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Damaging winds, severe storms and tornadoes possible in southeast Louisiana; see forecast

Southeast Louisiana was in an enhanced risk of severe weather on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Courtesy of the National Weather Service
Southeast Louisiana was in an enhanced risk of severe weather on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.

A combination of strong winds and heavy rain could produce severe weather conditions, including tornadoes, in much of southeast Louisiana on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, according to National Weather Service forecasters.

Meteorologist Megan Williams said the metro areas for Baton Rouge, New Orleans and the north shore are at an enhanced risk for severe weather. Ahead of the line of storms moving through the area, the southeast region could see winds pick up to 40 mph, with gusts at 50 mph, after noon.

The line of severe storms will reach Baton Rouge first around 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., then will move toward New Orleans and the north shore around 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. At that point, damaging winds of 60+ mph could become a problem, as could brief tornadoes.

“We’re really thinking it’s going to be brief spin-up tornadoes,” Williams said. “You could see one or two stronger tornadoes, but that’s really not what we’re thinking is a major concern at the moment, looking at some of the trends this morning.”

A high wind warning is in effect starting at noon until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Another issue, Williams noted, is that these conditions will likely be at their worst during a time when many Louisianans will be asleep. With that in mind, Williams said the time to prepare is now — particularly for the damaging winds.

Residents should secure loose items on their properties. Those driving at the time winds pick up should be careful, slow down and keep their distance from high-profile vehicles, such as commercial trucks.

“Make sure that your cell phones are charged before you're asleep,” Williams added. “Make sure alerts are turned on. Keep a flashlight near the bed. If they happen to have a weather radio, make sure that’s plugged in. Keep shoes in the bedroom, like tennis shoes.”

The severe weather event should move out of the area pretty quickly, Williams said, and residents should expect sunnier, but colder, weather throughout the weekend.

The coldest day is forecast to be Friday, with temps in Baton Rouge and the north shore dipping into the mid 30s — just above freezing. In New Orleans, temps will go down into the low 40s.

For more information on the forecast, visit the NWS website here.

Katelyn Umholtz is the digital editor for WWNO and WRKF and is based out of New Orleans.