Storms fire up along a weak cold front to our west this evening and move in after 9PM across west Alabama. Storms could be strong to severe between about 9pm and 3am. The greatest risk for a severe storm is going to be across west Alabama. Be weather alert especially if you live along and west of a line from Vernon to Winfield to Double Springs. Damaging wind is going to be the main severe threat with any storm that moves through. Storms will tend to weaken as they track eastward during the early morning hours on Friday.
Here's a look at the hour-by-hour storm time-line via the HRRR model:
Be sure to watch Fox 6 for updates regarding the storm chance tonight!
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
Severe weather is forecast to erupt across the Central and Southern Plains on Sunday. All modes of severe weather will be possible in the highlighted zone.
The culprit is an upper level low that is forecast to track eastward across the United States this weekend and early next week. The weather ahead of the trough of low pressure will be ripe for the development of severe storms. If you have friends or family members in the highlighted area, be sure to advise them to continue to monitor updated forecasts and have multiple ways of receiving weather warnings.
Storms will be ongoing late Saturday night and Sunday morning across central Nebraska and points southward. Storms will strengthen during the day and progress eastward with time. The magic hour across the Heartland could be as early as noon and folks across the Ozarks will see some of the strongest storms during the afternoon hours before the activity shifts across the eastern part of Missouri and central Arkansas by the evening.
Energy Helicity Index or EHI 0-1km is forecast to be as high as 4 or 5 across southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana by 7pm Sunday. Values will be slightly lower to the north but still high enough for supercells to potentially produce strong tornadoes.
The long range models are in agreement regarding the evolution of the upper low as it progresses across the Plains on Sunday and then into the Mississippi Valley on Monday. It's still too far out to forecast with much detail and especially on a mesoscale or small scale level.
On Monday, the system shifts eastward and so does the threat for severe storms. Once again, computer models indicate another round or rounds of severe storms forming across the lower Mississippi Valley and into western Tennessee. It looks like a potential volatile set-up with the synoptic pattern on Monday across Mississippi and strong tornadoes will be possible.
While severe storms will be possible during the late afternoon hours across west Alabama on Monday the greatest threat for severe storms is on Monday night into Tuesday morning. The models differ on the speed of the storms as you can see below. We should get a better idea regarding timing and strength once the storm system is sampled better in the coming days.
The GFS model is much slower regarding the progression of the low and could produce another round of severe weather on Tuesday PM if this model solution pans out. This is something we'll have to track closely. Upper lows that become cut off from the main flow can be tricky to time and speed and timing can mean the difference between low instability and high instability.
As Dr. Tim Coleman said in a previous blog post, "We'll see thunderstorms Sunday night all the way through Tuesday. We still need a couple more days to get more details on the wind shear for rotating storms and possible tornadoes."
Now is the time to prepare for potential severe weather and be sure to have a plan in place. Have multiple ways of receiving weather info Sunday night and Monday. NOAA weather radio may be back online in Birmingham by Monday, but we don't know yet, so have a backup plan (phone apps, text messages, etc.)
This is the first real active set up this year and hopefully every one is prepared for potential severe storms. There are things you might want to do ahead of time to prepare for strong winds, etc.
1. Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorms.
2. Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
3. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected the same way as your home.
4. Have an emergency preparedness kit put together.
For item details click here: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit
If you have any questions feel free to contact us,
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
An intense, slow-moving storm system will move across the U.S. this weekend into early next week. This may produce severe weather for several days, from the Plains Saturday, into Louisiana and Arkansas Sunday, and Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee by Sunday night and Monday. We need to watch this one closely, because it is the first major storm capable of producing widespread severe weather over the U.S. this year.
The upper flow will cut off, forming a spinning upper-level low. Those are notoriously hard to predict, especially when it comes to timing and specifics.
A large surface low will form over the central US and move little. By Monday afternoon, it will be located near Omaha, Nebraska. That's good news for us, because the main dynamics (best wind shear) are normally closer to the surface low, and Omaha is a long way from here. However, the air is already warm over Alabama, and moisture will start to pour in this weekend as south winds pick up. Dewpoints may reach 70 over south Alabama by Monday. This will likely produce CAPE values above 2,000 J/kg over Alabama Monday.
There will be enough intsbaility for thunderstorms, possibly with heavy rain of 2 to 3 inches. The question will be the wind shear. If all the dynamics stay to our north, we might dodge the bullet. But, with a complex storm like this, we can't know that yet, and it is possible we'll get an impulse through here, producing wind shear. These late season outbreaks can be bad if we get a lot of wind shear, with tornadoes, because it gets so warm and humid in late April and early May.
Bottom line, we'll see thunderstorms Sunday night all the way through Tuesday. We still need a couple more days to get more details on the wind shear for rotating storms and possible tornadoes.
Keep an eye on this system, and make sure you have a way of receiving weather info Sunday night and Monday. NOAA weather radio may be back online in Birmingham by Monday, but we don't know yet, so have a backup plan (phone apps, text messages, etc.)
Dr. Tim Coleman
Back in the day, while gazing at a stormy sky in Tuscaloosa, I decided that meteorology was the choice for me. I will never forget my first day in a meteorology related class at MSU. I was so excited to finally be learning about information that I had longed for all my life. It was such a rewarding experience and I feel blessed to be where I am today. Each year so many students and parents ask me, what does it take to become a meteorologist? On Saturday you will have an excellent opportunity to find out. Teams from the University of Alabama Huntsville and Mississippi State University will be at WeatherFest. Both colleges have excellent programs in Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences. This is a free event that will take place in front of the McWane Science Center in Birmingham. The event kicks off a 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.
Fox6 Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
This afternoon is expected to be a little warmer than yesterday. Look highs in the low 80s under partly cloudy skies.
Tonight overnight look for a weak system to move through, giving us a slight chance of showers and lows near 61.
The latest computer forecast models show skies clearing tomorrow morning into the aftenroon.
Earlier this week, we thought we might see a few showers linger for the weekend...not the case anymore. Expect a warm weekend with highs in the low to mid 80s under clear to partly cloudy skies.
A strong storm system appears to be headed our way for Monday night into Tuesday morning. We could see severe weather with this system, including tornadoes and damaging winds.
Mickey Ferguson, FOX6 Weather
One of the many instruments you will have a chance to learn about at WeatherFest 2014 is the Mobile Integrated Profiling System or MIPS from the University of Alabama Huntsville. This is a platform that houses multiple remote sensing tools aimed in the vertical to gather data. These data include wind speeds and direction within various layers of the atmosphere. The MIPS platform houses a 915 MHZ Doppler Profiler, a Doppler SODAR that utilizes sound waves, and a LIDAR ceilometer.
You will be able to get a first hand look at MIPS and learn more about its mission at McWane on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Fox6 Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
Be sure to check in frequently over the next several days as we get a better handle on the threat of severe weather for Monday. This panel from GFS suggests there will be plenty of instability in place for severe weather late Monday. There is a chance the models could back off on the threat in the days ahead but its always a good idea to be ready, especially given the time of year. This weekend you will have a great opportunity to test out the function of your NOAA Weather Radio at the McWane Science Center. We will be there on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for WeatherFest.
Currently the NOAA Weather Radio transmitter in Birmingham if off air, but the NWS is working to have service restored before Monday’s event. If you would still like to try switching to an alternate signal we will be helping answer your questions at Saturday’s event. Our digital team will also be onsite to help with installing the Fox6 Weather App.
WeatherFest is going to be a very fun and educational event with lots of weather safety related information. We have a great line-up for this years event, including teams from the NWS, UAH, MSU, EMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Ham Radio. You will see tools and vehicles used to track, monitor, and respond to severe weather events. We will also have contests, games, and prizes. Some of the prizes given away will be programmable NOAA Weather Radios. We hope to see you on Saturday and stay weather aware!
Fox6 Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
All is quiet tonight with clear skies. We can expect lows around 50 degrees. Temperatures are expect to climb into the lower to mid 80s over next few days. To use a cliche', this is really the calm before the storm. We have two systems to talk about. One is not a big deal and the other could be significant.
First of all, let's talk about what we can expect in the short-term. Mostly clear skies are expected through much of Thursday with increasing clouds during the afternoon. Highs will reach the lower 80s. Rain and even a few thunderstorms will invade late Thursday night into Friday. Some rain is expected by 10pm in our western sections with more overnight rain in the forecast. Rainfall amounts will be less than 1" with this system.
The weather will improve Friday with clearing skies and highs around 80 degrees. We'll have slightly less muggy air in place going into the weekend. But, that will not last long. I fully expect the atmosphere to recover with an increasing southerly wind flow both Saturday and Sunday. This will mean highs in the mid 80s. The weekend should remain mostly sunny and warm. In the meantime, a powerful system will be approaching from the west. This system will have already resulted in severe storms across the Plains and Mid-South. It appears we will be under the gun for severe storms late Monday into Tuesday. It's possible we could see two rounds of severe storms - one ahead of the main line and then the main line.
I see no reason based on model data (GFS and Euro) to believe this will be a non-event. I do think we will see severe storms across the state. The question is the magnitude. We will have significant instability. Models are already indicating CAPE values over 2,000 j/kg. The higher the CAPE, but the better the chances for severe storms. The other key incredient is shear. It appears wind shear right now will be sufficient for supercell thunderstorms - especially in the western part of the state.
It's too early to say we'll be dealing with a tornado outbreak. We really need the system to get in view of the mesoscale models to get a better handle on some of the fine details. Even then I've seen systems synoptically impressive not fully materialize. At this point, it's a wait and see. But, I'd advise you to start thinking about your severe weather plan for Monday afternoon/evening and perhaps through early Tuesday.
We will keep you updated here on Fox6.
Fox6 Chief Meteorologist
Meteorologist Wes Wyatt and Jill Gilardi visited Fayette earlier this afternoon to help program weather radio for folks at the Shop and Save. Fox 6 Weather Watcher Kristopher Gardner and Fayette County EMA also were there to assist others with NOAA weather radios.
It was a great visit and so wonderful meeting everyone that stopped by. We want to thank Stop and Save for having us and for the bakery for making us such a cool looking sweet treat!
Fox 6 Weather
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