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Severe Weather Potential Looms Over the Midwest and Deep South Next Week

As we brace ourselves for the arrival of spring thunderstorms, Mother Nature seems poised to remind us of her power before February ends. The Midwest and Deep South are facing the potential for severe weather including tornadoes, on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. While the exact details remain uncertain, the ingredients are coming together for a potentially volatile atmospheric event and could be the first large tornado outbreak of 2024. The SPC has already issued a severe potential of 15% as of today [Fig. 1].

Figure 1 – Day 6 and 7 Severe Weather Outlook. A depicted severe weather area indicates 15%, 30% or higher probability for severe thunderstorms within 25 miles of a point. Via the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

A potent mid- to upper-level trough [Fig. 2] will sweep into the central U.S. by midweek. A deep cyclone is expected to traverse from the central Great Plains into the Great Lakes region.

Figure 2 – 500 mb Height Anomaly (ECMWF) valid for Wednesday February 28th, 2024 at 6Z via Pivotal Weather

Ahead of this system, there’s a notable build-up of steep lapse rates associated with an elevated mixed layer over the Texas Panhandle Region. Additionally, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is set to feed into the region [Fig. 3], creating a conducive environment for severe weather development.

Figure 3 – Dew point (°F) (ECMWF) valid for Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 at 6Z via Pivotal Weather

With the convergence of these atmospheric conditions, there’s an increased risk of severe thunderstorms, including hail, strong winds and tornadoes. While it’s still too early to pinpoint the exact timing, impacts, and locations of these storms, residents in the affected regions are urged to stay vigilant and monitor updates from local authorities and meteorological agencies.