March 12, 2020

There's A Risk For Some Strong Tornadoes Over The Western Ohio Valley On Thursday

Severe thunderstorms are likely across parts of the Ohio Valley and Mid-South on Thursday afternoon. Some of the thunderstorms will be capable of producing tornadoes, some of which could be strong or long-tracked. 

The Storm Prediction Center issued an enhanced risk for severe weather from southeastern Missouri to central Kentucky, with slight and enhanced risks radiating out from there to cover a wide area from northern Texas to central North Carolina. The bullseye for severe weather is the western Ohio Valley, including Bowling Green and Evansville. This is the area where conditions are most favorable for supercell thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes.

A low-pressure system developing over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Thursday morning will provide the focus for strong to severe thunderstorms to develop across the risk area. There’s enough lift and wind shear for thunderstorms to develop into supercells capable of producing tornadoes. Conditions appear favorable enough across the enhanced risk area that some of the tornadoes could be “significant,” per the SPC, which means that the tornadoes could be strong or long-tracked. This is most likely along or near the warm front, since surface boundaries tend to serve as a focal point for tornadoes.

If you’re in or anywhere near the areas that could see severe thunderstorms today, the best way to prepare is to make sure that the emergency alerts are activated on your phone. It’s the best way to receive tornado warnings the moment they’re issued for your location. Emergency alerts are located prominently in your phone’s settings. Folks tend to disable all of the alerts after one ill-timed disruption for a flash flood or AMBER Alert; leaving these alerts enabled for tornado warnings is a good idea no matter how many disruptions they cause.

Source: NWS Nashville

The region is still reeling from last week’s severe weather. Several destructive tornadoes moved across central Tennessee early in the morning on March 3, producing severe damage up to EF-4 intensity across a path dozens of miles long. One of the tornadoes moved through the northern part of downtown Nashville, the second intense tornado to strike the city center in the last 22 years. (An F3 hit the downtown core in 1998.)

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.