Mother Nature plans potential severe weather fireworks show across South on New Year’s Eve

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A dynamic storm system that is set to deliver snow and ice to parts of the Plains and Midwest will bring a different type of disruptive weather farther south and east.

As a cold front marches southeastward through Texas on Wednesday, warm and moist air will be drawn northward from the Gulf of Mexico. Thunderstorms are expected to develop in eastern Texas and western Louisiana. Although the main threat will be heavy rain, some of the stronger storms could contain locally damaging winds.

“It is possible that a brief fire hose effect develops over eastern Texas and advances eastward across the Deep South with a period of blinding, torrential rain that can lead to flash flooding,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Anyone along interstates 10, 20 and 45 will need to heed caution on Wednesday and Wednesday night. Houston and San Antonio, Texas; and Shreveport, Louisiana, are just a few of the locations that could be impacted.

Thunderstorms are forecast to kick it up a notch on New Year’s Eve, and could pack more of a punch in terms of wind.

“The year will end with a bang across a portion of the Gulf Coast states, specifically from far southeast Texas through Louisiana and into Mississippi and Alabama where severe thunderstorms are forecast to erupt,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff. “Mother Nature will be creating fireworks of her own as 2021 begins.”

Thunderstorms are much more likely to be strong or severe on Thursday. Flash flooding will remain a concern, along with damaging wind gusts. It is not out of the question for an isolated tornado, especially along the immediate Gulf Coast.

New Year’s revelers in Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida, will all need to keep an eye to the sky.

“Folks preoccupied with ringing in the new year should make sure to pay close attention to the weather throughout the evening and into the overnight hours,” Duff advised.

The thunderstorm threat will move to the Carolinas and Georgia on the first day of 2021. While the threat of severe weather will be lower and much less widespread than on Thursday, downpours and wind gusts as high as 60 mph will be possible from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Columbia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Albany, Georgia.

Thunderstorms may also develop to begin the first weekend of the new year in southeastern Georgia and northern Florida, but severe weather is not expected at this time. However, any thunderstorms can bring briefly heavy rain given the high moisture content of the air.

By Ryan Adamson, Accuweather