead of an expected outbreak – and the threat remains now that the outbreak is within 24 hours. 

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"Moderate" may sound modest, but it actually represents a significant risk of widespread severe weather. Some areas of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi will be hit not once but twice (or more) with severe thunderstorms.

Monday's risk in Texas has been upgraded to moderate with potential for large hail, damaging winds and strong tornadoes. 

Monday's severe weather risk area. 

Monday's severe weather risk area. 

And then there's Tuesday's risk, which again has been in place multiple days. It remains to be seen if the SPC will give Tuesday's threat the ultra-rare "high" risk. 


Tornado threat Tuesday covers large area of poverty

One of the primary reasons Tuesday's tornado threat is serious is because the threat area for significant severe weather – possible long track damaging tornadoes – covers an area with a lot of poverty and manufactured housing. 

Below you can see the animated future radar showing explosive storm development in Texas Monday afternoon, with that squall line racing to the east before impacting Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday. 


The squall line itself will pose a threat for damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, but any discrete supercells that develop out ahead of the main line will be the most dangerous and capable of producing strong tornadoes that could remain on the ground for long distances. 

"Any such supercell development would pose a threat of all severe hazards, including the potential for strong tornadoes," the SPC warns. 

All severe weather ingredients in place

The culprit is a large upper level low/trough, which is essentially cool air aloft, which creates instability. As the ground heats up and moistens, cooling the air above it allows air to rise rapidly and produce storm clouds.

We also have a sharp cold front that will drop temperatures from the 70s to near 80 degrees into the 40s behind it. The cold front acts as a further mechanism to push warm, humid air upward. 

This GIF shows how the cooler temps behind the front will replace the warmer temps ahead of the front, setting the stage for a dynamic airmass.  

This GIF shows how the cooler temps behind the front will replace the warmer temps ahead of the front, setting the stage for a dynamic airmass.  

Critically important is moisture for thunderstorms. Dew points will be near 70 ahead of the cold front and upper level low on Tuesday, providing the fuel for any renegade supercells that develop ahead of the main line of severe storms. Any of the supercells will be capable of damaging, long-track tornadoes, the SPC says. 


When forecasting tornadoes, shear is the make-or-break ingredient to organize storms that are long lasting with rotating updrafts. High shear values will move ahead of the upper-level low Monday into Tuesday. 

Shear is caused by winds moving in different directions with height or at different speeds. This produces a horizontal rotation that is then translated vertically as warm, humid air rises into storms. 

Wind sheer Monday-Tuesday will be significant in the Deep South. 

Wind sheer Monday-Tuesday will be significant in the Deep South. 

The combination of shear and instability can be measured using parameters like a supercell index or significant tornado parameter. Both of those indices are high today and tomorrow in the Deep South. This animation below shows very high significant tornado parameters in east-central Texas on Monday, and then again in Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday. 


All of this combines for a rare level 4 out of 5 risk of severe storms from the Storm Prediction Center. Storms that develop Monday will likely become a squall line of storms with supercells out ahead of it. This is how some areas may be hit by multiple rounds of severe weather Monday into Tuesday. 

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