Severe Weather Alerts for Tornadoes, Snow and Flash Flooding Across the U.S—How to Get Emergency Alerts On Your iPhone

Severe weather will hit the U.S. this week as weather systems will bring thunderstorms, snow, heavy rain, and flash flooding.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a storm system will move over the Southern Plains and over to the southeast of the U.S. today, bringing heavy rain. The weather service forecasts that flash flooding will occur as a result.

In a Severe Weather Statement released today, NWS warns that Kimble, Edwards, Sutton, and Val Verde Counties in Texas should expect thunderstorms with the warning remaining in effect until the early hours of the morning CST. The statement says that a severe thunderstorm was located near Roosevelt, or 23 miles west of Junction, moving northeast at 35 miles per hour. It also warned that wind gusts could reach 60 miles per hour with quarter-sized hail, bringing damage to vehicles, roofs, siding, and trees.

The forecast from today until Friday shows that the U.S. will see a mixture of severe weather and different weather systems. NOAA

NWS also warned that "continuous cloud to ground lightning" is occurring with the thunderstorm and that residents should move indoors immediately. According to the statement, lightning is a leading killer and that if thunder can be heard, being struck by lightning is a possibility.

Texas under fire and tornado watch for Mississippi

As well as this, the Deep South of Texas and the Rio Grande Valley will see dry and windy conditions throughout today, resulting in "critical fire weather conditions". According to NWS, significantly lower relative humidity and strong gusty winds will combine with very dry fuels and moderate to severe drought conditions to raise the fire weather threat to the critical level. The warning will remain in effect from 1 - 6 p.m. CST today for fire weather zones 251, 254, and 255.

A "Red Flag Warning" means critical fire weather conditions are occurring now or will shortly. In general, these conditions include sustained 20 foot winds of 25 miles per hour or more and humidity ranging from below 25 percent in Zapata County to below 45 percent along the coast, each lasting for 2 hours or longer.

In Mississippi, a weather warning is in place for thunderstorms and hail in southwestern Yazoo County, southwestern Kemper County and southern Neshoba County. A severe thunderstorm has been located nine miles northwest of Phoenix / 14 miles east of Valley Park, moving east at 50 miles per hour, according to NWS.

A Tornado Watch also remains in effect until 10 a.m. CST for central and west central Mississippi.

Flash flooding for Gulf and southeast states

For the rest of the Gulf states, such as Tennessee and Ohio, a cold front will advance across the South East of the U.S. According to NWS, showers and thunderstorms across the Southern Plains and western Gulf with the Weather Prediction Center identifying a slight risk for excessive rainfall and flash flooding potential and the Storm Prediction Center predicting slight risk for strong to severe thunderstorms.

For the southeast of the U.S., flash flood watches are in effect for Georgia. NWS warns that Coffee, Jeff Davis, Bacon, Appling, Wayne, Atkinson, and Pierce Counties are at risk from flash flooding from 7 a.m. local time today until tomorrow evening.

"Heavy rainfall across south Georgia early this morning will lift northward into the afternoon," says NWS' warning. "Waves of heavy rainfall and embedded thunderstorms will produce locally heavy rainfall. Rainfall totals of three to five inches with locally higher totals are expected in the Flash Flood Watch Area."

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. However, given that flash flooding is a very dangerous situation, residents should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action in case warnings are issued.

Snow to fall on Pacific Northwest

Meanwhile,, in the Pacific Northwest, rain and mountain snow will hit by midday tomorrow, resulting in locally heavy snow for the highest peaks of the Cascades and Northern Rockies. A winter weather advisory is currently in effect for the Cascades of Whatcom, Skagit Counties, Snohomish, and King Counties until 10 a.m. PST today.

According to NWS, snow is expected above 3,500 feet with total snow accumulations of six to 14 inches with higher amounts locally. This could make travel difficult for this morning. Those using the Mount Baker Ski Area need to also be aware and check forecasts.

According to NWS, there is potential for flooding of smaller streams and rivers due to melting snow in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, with snow possible for the northern Great Lakes tomorrow.

For any readers concerned about getting caught in winter weather, check Newsweek's winter weather survival guide.

How to get emergency alerts on your iPhone

According to NWS, wireless emergency alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by "authorized government alerting authorities" through a mobile carrier. These alerts can be life-saving when received at the right time.

For WEA messages, no signup is required as alerts are sent automatically to WEA-capable phones during an emergency. There is no need to download an app or subscribe to a service.

NWS send out alerts for emergencies such as:

  • Tsunami Warnings
  • Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings
  • Hurricane, Typhoon, Storm Surge, and Extreme Wind Warnings
  • Dust Storm and Snow Squall Warnings

Many wireless devices released and available since 2012 support the ability to receive and present a WEA. If you're unsure, check with your mobile carrier or cellphone manufacturer.