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TORNADO WATCH until 7pm for local area

5 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 April 18, 2019 6:22 AM April 18, 2019 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

An active storm pattern continues across the southeastern U.S., and once again, severe thunderstorms will be possible on Thursday. Ingredients are in place to warrant a 3 out of 5 “enhanced” risk of severe weather.

A *TORNADO WATCH* has been issued for the entire WBRZ Weather forecast area until 7pm Thursday. This means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. Pick out the safest room of the building you are in (lowest level, interior, away from windows) and have a way to access alerts. If any warning are issued later, get to that safe place and monitor coverage and information on your mobile device until the warning expires. 

A *FLASH FLOOD WATCH* is posted for areas north of I-12 until 10pm. Storms could produce 2-3 inches of rain and locally higher amounts which may lead to rapid rises on small streams and creeks as well as rapid ponding of water that may overwhelm local drainage capacities.

A *WIND ADVISORY* is posted for the entire forecast area until 10pm. Even outside of storms, winds may gust over 40mph and bring down large limbs or weak trees. These can fall on power lines, vehicles, and houses. Loose yard equipment can be blown around and possibly even become airborne.

Monitor these WBRZ TV, online channels today for urgent weather updates

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: After highs in the upper 70s, individual storm cells will develop by 11am followed by a cold front with a line or cluster of rain and thunderstorms during the afternoon. Damaging wind gusts, tornadoes and torrential rain are the main threats.

The Storm Prediction Center believes a few locations, could experience “significant” severe weather with 75mph+ winds or an EF2+ tornado. Rain will wrap from west to east beginning around 7pm. Overnight, cooler air will sweep in behind the boundary as winds shift northwesterly. Lows will bottom out in the low 50s.

Don’t be scared, be prepared: Stay in touch with the forecast today, know your severe weather plan, have a way to receive alerts and we’ll get through this event safely. Never rely on an outdoor warning siren; if that is your main way of hearing warnings, you have little hope of hearing them indoors. Have a NOAA Weather Radio in your home or business, and activate the free WBRZ WX App. on your Apple or Android device. Identify the safest place in your home. Often a small room, on the lowest floor, away from windows, near the center of the house is your best option. If you live in a mobile home, you should leave and go to a sturdy structure when a watch is issued, and remain there until the threat is over. When a warning issued, put on hard-soled shoes, go to your safe shelter and cover your head until the threat passes. Also, leash up your pets and bring them along so you are not separated.

Up Next:  Clouds and even a light shower may linger on Friday with highs struggling for the 70s. Gradually moderating temperatures are expected beyond this for a mild and sunny Easter Weekend. The next rain will not come until Tuesday at the earliest.

THE EXPLANATION:

A trough moving out of the Southwest U.S. into the Mid-Mississippi River Valley will help to strengthen a surface low along a cold front in eastern Texas. The surface low will race northeast allowing low level, southerly winds to increase. The deepening low will create and large pressure difference from the northwest to southeast across the area this afternoon. This gradient will be responsible for gusty winds from late morning to late afternoon. Combined with strong winds in the lower atmosphere, numerous gusts over 40mph are possible, even away from thunderstorms. As a result, a wind advisory has been issued. The winds will also carry ample moisture into the central Gulf Coast states ahead of the cold front. These factors will allow an ongoing area of rain and thunderstorms to strengthen and organize into a squall line as it moves into the local area. Lift from the front and wind shear aloft will be strong enough to keep storms “ventilated” and therefore well maintained for an extended period. This line will be capable of widespread damaging wind gusts and possibly embedded tornadoes. Any storm cells or clusters that develop ahead of this line will have enough low and mid level spin available to spawn a tornado.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed the entire area in an “enhanced risk” for severe weather. This means there is a 30 percent chance of experiencing severe weather within 25 miles of any given point. Additionally, areas north and east of Baton Rouge are being mentioned for the possibility of “significant” severe weather, including 75mph wind gusts or stronger and EF2 tornadoes or stronger. On top of that, the Weather Prediction Center has placed areas north of -12 under a 3 out of 4 “moderate risk” for excessive rainfall, hence a flash flood watch has been posted for those locations. This system will exit on Thursday night with rain ending from west to east. The trailing upper level trough and cold pool may trap some low level clouds and sprinkles for part of Friday, but this will be of no major consequence. Temperatures will briefly cool below average through Saturday morning but clear seasonable weather is then anticipated into early next week. 

--Josh

The WBRZ Weather Team is here for you, on every platform. Your weather updates can be found on News 2, wbrz.com, and the WBRZ WX App. on Apple and Android devices. Follow WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter for even more weather updates while you are on the go.

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