A potentially dangerous start to 2022 is underway. After closing out 2021 with multiple high-end severe weather events during the month of December, January seems to be picking up right where December left off.
The severe threat will occur during the first weekend of 2022, with bulk of the activity expected into Saturday night. The threats include thunderstorms with high winds, hail, flash flooding and even tornadoes. Incidents of flooding are also anticipated in areas where thunder and lightning do not occur.
Unfortunately, some of the same locations which had devastating tornadoes just three weeks ago may have to deal with severe thunderstorms once again on Saturday. This includes western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as Arkansas.
Bowling Green, Kentucky; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Tupelo, Mississippi; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Shreveport, Louisiana, are just some of the locations with a threat of severe weather on Saturday. Hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes will all be possible.
The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch for much of Tennessee and Kentucky. By Saturday afternoon, several Tornado Warnings were already issued for southern Kentucky as the severe storms came through the state.
Ahead of the main severe weather outbreak, powerful thunderstorms erupted over the northern parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina on New Year’s Eve. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Atlanta confirmed that a tornado had touched down in Newton County, Georgia, late Friday afternoon. The Newton County Fire Department reported that several people were injured by the storm.
Pics from the NWS survey and submissions of Newton County GA tornado earlier this evening. Near Salem/Brown Bridge road. We have ruled it a tornado but will finish the survey on Saturday. #tornado #gawx pic.twitter.com/xCZJPJ4RUk
— NWS Atlanta (@NWSAtlanta) January 1, 2022
The severe threat will shift farther to the east on Saturday night. Residents of Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta will need to have a way to be awoken on Saturday night, should a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning be issued overnight while most are sleeping.
The threat for thunderstorms is expected to shift toward part of the southern Atlantic seaboard on Sunday. While the overall threat may be slightly lower compared to Saturday, residents across coastal areas of the Carolinas, Georgia and northern of Florida should not let their guard down.
Conditions will be monitored closely across the region, as a resurgence of energy is expected to be injected into the storm. “The main threats from the storms on Sunday afternoon and evening appear to be from strong wind gusts and flash flooding,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, adding that there will still be a risk of a few isolated tornadoes spinning up.
Not only will a threat for severe weather arise from this expansive storm, but a threat for flooding will build as well. There were extensive flood warnings in effect for portions of Kentucky on Saturday as showers and thunderstorms continued to repeat. This is known as training, since the rain moves along the same track just as a train does.
The Tennessee and Ohio River valleys, and the southern reaches of the Appalachian Mountains will be the main focus of the flooding threat with a general 2-4 inches of rain in store, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
“As of 9 a.m CST, Glasgow, Bowling Green and Murray, Kentucky, hald already exceeded 2 inches of rain from the storm with many hours to go,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, adding that the situation was a serious one from an urban and small stream flooding standpoint.
In the wake of the flooding and severe threat on Sunday, the expansive storm will feature its final act of disruptive weather — a blast of cold air. While high temperatures can eclipse the 70-degree mark on Saturday, temperatures will tumble into the 30s on Sunday.
Residual moisture lingering within the cold air on the backside of the storm may catch residents off guard, as temperatures are expected to fall enough for rain to change over to snow for a brief time Sunday, Sunday night and into early Monday morning. “The combination of snow and plunging temperatures can coat surfaces and create slippery travel from parts of Arkansas all the way to Virginia,” Sosnowski said.
The crashing temperatures and potential for snow will only make any cleanup efforts more difficult across the South in the wake of severe thunderstorms into early week. Luckily, temperatures will moderate Monday and Tuesday and most of the impacted areas will remain precipitation-free until Wednesday.
Winter storm leaves thousands of Oklahomans without power in freezing temperatures
Thousands of Oklahoma residents started the New Year without electricity as winter weather rolled across the state, leaving sleet, freezing rain and high winds in its wake.
Before sunrise on Saturday, more than 18,000 OG&E customers were without service. By 11 a.m., about two-thirds had their power restored by work crews that had to face below-freezing temperatures and winds gusting 30 to 40 miles per hour in central Oklahoma.
There are reports of power outages in Comanche and Stephens counties due to the showers, storms, and wintry precipitation across southwestern Oklahoma this morning. pic.twitter.com/wqUJlkfSer
— Josh Reiter (@jreiterwx) January 1, 2022
“As freezing temperatures and strong winds are expected to continue today, over 100 restoration personnel are working across our service area to restore electric service as quickly and safely as possible to customers without service,” OG&E said.
Most of the outages hit the Oklahoma City metro and Tulsa metro areas. Downed power lines or OG&E outages can be reported by calling 800-522-6870.
Other utility providers also reported outages. Public Service Company of Oklahoma had nearly 400 customers without power.
Bruce: Cold is on the way. look at the 24 hour temp drop in Oklahoma City. From yesterday to today a 44° plunge. We will start lower 60s on Sunday but drop to the 40s by midday. Wind chill feeling more like 30s. Get ready. Winter is coming. pic.twitter.com/k38FRjYMKI
— Bruce Katz (@BruceKatzFOX8) January 1, 2022
Arctic cold front moves through South Texas this weekend
An arctic cold front will blow through South Texas Saturday night, ringing in the new year with freezing temperatures and strong winds across the region.
As the cold front will move through the area Saturday night, 25 to 35 mph winds are expected over the Gulf. A Gale Watch will be in effect Saturday night through Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.
Only in Texas..
Who’s not ready for the cold front?
— 🦇𝕃𝕚𝕧𝕚𝕟𝕘𝔻𝕖𝕒𝕕𝔾𝕚𝕣𝕝🦇 (@BrittanyLeShea2) January 1, 2022
Once those winds diminish Saturday evening, temperatures will begin to drop into the upper 20s to mid-30s Sunday night and into Monday morning. Wind chill values could be in the low to mid 20s and a Freeze Watch could be issued over the weekend.
Some areas of the northern Coastal Plains and Victoria Crossroads could see up to nine hours of below freezing temperatures, possibly resulting in freezing and rupturing of poorly insulated outdoor water lines.
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