POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE STORMS THIS EVENING: Strong to severe storms are expected across the Southeast today, including damaging thunderstorm winds in excess of 60 mph, hail of 1 inch in diameter or more, and tornadoes (some of which could be large and long-track in nature). We could see those stronger to severe storms across much of Alabama later this evening and into the first few hours of Sunday.
The latest from the Storm Prediction Center has locations west of a line from Sulligent (Lamar County) to Hackleburg (Marion County) to Lexington (Lauderdale County) defined in a moderate risk of severe storms (level 4 of 5). Locations east of that to a line stretching from Geiger (Sumter County) to Jasper (Walker County) to Hazel Green (Madison County) are defined in an enhanced risk (level 3 of 5). Locations east of that to a line stretching from Linden (Marengo County) to Pelham (Shelby County) to Ider (Dekalb County) are defined in a slight risk (level 2 of 5). Locations east of that to a line stretching from Hayneville (Lowndes County) to Alexander City (Tallapoosa County) to just west of Ranburne (Cleburne County) are defined in a marginal risk (level 1 of 5).
Timing of the stronger to severe storms will be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the moderate and enhanced risk areas, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the slight risk area and 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the marginal risk area. Once the line of storms makes it east of the risk areas, the threat of severe storms should have come to an end.
The latest run of the high-resolution North American Mesoscale is showing that the main line of storms will move into the northwestern parts of central Alabama around 8 p.m.-10 p.m., but it is also showing a potential of a few cells developing out ahead of the line as early as 3 p.m. The line will make it into the Birmingham metro and Tuscaloosa around 11 p.m.-1 a.m. and into the Montgomery area around 2 a.m.–4 a.m.
Daytime highs will be in the lower 70s to the mid-80s, with lows dipping down into the mid-40s to the lower 60s from northwest to southeast.
Not only will we have the potential for strong to severe storms, a tightening pressure gradient will cause gusty winds without thunderstorms. Those could be strong enough to bring down a few trees, especially with the super-saturated soil. Rain could be heavy at times on Saturday as well, which could add to the flooding issues that are already occurring.
Go ahead and have your emergency plan and kit ready to go just in case your location goes under a warning. Also, have multiple ways to receive weather alerts.
FLOOD WATCHES CONTINUE: A Flash Flood Watch continues in effect for Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan counties in North Alabama until midnight.
An Areal Flood Watch continues in effect for Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston counties in central Alabama until 6 a.m. Sunday.
MUCH IMPROVED, COOLER DAY ON SUNDAY: Storms will exit the area just after sunrise and skies will quickly clear out behind the front. We’ll have sunny skies by the afternoon and highs will top out in the upper 50s to the upper 60s from northwest to southeast.
NEXT WEEK: We’ll have a ton of sunshine throughout the day on Monday with highs reaching the upper 50s to the mid-60s. We’ll start off the day on Tuesday with mostly sunny skies, but clouds will begin to move in late along with a small chance of scattered showers. Highs will be in the 60s. Unfortunately, it looks like shower chances will continue to be in the forecast each day to end out the work week. Wednesday’s highs will be in the lower 60s to the lower 70s, Thursday’s highs in the upper 50s to the lower 70s, and Friday’s highs in the upper 50s to the upper 60s.
ON THIS DAY IN WEATHER HISTORY: In 1936, a severe blizzard in the Sierra Nevada Range closed Donner Pass. It stranded 750 motorists and claimed seven lives.
BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.
For more weather news and information from James Spann, Scott Martin and other members of the James Spann team, visit AlabamaWx.