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Severe storms, isolated tornadoes to rattle Deep South early this week

Renee Duff

Severe thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, tore through the southern Plains Sunday night, but the storms will still pack a punch farther east in the central United States into Monday evening.

The necessary ingredients for thunderstorm development came together Sunday night as a cold front collided with the warm, moist air in place across the southern Plains.

Thunderstorms exploded from southern Kansas to central Texas late Sunday evening and expanded as they moved eastward later Sunday night.

The storms congealed into a powerful line of thunderstorms, or squall line, as the night progressed. The squall line persisted into the first thing Monday morning, but has morphed into a swath of heavy, gusty thunderstorms during the midday hours.

"The main threats from the storms into Monday evening will be from blinding downpours and strong wind gusts but an isolated tornado cannot be ruled-out," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Edwards.

Cities in the path of the storms include Nashville, Tennessee; London, Kentucky; Columbus, Ohio; Jackson, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Galveston, Texas; and Huntsville, Alabama.

Just after 9 p.m. CDT, a confirmed tornado caused damage near Dallas, Texas. About half an hour later, over 50,000 customers were without power in Dallas County, Texas, according to PowerOutage.US.

As the storms rolled through Memphis, Tennessee, at the start of Monday, damaging winds and a tornado warning prompted evacuations of airline passengers who had boarded planes. Delays followed as many passengers had to pass through security checkpoints again.

It is a good idea to keep cell phones charged with the volume turned up and severe weather alerts enabled. This will allow you to be notified if a severe thunderstorm or tornado is heading for your community before you wake up.

Straight-line wind gusts up to an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 55 mph can toss around loose outdoor items, such as lightweight furniture or fall decorations, that are not brought inside or secured beforehand.

Tree damage and sporadic power outages can also occur in such winds.

The thunderstorms will move along at a quick enough pace across the Tennessee Valley to limit concerns for flash flooding. However, storms near the Gulf coast will move at a slower pace and have a greater potential to cause flash flooding.

As the storms continue to advance, people in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Montgomery, Alabama; Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans could be hit with disruptive weather later Monday afternoon. Strong storms may even survive the trip into Atlanta Monday evening.

Although the threat for tornadoes will be less on Monday than what it was on Sunday night, there is the still the potential for an isolated. The tornado could be wrapped in rain and difficult to spot.

Drier, cooler air will sweep in from west to east across the South behind the thunderstorms, aiding any cleanup operations that may be needed.

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