Much of Mississippi is being monitored closely for a significant severe weather event by late Tuesday into early on Wednesday.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has placed much of the state under the risk for severe storms and the National Weather Service (NWS) says a high-end severe weather event is possible for portions of the state.
The primary concern will come from a squall-line of intense storms along a cold front that is forecast to move quickly through the region Wednesday morning. But there is also concern that more isolated intense storms could develop ahead of the main line of storms and also pose a risk for producing severe weather.
While we are in the midst of winter, large swings in temperatures to more than 15 to 20 degrees above normals often lead to such severe weather events this time of year.
Temperatures are forecast to top the mid and upper 70s to near 80 degrees through Tuesday with lows only dropping into the upper 50s to around 60 degrees statewide. Normal highs this time of year are typically in the 50s with lows in the 30s.
This unusually warm airmass will combine with strong shear and sufficient instability to lead to the outbreak of severe storms.
"Strong speed shear given a rapidly strengthening flow field with height will support organized storms capable of producing damaging gusts and likely a few isolated tornadoes. Threat should continue through the evening and into the overnight hours," SPC said.
NWS says the best timing for severe storms to impact the state is between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The month of January is not typically a very active month for tornadoes in Mississippi with an average of two to three each year.
However, two tornadoes have already been confirmed and more are possible with the upcoming severe weather event. Last January (2012), five tornadoes hit the state.
This is a developing situation and everyone should stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available concerning severe storms Tuesday night into early Wednesday.