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Locally strong storms to eye southern US into Monday

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 4/21/2018 Renee Duff
© NOAA

The threat for heavy and locally strong thunderstorms will slowly shift eastward across the southern United States into Monday.

While a severe weather event with the magnitude of the April 13-15 outbreak is not in store, residents across the region should remain weather aware as they go about their day.

Outdoor activities, including events for Earth Day, may need to be moved inside or postponed due to the wet conditions and the threat of lightning.

On Saturday afternoon, east-central Texas will become the focal point for feisty storms, including the cities of San Antonio, Austin, Waco and possibly as far north as Dallas-Fort Worth.

The tornado risk will be low; a greater number of storms are likely to produce locally damaging winds, hail and heavy rainfall.

During Saturday night, the threat for storms that can produce flooding in low-lying and urban areas will increase, while the severe risk diminishes.

Residents in Houston and Tyler, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Shreveport and Alexandria, Louisiana, may be kept up or awoken by downpours and rumbles of thunder on Saturday night.

The stormy conditions will march along the Gulf Coast states as the weekend comes to a close.

A large portion of eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle could experience heavy storms capable of triggering localized damage, hail and even a couple of tornadoes.

"The greatest risk of a couple of tornadoes on Sunday is likely to be near the Gulf coast, where waterspouts may wander onshore," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "However, this risk is still rather low overall at this point."

Beach-goers and boaters should keep a close eye to the sky and be on the lookout for dark, billowing clouds that would indicate a storm is approaching.

As soon as thunder is heard, head indoors to avoid the risk of being struck by lightning.

Through the weekend, the storms will lead to poor driving conditions on interstates 10, 20, 40, 55, 65, 75 and 85. Reduced visibility and ponding of water on the roads may slow travel.

Low-lying and poor drainage areas could be flooded due to the amount of rain that falls in a short duration.

"During Monday, the potential for heavy, gusty to locally severe thunderstorms will focus on Florida, especially the Florida Peninsula," Sosnowski said.

A few heavier storms could extend into a portion of southeastern Georgia and far southern South Carolina.

Those with commutes along I-95 from Florence, South Carolina, to Florida's Space Coast should anticipate downpours that reduce visibility and slow travel.

A general soaking rain is expected to fall to the north of the areas at risk for locally strong storms from Sunday through Monday.

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