NORMAN, Okla. – Severe weather is in the forecast for parts of the South this week, but meteorologists with NOAA's Storm Prediction Center have already issued a rare early indication of severe weather potential for parts of the South next week as well.
Forecasters have given a 15% chance of severe thunderstorms within 25 miles of any point for much of eastern Texas, including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, for next Monday into Tuesday on their 7-day advance forecast outlook, and have given a similar 15% chance for severe storms in Louisiana, much of Mississippi and western and central Alabama on their Day 8 forecast for Tuesday into Wednesday.
Typically, long-range forecasts giving these kinds of specifics aren't given that far in advance. In fact, it's only the sixth time since 2012 that the SPC has denoted a severe weather risk area eight days in advance, according to a tweet by James Bishop with North Mississippi Storm Chasers.
"On the forefront, it's very hard to pinpoint an exact severe threat this far out, and details will become clearer over the next few days," says FOX Weather Meteorologist Jordan Overton. "Nevertheless, these types of outlooks are only issued when there is higher than normal confidence that organized, significant severe weather could occur."
Overton says while it might be too early for specific forecasts, the weather patterns suggested for next week by the major forecast models are in fairly good agreement that the required ingredients such as moisture, lift, storm energy and wind shear – the change in wind speed and/or direction with height – will be in place. "(This is) setting up for the possibility for significant severe weather, with tornadoes and damaging straight-line wind gusts," Overton said.
It gives emergency managers and residents an early heads up to start preparing for severe weather potential next week too. But Overton warns that the forecasts could still change.
"One thing that is important to point out, the severe risk for day 8 is highly dependent on the evolution of day 7 (Monday), but there will be a corridor of warm, unstable air that will have the potential for organized severe weather."