QUIET THROUGH THURSDAY: While the attention is focused on Hurricane Delta, Alabama’s weather will remain mostly dry and warm today and Thursday. With a partly to mostly sunny sky, look for highs in the mid 80s both days. Some west Alabama communities could reach the upper 80s. Then, on Friday, clouds will increase and showers are possible during the day as moisture levels rise. Showers should be more widespread Friday night as Delta moves into south Louisiana.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be a wet, breezy day for the state, but the core of the really heavy rain associated with Hurricane Delta will likely be a little to the west, over Mississippi. The expected rain totals for Alabama have been lowered a bit; totals of 1-2 inches are expected along and north of I-59 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden), and also over the southwest corner of the state (Mobile and Baldwin counties). Elsewhere, rain amounts should be generally less than 1 inch. We expect no flooding in Alabama.
Winds Saturday across Alabama will generally be in the 15-25 mph range, with a few gusts to 30 mph possible over the western counties. A couple of brief, isolated tornadoes are possible Saturday, mainly west of I-65, but that is a conditional threat as it all will depend on the amount of surface-based instability that develops.
Any lingering showers will end early in the day Sunday, and the sky becomes partly sunny Sunday afternoon as the remnant circulation of Delta lifts northeast. Highs over the weekend will be between 75 and 80 degrees.
NEXT WEEK: Monday will be warm and dry with a high in the 80s; then a cold front passes through on Tuesday. Moisture will be very limited, and there is a chance it comes through in dry fashion (although we will still mention some risk of showers for now). The latter half of the week will be very pleasant, with sunny days and clear, cool nights.
DELTA: Delta significantly weakened over the past 12 hours due to shear over the system; it made landfall along the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula near Puerto Morelos around 5:30 a.m. with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph, a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is moving to the northwest at 17 mph.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts the hurricane to intensify again over the southern Gulf of Mexico, and landfall is forecast along the Louisiana coast, southwest of Morgan City, at Category 3 strength Friday afternoon.
COASTAL IMPACT: There is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds, mainly along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, beginning on Friday. Some storm surge flooding is possible as far east as the Alabama coast. It’s still a little too early for a specific surge forecast. A hurricane watch will be issued for this region later today.
The core risk of wind and storm surge damage will be west of Alabama. Winds over Mobile and Baldwin counties will be in the 20-40 mph range Friday afternoon and Friday night; wind speeds of 15-30 mph are likely along the northwest Florida coast.
Rain amounts of 1-2 inches are expected from Dauphin Island to Panama City Beach. A few brief waterspouts or tornadoes are possible Friday afternoon and Friday night along the coast.
The weather improves during the day Saturday as Delta moves inland; the sky should become partly sunny by afternoon along the coast, with only a few isolated showers. Sunday and much of next week looks dry.
REMEMBER: With tropical systems, if you are working with old information, you are working with bad information. Pay close attention to updates.
FOOTBALL WEATHER: Many of the high school games have been moved to Thursday night; the weather will be dry over the northern half of the state with temperatures falling through the 70s. Showers are likely Friday night with temperatures in the 70s.
Alabama will take on Ole Miss on the road at Oxford (5 p.m. kickoff). The weather looks windy and wet due to the remnant circulation of Delta; winds could gust as high as 30-35 mph during the game. Rain is likely; temperatures will be in the 70s. The amount of rain during the game depends on the position of Delta’s circulation.
ON THIS DATE IN 2018: The National Hurricane Center upgraded Michael to a tropical storm only eight hours after it became a depression. Tropical-storm-force winds and torrential downpours affected portions of the coastal east-central Yucatan Peninsula.
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