A group of children separated by household sit on blankets in the sunshine and eat snacks in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Photo: Ariel Cobbert/The Commercial Appeal)
This story was updated to show where Saturday’s storm hit.
A severe weather system led to a tornado touchdown and extensive damage in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on Saturday afternoon. However, that same weather system apparently caused only minor damage when it crossed the Mississippi River on Saturday evening and entered Mississippi and West Tennessee, said Mike Johnson, a Memphis-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“We haven’t heard of (any damage) in Shelby County that I’m aware of,” he said. “We have various areas of wind damage across west Tennessee and north Mississippi.”
Most of it was minor tree damage, though some power poles were reportedly downed in Oakland, Tennessee and some hail fell in the Batesville, Mississippi area.
The story had knocked out electrical power in some areas of Shelby County on Saturday. By noon Sunday, though, Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division’s online outage map said more than 99 percent of customers currently had power.
The weather outlook for the Shelby County area was clear for the rest of Sunday.
7:30 p.m. Saturday: Several severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches have been issued throughout the Memphis area.
Thunderstorms are heading to the Mid-South late Saturday afternoon to early evening.
Severe weather could begin as early as 4 p.m. and extend through 8 p.m., according to Andy Sniezak, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis.
Storms could bring large hail and damaging winds, he said, noting that a possibility for tornadoes couldn’t be ruled out.
The chance of tornadoes increases farther north of Memphis, Sniezak said.
Flooding is not likely with this storm, he said.
Severe weather in Memphis is likely late Saturday afternoon. (Photo: National Weather Service Memphis)
On Sunday, the forecast shows drier and slightly cooler weather.
There is another chance of rain on Monday afternoon.
Find more weather updates at weather.gov/Memphis.
Memphians can report any power outages caused by the storm to Memphis Light Gas and Water by calling 901-544-6500. Residents can monitor the status of power outages online. Emergency situations like gas leaks and downed power lines can be reported by calling 901-528-4465.
The Fairgrounds drive-thru testing location was closed on Saturday due to the threat of lightning, according to a spokesperson for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The testing site will take appointments again Sunday. (Photo: Sarah Macareg)
Threat of storms closed coronavirus testing at Fairgrounds
The drive-thru testing center at the Fairgrounds did not take any appointments on Saturday due to the threat of lightning, according to a spokesperson for University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
The physician directing the site said testing can’t operate under threats of lightning because the tents are fully exposed, the spokesperson said.
The location will be open again Sunday, taking appointments from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After about a week of set-up, the testing center opened to the public on Friday.
Testing is free and does not require individuals to contact a health provider ahead of time.
Only symptomatic individuals will be tested, according to UTHSC information. The release noted that inclement weather may prompt closures.
To schedule an appointment, text “covid” to 901-203-5526 or scan the code on the flyer in the tweet below.
Commercial Appeal reporter Sarah Macareg contributed.
Laura Testino covers education and children’s issues for the Commercial Appeal. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-512-3763. Find her on Twitter: @LDTestino
Read or Share this story: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2020/03/28/storms-heading-memphis-potential-hail-damaging-winds/2932721001/