Tornadoes touch down across Texas as 'volatile weather pattern' moves through South
- Cities such as Dallas, Houston and Austin are all in the area of greatest risk into Monday night.
- Flash flooding is also a concern in many of the same locations facing the threat of severe storms.
Dangerous storms are in the forecast for portions of the southern U.S. over the next three days, forecasters warned, and all modes of severe weather are possible, including multiple tornadoes that have already touched down in Texas.
Dallas, Houston and Austin are all in the area of greatest risk into Monday night, the Storm Prediction Center said.
A tornado touched down around 3:41 p.m. Monday in Jacksboro, Texas, a city of about 5,000 people northwest of Fort Worth, according to Accuweather. The tornado damaged mobile homes and trees near the city, the National Weather Service said, and NBC 5 reported Jacksboro High School and the city's animal shelter were both damaged.
Multiple highways in Jack County were closed due to downed trees and debris, the Texas Department of Transportation Fort Worth District tweeted.
A line of strong thunderstorms advancing toward the Interstate 35 corridor that runs between San Antonio and Austin broke into multiple tornadoes Monday afternoon.
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A confirmed tornado reached the ground in Luling, between Austin and San Antonio, according to the National Weather Service. Another touched down in Round Rock, north of Austin, the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management said, in addition to a "massive tornado" east of Round Rock, near Taylor.
Forecasters said the storms could also create ping-pong-ball-sized hail.
A tornado watch was issued for portions of central and eastern Texas until 10 p.m. CDT, meaning weather conditions are ripe for more tornadoes to form.
"This is a volatile weather pattern, and we’ve seen these types of storm systems previously produce damaging, dangerous and highly impactful severe weather and flooding," AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.
Forecasters say the volatility could produce strong and long-lived tornadoes, some of which could strike under the cover of darkness.
The National Weather Service in Houston said that "today and tonight remain a time to stay up to date with the latest forecast information and to ensure that you have multiple ways to receive weather warnings. Assess your severe weather plan and ensure that you have a safe location to go to should a warning be issued for your area."
Flash flooding is also a concern in many of the same locations facing the threat of severe storms, Weather.com said.
On Tuesday, the area most at risk shifts east into Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, where the Storm Prediction Center warned that "significant and damaging tornadoes" are possible. Cities such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi, are all in the zone of greatest risk.
The threat of severe storms will persist through the morning and into the overnight hours, Weather.com said, and heavy rain and flooding could also hit portions of the Ohio Valley into the South.
The final day of this severe weather outbreak will be Wednesday. The states in the greatest risk area include much of the Carolinas, Georgia and northern Florida. Damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes could hit these areas, Weather.com said.