Forecasters say 30 tornadoes were reported overnight in seven states, resulting in at least 17 deaths in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Northwest Florida and south Alabama will catch the southernmost end of that weather system.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma says the weather system will continue moving eastward over the next few days, bringing powerful storms and the potential for tornadoes to parts of the Midwest and Southeast.
Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana are facing the greatest risk today, but a number of storms are also likely for this area.
Don Shepherd at the National Weather Service in Mobile says a flash flood watch takes effect at seven o’clock this evening.
“We’re looking at the potential for 2-4 inches of rainfall over pretty much the whole area,” said Shepherd. “It’s a little difficult to pin down exactly the locations for these. But there could be some areas where that 2-4 inch amount can be doubled.”
Besides the flash flood watch, Pensacola and Navarre Beaches are flying yellow flags, with a strong rip current advisory in effect through one o’clock Wednesday morning. Local winds are expected to be between 25-35 mph with higher gusts.
Escambia County Emergency Manager John Dosh says one of the best protections against tornado seasons – March, April and May and then in November – is a weather radio.
“That’s information that comes straight from the Weather Service, the folks that are sitting their 24 hours a day monitoring the radar and weather activities,” Dosh said. “Having that weather radio is a direct link to them.”
And that’s the bottom line, says Don Shepherd at the National Weather Service – keep an eye on the skies and be prepared.
Sunday was the third anniversary of a day that saw 122 tornadoes strike parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, killing 316 people.