A tornado watch has been issued for North Shore parishes in Louisiana and numerous counties in Mississippi and Alabama through 6 p.m. Sunday (March 3).
“Thunderstorms will continue to intensify this afternoon ahead of a strong cold front,” said forecasters with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. “Supercells will be possible along and ahead of the front, capable of damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes. Strong tornadoes are possible.”
In Louisiana, the tornado watch includes St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, St. Helena and Livingston parishes, as well as Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne.
The watch does not include New Orleans, Metairie or Baton Rouge, but the Slidell office of the National Weather Service warns that there remains a slight risk of severe thunderstorms disrupting Carnival parades in all three locations on Sunday afternoon, as a frontal system moves through the area.
The line of thunderstorms is expected to move through the New Orleans area between 1 and 3 p.m.
According to the forecast message, a few tornadoes are likely, with a couple that could be intense. Widespread damaging winds are likely with isolated gusts to 75 mph. Isolated large hail also could occur with hail of up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
In Mississippi, the watch includes Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, Pike and Walthall counties.
“A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area,” The Storm Prediction Center message said. “Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the tornado watch would end at 7 p.m. Because it used the wrong time zone in its initial message, National Weather Service issued a correction saying the watch would end at 6 p.m.