MERIDIAN, miss. – Another outbreak of severe weather is sweeping across much of the south this week – their fourth outbreak in as many weeks, leading anxious residents to once again cast a wary eye on the skies.
An overlay of Wednesday’s severe weather risk outlook from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, coupled with the number of tornado reports and tornado warnings already received this year, illustrates the problem.
There have already been about 25 tornado reports this year in the highest risk area as of Wednesday.
The most at-risk area stretches all the way to the Mississippi, which probably comes as no surprise to those who live there.
No place has had to defend against tornadoes more than Mississippi this year. There have already been 87 tornado reports in the state – more than Texas despite being 1/6th in size – and representing nearly 20% of all tornado reports in the country in 2022. In other words, approximately 1 in 5 tornadoes in the United States have occurred in Mississippi.
The Meridian, Mississippi area was particularly hard hit, earning the dubious distinction of having the most tornado warnings in 2022 – particularly the area where Interstates 20 and 59 intersect, according to research from the data scientist FOX weather forecaster Shane Brown.
Meridian had 27 separate tornado warnings in 2022to accompany 173 severe thunderstorm warnings and 88 flood warnings.
According to actual tornado reports, Jackson joins Meridian as a particularly affected area.
“We heard thunder and stuff, and my 6-year-old grandson was in the kitchen, and I just heard a big boom,” Eunessa Hampton told FOX Weather as a tornado ripped through her neighborhood March 30. “I immediately ran with him as he screamed into the closet for shelter. After everything kind of calmed down and I got out, that’s when I realized the tree was actually fell in the house. He knocked down two walls… the center fell in the kitchen; the water is everywhere.”
But hearing tornado sirens or emergency alerts for tornado warnings has been common in the South this year:
This prompted the National Weather Service office in Birmingham to ask for mercy.
Showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast through the end of the week and even into the beginning of next week, although the potential for severe weather seems more limited. But the long term forecast suggests drier and calmer weather as we move into later next week.
This region can only hope that it will finally hold out for a while.
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