FIRST ALERT UPDATE: The first wave of heavier rain and storms continues to make a slow push east across the area this evening. At the time of this update, the line of storms leading the heavier rain was starting to impact cities like Anniston, Talladega, and Millerville in Clay County. So far we’ve seen rain totals ranging from one inch to localized totals topping two inches. The heavier rain will gradually taper off from west to east overnight and then our attention will turn to another severe weather threat for early Saturday morning.
SEVERE WEATHER THREAT SATURDAY MORNING 3AM TO 9AM
WHAT TO EXPECT: Tomorrow will be an in-between day with lingering scattered showers, a partly to mostly cloudy sky, and unseasonably warm temperatures. We’ve adjusted our timing a bit to reflect an earlier arrival that will impact our Saturday morning. By midnight tomorrow night, rain and storms will be rapidly developing over south Mississippi and lifting northeast as an unstable air mass lifts inland. This heavier rain and storms will reach our western counties during the early morning hours on Saturday (around 3AM). The heavier rain and storms will impact our area from southwest to northeast through 9AM. It is possible we could see a strong to severe storm during this time frame but the greater concern will be south of I-20. There will be a more elevated severe risk over south Alabama due to higher instability, wind shear, and boundary interaction. All modes of severe weather will be possible including, localized flooding, hail, damaging wind gusts, and tornadoes.
ANOTHER SEVERE THREAT AFTER 3PM SATURDAY
It is possible Saturday morning could end up being the main severe threat for most of our area this weekend. The big question is what impacts will the morning storms have on the environment for later in the day and how will this storm complex evolve? A very energetic storm system will be approaching and this will cause another surge of moist/unstable air northward into south Alabama. However, higher resolution data suggests the axis of heavier rain and storms from Saturday morning may stall southeast of our area and feed off of this influx of unstable air. This scenario would help limit the severe risk in the afternoon and evening, especially north of I-20. These data do indicate the more unstable zone could reach areas southeast of Birmingham by 6PM Saturday night. Given the complex setup, I’d still make my weekend plans around staying staying weather alert through Saturday afternoon and evening just in case we see the atmosphere make a recovery and reach a higher severe potential. Based on the latest data however, my greatest concern for a secondary severe threat would be southeast of Birmingham Saturday evening. If severe storms do develop later Saturday, all modes of severe weather will remain a possibility including hail, localized flooding, tornadoes, and damaging wind gusts. Storm threat aside, I would plan for more wet weather, especially Saturday night as the main low pressure system enters the state. In fact, lingering rain will be possible on Sunday as the low pressure center crosses the state. J-P will lead off the news with fresh updates beginning at 9PM. Make sure your NOAA Weather Radio has batteries and is working. Also, you may want to double check your First Alert Weather App to make sure severe weather alerts are turned on. Have a great evening!
(This panel from the RPM, valid for 6PM Saturday, highlights the most unstable Convective Available Potential Energy for storms over south Alabama. We will need to closely monitor this instability recovery Saturday afternoon and evening.)
WBRC First Alert Meteorologist Wes Wyatt