UPDATE: Severe storms cause widespread wind damage; 2 killed in Panola Co., Mississippi
The Storm Prediction Center has expanded a Severe Thunderstorm Watch that was originally issued for Northwestern Mississippi across central and southern sections through Monday evening as a complex of strong to severe thunderstorms continues to progress south and southeast across the state.
The new Severe Thunderstorm Watch includes the capital city of Jackson and covers 47 out of Mississippi’s 82 counties until 9 pm CDT Monday evening.
The counties now under the Severe Thunderstorm Watch include Yazoo, Winston, Webster, Washington, Warren, Sunflower, Smith, Simpson, Sharkey, Scott, Rankin, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Newton, Neshoba, Montgomery, Marion, Madison, Lowndes, Lincoln, Leflore, Leake, Lawrence, Lauderdale, Lamar, Kemper, Jones, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, Jasper, Issaquena, Humphreys, Holmes, Hinds, Grenada, Franklin, Forrest, Covington, Copiah, Clay, Clarke, Claiborne, Choctaw, Carroll, Bolivar, Attala and Adams.
A complex of strong to severe thunderstorms moving south southeast across Northwestern Mississippi has had a history of producing high damaging winds and hail across parts of Northeastern Arkansas, Southwestern Tennessee and Northwestern Mississippi and it is expected to continue with those threats as it moves south southeast across Central and Southern Mississippi around the western periphery of a large high pressure ridge, while encountering a hot, moist and unstable airmass in place across the region.
While the threat is not zero, tornadoes are a very low threat with these storms.
The National Weather Service has confirmed many trees and power lines blown down in Greene, Craighead, Mississippi, and Poinsett Counties in Northeast Arkansas as the storms moved through. In one of the areas in Greene County, Arkansas, local authorities also reported wind damage to KFC, Rent One, and the Mural in the town of Paragould in addition to a few downtown buildings. A tractor trailer was also blown over on a local highway.
High wind gusts up to 74 mph were reported at Memphis International Airport with trees and power lines blown across parts of the area.
In the town of Walls, Mississippi in Desoto County, large hail up to ping pong size or 1.50 inches in diameter was also reported with the severe storms.
In addition to the damaging wind and hail threat, extremely dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning srikes are likely with any thunderstorms that develop. We are currently in the most dangerous time of year for lightning strikes. At least three people have been killed since last Thursday across the country.
CLICK FOR LIVE MISSISSIPPI WEATHER
While we have passed the height of our severe weather season, severe weather in the form damaging winds and hail do occasionally occur during the summer months, while tornadoes are more of a rare threat.
Everyone should stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available.