STATE COLLEGE, PA – Parts of the mid-Atlantic region may face their first severe weather threat of the season on Sunday after yet another round of powerful storms rumbles through the South. The severe threat follows spotty thunderstorms with vivid lightning that marched across the central Appalachians during early Friday morning and reached areas farther to the east in the Northeast during the day on Friday. That same storm system was expected to produce locally severe storms with damaging winds and hail over parts of upstate New York and northern and western New England Friday afternoon and continue the threat of isolated severe thunderstorms in the South from eastern North Carolina to northeastern Florida into Friday evening.
Just one day earlier, the same storm system produced multiple strong, devastating tornadoes that took the lives of six people in the Southern states. Storms lingering along the southern Atlantic coast into Friday evening were forecast to bring localized strong winds, hail, flash flooding and an isolated tornado or two.
A severe weather threat is forecast to develop on Saturday and Saturday night and will target portions of western and middle Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.
Following Saturday’s anticipated storms, the Sunday event will be the fifth significant day of severe weather and tornadoes in less than two weeks for parts of the South. Prior to Saturday storms, there have been at least 90 reports of tornadoes and more than 300 incidents of severe weather over this time in the South, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
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The main severe weather threat on Sunday is forecast to extend from southern Virginia to North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, northern Georgia, central and northern Alabama, central Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana.
“At this time, it looks like the primary threat for severe weather in the Eastern states on Sunday will be damaging wind gusts,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
“There is also some concern for isolated tornadoes as well from southern Virginia on south,” Travis added.
Some of the stronger storms may also produce hail. Areas that get hit with multiple storms will face a higher risk for flash flooding.
As is often the case, the thunderstorms are forecast to erupt along a cold front that slices into warm and humid air.
“The overall storm and trailing cold front are not anticipated to be as strong as the system that hammered the South so hard on Thursday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said, “However, it is forecast to pull warm air far enough to the north to warrant the potential for severe weather in parts of the mid-Atlantic.”
There may be little to no lightning associated with the storms in areas from northern Maryland and northern Delaware to New York state and part of New England on Sunday.
The Northeast as a whole might not get widespread thunderstorms with lightning and thunder on Sunday. However, there will still be the risk for heavy downpours, locally damaging winds and even hail, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
Forecasters warn that although the threat of severe weather in the Northeast is marginal at this time, conditions may evolve to be more of a threat.
AccuWeather forecasters are cautioning storm-weary Southerners to remain weather aware in the coming days. Even though the threat of severe weather will be substantially lower than earlier in the week, the risk of violent storms still exists.
As is the case with many storms this time of year, this storm will have a wintry side as well with snow forecast to blanket parts of southeastern Canada and northern New England Sunday night to early Monday.
It is possible that snow may even visit coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England one last time around the start of April just prior to or during Major League Baseball’s first games of the season.
Many places in the Northeast have had a relatively dry March, especially when compared to how wet and snowy February was. Most locations from Boston to Washington, D.C., have had only an inch or two of rainfall so far in March, compared to normal rainfall amounts of 3 or 4 inches.
During the month, several red flag warnings have been issued across Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, indicating how dry the atmosphere and the ground have become.
Philadelphia and New York City and Binghamton, New York, are among some of the driest areas of the Northeast as of March 23, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Paul Walker, who added that these cities have all recorded less than 75% of the normal March rainfall.
Rain on March 25 soaked Philadelphia and New York City with over an inch, but some areas were missed.
Binghamton Regional Airport has reported only 1.57 inches of rain this month as of March 25. This is only 53% of the month’s normal rainfall — and a wider zone of the southern tier of New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania, including other communities like Elmira, New York, and Towanda, Pennsylvania, has been exceptionally dry.
“While the upcoming rain and thunderstorms could help to keep drought conditions at bay, the recent dry conditions may keep the parched ground from absorbing the rain, increasing the risk of flooding,” Travis said, adding that less than an inch of rain this weekend could result in flash flooding in some areas.
In much of the South, saturated soil can lead to rapid runoff and a heightened risk of flooding this weekend ranging from urban areas and along small streams. It could also potentially cause some larger rivers to rise.
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