Severe storms expected Wed. afternoon

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We're preparing for our first round of severe storms today.  Thunderstorms will move into West Alabama by 2pm with the primary threat damaging winds.  I'm confident a squall line will form ahead of the cold front and move from west to east across the state.  The line of storms should cross the I-65 corridor by 4-6pm and then move into East Alabama after 7pm.

For areas north of the Tennessee River, there is a threat for tornadoes as well during the afternoon.  The threat should end by the the evening hours.  This is the Storm Prediction Centers risk probability map.  The tornado risk in the Fox 6 viewing area is between 2-5% with higher risks.  The 15% hatched area includes Florence, Decatur, and Huntsville.

What can we expect?  A line of storms will form in the heat of the afternoon with temperatures rising to around 75 degrees.  The most wind shear will remain to our north.  The shear here is largely speed shear and not directional shear which translates into severe storms, but a lower tornado threat.  A small spin-up tornado is possible within a squall-line, but this will not be the main concern.  I anticipate some damage this afternoon and evening from winds over 60mph.  The threat for severe storms across the entire area should end after 9pm.

I'm anticipating a much stronger system to impact us by Friday night.  Friday night's system could include tornadoes.  Right now - it appears the higher risk on Friday will be after 10pm and for areas largely north of I-20.  This is one to keep close watch on.

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