Jacked-up storm line expected at midnight

Published 12:06 pm Friday, December 31, 2010

A lingering severe and hazardous band of weather is expected to pass through Vicksburg and Warren County late tonight, bringing the new year in with more heavy rain, quarter-size hail and possible tornados and straight-line winds.

Following an afternoon and early evening of rain and lighter storm activity, Vicksburg and Warren County could begin seeing heavy rain and lightning again around midnight, with rain lingering until 6 or 7 a.m.

The National Weather Service forecasts a 100 percent chance of rain tonight, with rapid accumulations totalling 1 to 2 inches.

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“It’s shaping up to be a pretty nasty day,” said Jackson NWS meteorologist Jim Fairly. “We’re looking at severe thunderstorms starting from around 2 p.m. and lasting until after midnight.”

Thunderstorms are classified as “severe” when they cause winds in excess of 60 mph, Fairly said, and tonight’s storms could bring straight-line winds of 60 to 80 mph, he said.

“Conditions are favorable for potentially strong tornados,” Fairly said.

Tonight’s weather is expected to follow a line southwest to northeast, roughly following the Natchez Trace Parkway, Fairly said, and will take some time to pass.

“This will be a prolonged system,” he said. “We’re looking at rain and thunderstorms coming through from the afternoon until the early morning hours.”