March may not have come in like a lion, as the saying goes, but it’s leaving as one.
A wall of severe storms moving across the Southeast — which brought baseball-sized hail and winds up to 60 mph to several locations — is heading toward the Mississippi Coast.
There is a risk of severe weather for most of Mississippi early Saturday, the National Weather Service warns.
The main threats are wind gusts up to 70 mph, large hail, isolated tornadoes and waterspouts, and rainfall of 1 to 2 inches.
The weather service estimates the storms will mainly affect the Coast in the morning and early afternoon, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., but they could linger later in the day.
There’s at least a 70 percent chance of rain early in the day, dropping to 30 percent at night and clearing Sunday.
There is also a wind advisory and small-craft advisory until 7 p.m. Friday.
Unusually warm temperatures combined with lots of southerly winds blowing up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be creating perfect fuel for thunderstorms.
Temperatures reached record highs across the Coast earlier this week, with highs in the upper 80s. The weather service tweeted that Tuesday’s high of 89 in Pascagoula was the warmest day there since 1990.
Rocco Calaci, chief meteorologist at MetLoop, predicts frequent bouts of severe weather over the next few weeks, through early April.
Next week, the threat of storms returns Monday with a 40 percent chance of showers, and again sometime Wednesday or Thursday. Those storm fronts are not yet expected to bring severe weather.