FIRST ALERT: Ian approaches SW Fla.; Red Flag Warning for central Ala.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Another beautiful night in store across central Alabama as a dry air mass has settled in across Alabama. Expect clear and starry skies tonight, offering great views of the crescent moon.
Temperatures will once again fall into the upper 40s to low 50s, making for another crisp and cool start to Wednesday. The one caveat of the lower humidity is the high fire danger risk over the next few days. High pressure situated over the Deep South juxtaposed with Hurricane Ian to our south will create a strong “pressure gradient,” which will put north winds in our area on the breezy side over the next few days. Winds over the next few days will be at 10-20 MPH with gusts up to 25-30 MPH possible. Breezy conditions + low humidity is a recipe for a Red Flag Warning, currently in place Wednesday from 11 AM to 7PM CDT. Even outside of this time frame, avoid outdoor burning over the next couple of days, as the pattern should stay dry and breezy through at least Thursday. Despite the fire risk, our weather will continue to be dry, pleasant and sunny through mid-week. Highs will stay below average in the 70s with lows near 50.
With Ian’s track going farther to the south and east of us, any direct impacts from Ian continue to look minimal here in central Alabama. Rain chances now look next to none on Friday with just the possibility of some high clouds around, especially east of I-65. As Ian moves farther north and inland, weakening to a tropical depression, we could see a few showers on the far west side of the system like in east Alabama, but even that doesn’t look like a sure-fire guarantee anymore. Some isolated showers will be possible areas north and east on Sunday, but many of us will stay dry. Regardless, clouds look to increase in coverage by the weekend, dropping highs into the low 70s. Breezy conditions will remain through at least the end of the weekend.
Hurricane Ian is still a Category 3 hurricane with max. sustained winds at 120 MPH. Ian is forecast to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane prior to landfall in southwest Florida. Storm surge will be one of the primary concerns with this system with up to 9-12 feet possible across parts of very vulnerable coastline. Once Ian makes landfall anywhere from Sarasota down to Fort Myers on Wednesday, it will begin to slow down and weaken; however, this system will continue to dump plenty of rainfall even as it weakens with totals over a foot possible on the north side of Ian across central Florida. Of course, a Category 4 at landfall will also pose a wind damage threat with peak winds expected to reach up to 130 MPH. Once weakening and slowly meandering northeastward over Florida, Ian will likely bring rain into parts of the Carolinas and Georgia by late week with Alabama still looking drier in comparison. We could see the remnants of Ian bring some residual shower activity over the weekend in northeast Alabama, but most of us should not have any issues. As we mentioned, the main issue here at home will be breezy conditions.
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