The National Weather Service says heavy rainfall up to three inches, high winds and tornadoes could threaten the entire state.
Saturday morning our Vincent Web had this update: "Severe thunderstorms will be our main concern for your Saturday afternoon, evening, and into the overnight hours. Damaging winds and tornadoes(some strong) will be possible ahead of an approaching cold front throughout the day. Expect the heaviest activity to arrive after the noon time frame and extend into the overnight hours. High temperatures will top out at 80 degrees with low's tonight dropping into the upper 50's. Sunday will surely be the better day of the weekend with clearing skies and high's back in the 70's."
Our Meteorologist Michael Haynes characterizes it this way: "A major system ejects out of the southwest U.S. later today (Friday) and heads in east. A band of heavy rain develops tonight across East Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas; as a surface low deepens Saturday, storms fire along a dry line just west of the Mississippi River.
A strengthening line of storms reaches the river by mid-afternoon, then advances across the state; heavy rain and damaging straight line wind are the primary threats, but a few brief tornadoes are possible. Generally, we'll highlight the period from mid-afternoon until midnight as the time frame for strongest storms; but keep in mind, storms will end from west to east, and weaken a bit after sunset, which means the severe threat will be greater for points west of I-55 compared to East Mississippi."
Due to the holiday season, residents should also remember that 70-80 mph winds and tornadoes can turn Christmas decorations and other outdoor items into projectiles. Everyone is encouraged to secure these outdoor items in an effort to reduce any potential damage.
MEMA and the NWS recommend taking the following steps:
Every home should have a NOAA weather radio, or some other means of receiving severe weather alerts in their home. The weather radio sounds an audible alert when a warning is issued for the immediate area, and can be purchased at many local retailers for less than $40.
Have a family emergency plan and family communication plan. Every member of your family should know where to go, and how to communicate with each other if there is storm damage in your area.
Check on at-risk neighbors to ensure they are prepared for severe weather.
Check and restock your emergency supply kit, in the case that your home is without power for an extended period of time.
Residents in mobile homes or manufactured housing should consider going to a more substantial structure to wait out the storm.
If riding in a vehicle, never attempt to outrun a tornado. You should abandon the vehicle and get into a sturdy structure.
For more information on family, personal and community preparedness, visit MEMA's website at www.msema.org.
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