FIRST ALERT: Strong to severe storms possible Saturday

First Alert Weather 9p 1-18-19

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Temperatures are cool tonight and holding in the 50s. Expect clouds to increase over the next few hours.

A strong storm system is developing across the Midwest today and in response to it we will see the winds increase from the southeast and temperatures and moisture levels rise.

Next Big Thing: We will see our first round of scattered showers and heavy downpours after midnight and through daybreak on Saturday. The activity looks to arrive after 2 a.m. across west Alabama. This is not the main round we are expecting. That round doesn’t begin impacting west Alabama until after 8 a.m. It’s not until after 8 a.m. that stronger showers and storms develop ahead of the front and move eastward. As of now, it looks like the main timing for this line of storms is to move through between 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Areas west of I-65 will see the activity between 8 a.m.-12 p.m., the I-65 corridor between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and east between 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.. Rain will be heavy at times and it will be windy. Expect southeast winds at 15-25 mph with gusts near 35 mph. Once the main round of heavy precipitation exits, winds switch and blow from the northwest which will help usher in colder air. Temperature ahead of the front will spike into the lower 60s.

Severe Threat Saturday: It’s low but not zero. The main threat will be damaging winds. Instability will be fairly low, but wind shear will be very high. The high wind shear will aid into the potential for one or two strong/severe storms to form. We can’t rule out an isolated tornado threat. The severe potential looks higher south of I-20.

Cold Snap: Temperatures tumble on Saturday night from west to east and will drop 30 degrees in a little over 6 hours. We can’t rule out a few flurries Saturday night into early Sunday morning, but we’ll likely stay mostly dry as clouds slowly decrease. Temperatures should climb into the upper 30s to near 40°F Sunday afternoon but the wind will make it feel like it’s in the upper 20s and lower 30s. We’ll likely see a hard freeze Monday morning with lows dropping into the low to mid 20s. MLK Day is looking sunny with highs climbing into the mid to upper 40s.

Lunar Eclipse/Supermoon Sunday Night: Sunday night will be very cold with temperatures dropping into the lower 20s. The sky should be clearing which means we’ll have the opportunity to observe the supermoon/Lunar Eclipse. The moon will be slightly larger since it will be closest to the Earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its shadow. The lunar eclipse peaks around 11:12 p.m. Sunday night. You’ll likely see the moon change to a red tint during the eclipse. If you miss it, the next total Lunar Eclipse will occur in May 2021.

Unsettled Next Week: Another strong surge of cold air will push into Alabama by Wednesday afternoon and evening. We’ll likely see showers and a few storms followed by the cold air. Next Thursday and Friday is trending dry with temperatures below average.

Make sure you download our WBRC First Alert Weather App to receive critical weather information. You’ll likely need it Saturday as rain and storms approach our area.

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