An organized band of thunderstorms ahead of an approaching cold front has prompted the issuance of three severe thunderstorm watches across parts of Mississippi.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued the first watch at 8:10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday for 14 counties including Yalobusha, Union, Tishomingo, Tippah, Prentiss, Pontotoc, Monroe, Lee, Lafayette, Itawamba, Chickasaw, Calhoun, Benton and Alcorn.
The second watch was issued for 43 additional counties from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday including Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Clay, Claiborne, Grenada, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lincoln, Marion, Franklin, Adams, Forrest, Lamar, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Jasper, Jones, Covington, Clarke, Leake, Leflore, Lowndes, Madison, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Sunflower, Warren Washington, Webster, Winston and Yazoo.
And a third watch was issued for Greene, Perry and Wayne counties from 4:35 p.m. until 10 p.m. Monday.
According to the SPC, the band of storms were becoming increasingly better organized with the potential to produce large hail up to hen egg-size and damaging winds up to 75 mph. Isolated brief tornadoes are also possible.
The probability of large hail and damaging winds within the watch areas is as high as 70 to 80 percent, the SPC said.
Much of the state is outlined for the possibility of severe storms as the main storm system and associated cold front moves across the region by late Monday.
"Strong and severe are possible this afternoon and early evening as a cold front crosses the region while interacting with the warm and unstable airmass. The most intense storms will have the potential for golfball size or larger hail, damaging wind gusts around 70 mph and possibly a tornado or two. Frequent cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and locally heavy downpours are also expected with this activity," the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
"As the front pushes through the area by midnight, this activity is expected to shift further east and out of the region," the NWS added.
The state is in the midst of its primary severe weather season, which extends from March through early May. This period historically produces the most tornadoes each year in the state with April being the peak month.
Everyone should stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available.