James Spann: Severe storms possible in Alabama tonight

James Spann forecasts a stormy start to Alabama’s weekend from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR ALABAMA THROUGH TOMORROW: An unusually active pattern for July is ahead for Alabama. On the maps, we have a strong upper high to the west, which is responsible for triple-digit heat for much of Texas and Oklahoma. And there is an upper trough with strong wind fields from the Great Lakes down into the southern U.S. This will provide dynamic support for strong to severe thunderstorms for Alabama over the next 36 hours.

Today will be generally dry with a decent amount of sunshine; any showers or storms this afternoon will be widely scattered. Temperatures will reach the low 90s, making the air very unstable.

We have potential for several rounds of severe storms through tomorrow night; the first opportunity will come tonight and early tomorrow morning. The Storm Prediction Center has defined an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) of severe storms over parts of north Alabama, as far south as Vernon, Jasper, Blountsville and Scottsboro. A slight risk (level 2 of 5) is as far south as Demopolis, Prattville and Lake Martin. A marginal risk (level 1 of 5) extends down to Grove Hill, Greenville, Troy and Phenix City.

A thunderstorm complex will enter far north Alabama this evening and will roll southeastward through the state during the night:

  • The main risk of severe storms will come from 7 tonight through 4 a.m. tomorrow.
  • The core threat will come from damaging straight-line winds; this could be an event with potential widespread damage.
  • An isolated tornado is possible.
  • Large hail is possible with the stronger storms as well.
  • Rain amounts of one-half inch to 1 inch can be expected.

It is important to note that these “northwest flow” type thunderstorm events can be challenging to forecast, so watch for potential forecast changes today. And be sure you can hear warnings tonight. Never rely on an outdoor siren; have a NOAA Weather Radio in your home and a good smartphone app designed for warnings.

Be sure and pay attention to severe thunderstorm warnings tonight; they are very important in a situation like this.

TOMORROW: We could see a lull in thunderstorm activity tomorrow morning, but new storms could fire up tomorrow afternoon, and those could be strong to severe. The SPC has much of north and northeast Alabama under a slight risk, with a marginal risk pretty much statewide.

This is more of a conditional threat; development will depend on the state of the atmosphere after the storms roll through tonight. But if thunderstorms can get going tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, they will be capable of producing strong winds and hail. Otherwise, expect a mix of sun and clouds tomorrow with a high in the low 90s.

SUNDAY: The SPC has defined a marginal risk for southeast Alabama, but a few scattered showers and storms are possible statewide, mostly during the afternoon and evening. Otherwise, the day will be partly sunny with a high in the upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Temperatures through the weekend should be below average with highs in the upper 80s most days, and there should be sufficient moisture and instability for the chance of at least scattered showers and thunderstorms daily.

TROPICS: Tropical storm formation is not expected across the Atlantic basin through next week.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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