James Spann: Strong to severe storms possible in Alabama this afternoon, evening

ACTIVE DAY TO WRAP UP 2018: Temperatures started the day mostly in the mild 60s, and we project a high in the 70- to 74-degree range for most of the state. The late December warmth will help to create an unstable atmosphere, and with the approach of a storm system, we will have potential for strong to severe thunderstorms this afternoon and into early tonight.

The Storm Prediction Center has defined a slight risk (level 2 of 5) for areas along and north of I-59, with a marginal risk (level 1 of 5) down to Lafayette, Luverne and Mobile:

  • The main window for severe storms will come from 1 until 9 p.m., with the threat initially over northwest Alabama, then shifting to the southeast through the afternoon and evening.
  • The primary threat will come from strong, potentially damaging straight-line winds. However, an isolated tornado or two is possible, especially in the slight risk area across north and west Alabama.
  • Pressure gradient winds, away from thunderstorms, will ramp up this afternoon, averaging 12-22 mph, possibly gusting to 30 mph at times. With the saturated soil conditions, this could result in a few downed trees and power lines.
  • Rain amounts will be around one-half inch for most places today, with isolated totals to 1 inch. Widespread flooding is not expected, but a few isolated issues are possible.

Showers and storms will end later tonight as a surface front passes through.

TUESDAY: The day will be mostly dry with only an outside risk of a shower, but the sky will remain generally cloudy. A few intervals of sun are possible during the afternoon, and the high will be in the mid 60s.

MORE RAIN LATER THIS WEEK: Colder air creeps into Alabama Wednesday; the high will be in the 50- to 55-degree range with clouds hanging tough. A wave on the front to the south will bring more rain into the state beginning Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, rain will continue to fall Wednesday night and much of the day Thursday, lingering into Friday morning. The air will be cool and stable with temperatures generally in the 48- to 55-degree range while the rain falls, so no worries with severe thunderstorms.

Additional rain amounts Wednesday through Friday will be in the 2- to 3-inch range for north Alabama, with 1 to 2 inches possible for the southern counties of the state. Some flooding issues will be possible again along already swollen creeks and streams.

DRIER WEEKEND: The weekend looks very nice. Lots of sunshine Saturday and Sunday; the high Saturday will be close to 60, followed by mid 60s Sunday. Morning lows will be in the 30s.

NEXT WEEK: It actually looks like dry weather could stay in place for a decent part of the week, giving Alabama a much-needed chance to dry out.

WET DECEMBER: As of this morning, Birmingham’s rain total for December was 10.26 inches, making it the eighth wettest December on record. Here is a look at the top 10 wettest Decembers (based on data from Birmingham):

  • 1961 — 13.98 inches
  • 1932 — 13.85
  • 1983 — 12.63
  • 1967 — 11.49
  • 1942 — 11.03
  • 1926 — 10.61
  • 2015 — 10.53
  • 2018 — 10.26
  • 1920 — 9.57
  • 1919 — 9.56

With more rain coming, December 2018 might make it to number 5 on this list.

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

WEATHER BRAINS: You can listen to our weekly 90-minute show any time on your favorite podcast app. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including meteorologists at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks:

Snapchat: spannwx

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

Related Stories