Something very interesting will happen Sunday, as we’ll lose our chances for showers and thunderstorms across much of central Alabama thanks to the subsidence caused by the approaching Tropical Storm Cristobal. All that sinking air will keep any storms from forming north of I-85 and US 80, but it looks like one of the outer rain bands may move into the extreme southern parts of the state during the late afternoon and early evening. What is amazing is that the Global Forecast System keeps us completely dry overnight. Skies will be mostly cloudy, which will help to keep the highs down in the mid-80s to the lower 90s.
TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS: As of the 4 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Cristobal was about 370 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving north at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds were at 45 mph and the minimum central pressure was at 29.44 inches or 997 millibars. The current forecast track has Cristobal continuing to head north and eventually making landfall on the Louisiana Gulf Coast south of Houma late Sunday night.
Tropical Storm Warnings are up from just east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to as far east as to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida, which includes Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Storm Surge Warnings are up from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Storm Surge Watches are up in Florida from Indian Pass to Arepika, and in Louisiana from just east of Morgan City to the mouth of the Mississippi River. None of the Alabama Gulf Coast is in a Storm Surge Watch or Warning. If a surge does occur on the Alabama Gulf Coast, it will be around 1 to 3 feet.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to start in the Tropical Storm Warning areas late tonight or early Sunday morning and will continue to be possible through Sunday. Rainfall amounts along the coast are expected to reach 4 to 8 inches, with some localized amounts reaching as high as 12 inches. Some coastal flooding and flash flooding will be possible. Large waves and deadly rip currents will batter the shoreline east of where the center is expected to make landfall. A few waterspouts or brief tropical spin-up tornadoes may be possible as well, especially in the northeast quadrant of Cristobal.
AlabamaWx will have frequent updates through the weekend and into the start of next week on Tropical Storm Cristobal.
ACTIVE WEATHER THROUGH WEDNESDAY: Other than a little bit of a breeze and a good bit of cloud cover, Monday doesn’t look to be much different than a regular summer day. We’ll have scattered showers and thunderstorms mainly becoming active during the afternoon and early evening, with much of the area staying dry through the morning. Highs will stay a little lower, in the mid to upper 80s.
As the remnants of Cristobal start to move northeast from Missouri into Illinois on Tuesday, we start to see an arm of tropical moisture take shape from the Gulf of Mexico up to the former tropical storm. Showers and thunderstorms will become likely at any time, especially during the second half of the day. Skies will be mostly cloudy when no rain is falling and highs will be in the lower to mid-80s.
That arm of moisture turns into a boundary that will move through much of Alabama on Wednesday. Showers and storms continue to be likely, especially during the main heating of the day. Highs will start to warm back up into the mid to upper 80s.
DRY END TO THE WORK WEEK: A stalled boundary will be far enough south that Thursday now looks to stay dry, according to this run of the models. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.
Friday looks pretty similar, but we will be on the bottom side of a trough. We could see some energy moving through extreme northern Alabama that may set off a stray shower or two, but that looks unlikely at this point. Highs will be in the mid-80s to right at or just over 90 degrees.
BEACH FORECAST: The risk of life-threatening rip currents will be high throughout the weekend until at least late Monday night along the Gulf Coast. Tropical storm conditions are expected to start Saturday night. Get the latest weather and rip current forecasts for the beaches from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to Panama City Beach, Florida, on our Beach Forecast Center page. There, you can select the forecast of the region you are interested in.
For more weather news and information from James Spann, Scott Martin and other members of the James Spann team, visit AlabamaWx.