Severe storms expected across the South - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Severe storms expected across the South

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Severe weather is expected to hit Gulf States Christmas Day. (Source: NWS) Severe weather is expected to hit Gulf States Christmas Day. (Source: NWS)

(RNN) – It is not the kind of weather forecast anyone wants to see or hear especially on Christmas Day, but major severe weather and or tornado outbreaks are threatening Gulf Coast states.

The National Weather Service is suggesting the widespread episode of severe weather Tuesday through Wednesday morning.

"The possibility exists for several long-track strong tornadoes associated with any long-lived fast-moving supercells along with more widespread damaging winds," the Storm Prediction Center said.

The area at greatest risk for damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes on Christmas Day stretches from southeastern Texas to the Florida Panhandle and southwestern Georgia.

"Severe weather outbreak may begin before sunrise Christmas morning in east and southeast Texas into Louisiana. The severe storm threat spreads east along the Gulf Coast, taking in the lower Mississippi Valley by midday and as far east as Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle by afternoon. Tornadoes, damaging winds of 60 to 80 mph, and large hail are all threats in these areas," the Weather Channel reported.

The National Weather Service has put together a general forecast timing for the storms.

Monday: Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms possible in parts of the Deep South both during day and Monday night.

Tuesday: Severe weather outbreak may begin before sunrise Christmas morning in east and southeast Texas into Louisiana. The severe storm threat spreads east along the Gulf Coast, taking in the lower Mississippi Valley by midday and as far east as Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle by afternoon. Tornadoes, damaging winds of 60 to 80 mph, and large hail are all threats in these areas.

Tuesday night: A squall line is expected to push east across Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle during the night with high winds and at least a few rain-wrapped tornadoes possible. This includes Birmingham and Atlanta.

Tornadoes on Christmas aren't a very common occurrence.

According to the Weather Channel's Severe Weather Expert, Dr. Greg Forbes, there have been eight Christmas Days since 1950 with tornadoes somewhere in the U.S., summing up to 32 Christmas Day tornadoes in six states (FL, GA, TN, NC, LA, WV).

The last time the U.S. saw tornadoes on Christmas day was 2006, when six tornadoes struck Florida and south Georgia.

According to WSFA's Meteorologist Josh Johnson, it's best to be prepared for any weather situation, especially around the holidays.

  • If Christmas dinner is at your home, take the responsibility for informing your family and friends of severe weather.
  • Have a reliable source of weather warnings. A properly programmed NOAA weather radio with fresh batteries is your best option.
  • Look around your house before storms threaten and determine the safest place to go. Basements and storm shelters are best. If you don't have access to that, consider a hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor of your home. Avoid exterior walls, large rooms and windows.
  • If you're hosting Christmas in a mobile home on Christmas Day, you need to consider moving your celebration to a friend or family member's site-built home. At the very least, think of a backup place to go if you're placed under a warning - this needs to be a place to which you can get everyone safely in under 15 minutes.

Check out the National Weather Service for updated watches and warnings in your area.

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