James Spann: High-impact wind event for Alabama tonight

ZETA NEARING LANDFALL: Hurricane Zeta, despite cooler shelf water and strong winds aloft, doesn’t want to weaken this afternoon. Sustained winds are 110 mph, and landfall comes shortly across southeast Louisiana. The core remnant circulation will race through Alabama tonight.

ON THE COAST: Winds could gust to 90 mph over parts of Mobile County tonight; gusts to 75 mph are possible over Baldwin County. The storm surge on Dauphin Island is forecast to be 6-9 feet; a surge of 4-6 feet is expected for Mobile Bay, and 3-5 feet along the beaches of southern Baldwin County (Fort Morgan to Orange Beach).

A Tornado Watch is in effect for southwest Alabama until midnight; a few isolated tornadoes and waterspouts are possible.

Rain amounts of 2-3 inches are likely on the Alabama Gulf Coast through Thursday; a Flash Flood Watch is in effect.

INLAND ALABAMA: A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for a large part of Alabama tonight as Zeta races through the state. There is potential for a high-impact wind event with widespread tree and power line damage; expect numerous power outages tonight.

For those in the Tropical Storm Warning, expect sustained winds of 25-45 mph, with gusts to 65 mph.

For most of central and east Alabama, the highest winds will come after midnight.

  • For any one spot, the highest winds will last about two to three hours.
  • The greatest concern will come from falling trees late tonight and before dawn Thursday. If you live in a mobile home surrounded by pine trees, I would consider spending the night in a different place tonight.
  • Plan now for power outages. Secure loose objects on your property.
  • A few brief, isolated tornadoes are possible over east and south Alabama.

  • Rain amounts over the next 24 hours will be between 1 and 3 inches; a Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of Alabama.
  • The wind and the rain will subside early Thursday morning, and the sky becomes partly sunny during the day.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be mostly sunny and cooler, with a high in the 60s; dry weather continues into the Halloween weekend with a good supply of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday. The high both days will be between 68 and 72 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Colder air arrives early in the week; highs drop into the upper 50s Monday, and lows will be in the 30s both Monday and Tuesday mornings. Widespread frost looks likely early Tuesday, with potential for a freeze in the colder spots. We warm back into the low 70s by Thursday and Friday, and for now the week looks rain-free.

ON THIS DATE IN 1999: A Super Typhoon known as Cyclone 05B reached the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. This storm is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean. Cyclone 05B hit the Indian State of Odisha near the city of Bhubaneswar on Oct. 29. An estimated 10,000 people would die from this cyclone and 1.67 million were left homeless.

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