Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas are Southern states most at risk of tornadoes Saturday

Doyle Rice

Folks in the South are in for stormy and potentially dangerous weather this weekend, especially on Saturday, meteorologists warn.

"There is a significant risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes this weekend," Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes tweeted. 

The states most at risk Saturday are Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, along with eastern Texas. Cities in this risk zone include Shreveport, Louisiana, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. 

The threats range from damaging wind gusts and large hail to frequent lightning strikes, flash flooding and tornadoes, AccuWeather warned.

Deadly and destructive tornadoes are most likely Saturday afternoon and evening. Some of the tornadoes could be strong and stay on the ground for more than a few minutes.

The Storm Prediction Center, the federal agency responsible for issuing severe weather risk areas, has placed northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas in a "moderate" risk area for severe storms Saturday. While that may not sound too worrisome, it is the second-highest level of risk on the center's scale.

"Please pay close attention to the forecast and have a safe place to go if a warning is issued for your area," Bettes said. "A mobile home is NOT safe."

The threat for severe weather will shift into the Southeast on Sunday

Damaging winds are the main severe threat, though a few tornadoes are certainly possible, the Weather Channel said.

Thunderstorms could hit Alabama and Georgia on Sunday, when many churches may have larger-than-normal crowds for Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for Christians. 

The weather service’s office in Birmingham, Alabama, is advising church pastors to watch the weather during Sunday services, warning that large rooms like sanctuaries and auditoriums aren’t safe during severe weather.

Also on Sunday, severe storms could slam Augusta, Georgia, site of the final round of the Masters golf tournament. 

Aside from the severe storm threat, heavy rain may trigger flash flooding in portions of the the South, Ohio Valley and East, especially areas that had been recently soaked by rain, according to the Weather Channel.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas are Southern states most at risk of tornadoes Saturday