FIRST ALERT: Severe storms possible after 10 p.m. Friday night, into Saturday a.m.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After a warm Thursday with afternoon temperatures surging into the 80s, First Alert AccuTrack Satellite and Radar shows a mostly clear sky across Central Alabama tonight. Most of us are hanging out in the upper 60s and low 70s this evening, so a very mild end to Thursday. Winds will stay breezy out of the south at 10-15 MPH. For Friday with temperatures in the lower 60s. We might start the day with a partly sunny to mostly cloudy sky, but I think we will end up partly cloudy during the afternoon hours. It is going to be another warm day. We are looking at highs in the lower 80s. A few spots south of I-20 could warm into the mid 80s. Winds will continue from the south at 10-15 mph. We’ll likely stay dry during the daylight hours, but isolated storms will be possible in west Alabama after 10 PM.
Next Big Thing: The big story tomorrow into Saturday is the threat for severe storms across the Southeast. The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the severe threat with a moderate risk (red) - threat level 4 out of 5 - for parts of northeast Louisiana, southeast Arkansas, and west-central Mississippi. Areas in the moderate risk could see strong (EF-2 or greater) long-track tornadoes, damaging winds up to 70 mph, and very large hail. An enhanced risk - threat level 3 out of 5 (orange) - has been issued for the eastern half of Mississippi and into parts of west Alabama. The threats in this area include damaging winds up to 70 mph, isolated tornadoes, and large hail. The rest of Central Alabama is under a slight risk (yellow) - threat level 2 out of 5. Areas under the slight risk have a lower threat for severe storms, but we can’t rule out damaging winds up to 60 mph and isolated tornadoes. Everyone needs to be ready for the possibility of severe weather Friday night.
Isolated severe storms can’t be ruled out in west Alabama after 9-10 PM Friday. I think the bulk of the storms will move in overnight around 11 PM - 8 AM. I would recommend having multiple ways to receive critical weather information. Make sure you turn on your NOAA Weather Radio and have fresh batteries for it in case you lose power. Weather radios are great tools to have for overnight events because they can sound a loud alarm that can wake you up. Overnight severe weather can be very dangerous, so we want to make sure you stay weather aware and have a plan in case a warning is issued. I think we’ll likely see supercells - individual, rotating storms capable of producing large hail and tornadoes - develop in the moderate risk area. Severe storms in Louisiana and Mississippi will eventually push to the northeast and approach west Alabama by 10 PM. I do think we’ll see storms cluster up and form into a line of storms early Saturday morning. These storms could be a solid or a broken line of storms that will push eastward across Alabama. I think the stormy weather will likely move out of our area by 8 AM Saturday morning. I think most of us will end up with pockets of heavy rain, gusty winds up to 30-40 mph, and lightning. Flooding appears unlikely in this setup. with rainfall totals from 0.5 - 1 inch.
Mostly Dry and Warm Saturday: Normally when cold fronts move through, temperatures cool off; Saturday won’t be like that. Temperatures will bottom out in the low to mid 60s during the morning. Once the rain moves out, we will see plenty of sunshine Saturday afternoon with temperatures climbing into the upper 70s and lower 80s. Saturday will end up very breezy with southwest winds at 10-20 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. A few models hint at isolated storms in the afternoon hours, but it appears unlikely at this time.
Storms Return Sunday Evening: The first half of Sunday is looking dry with some sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid 50s. The cold front that moves through our area Saturday will stall along the Gulf Coast and lift northward on Sunday. Clouds will likely increase throughout the day as the warm front moves into Central Alabama. We will likely see showers and storms increase in coverage south of I-20 Sunday afternoon and evening. A strong or severe storm can’t be ruled out Sunday evening into Monday morning for areas south of I-20. The main threat will be damaging winds and hail. Heavy rain and flash flooding could be possible for the southern half of the state as storms move over the same areas. It would not surprise me if we see 1-2 inches of rain for parts of South Alabama Sunday into Monday; however, if you live north of I-20, you may not even end up seeing any rain with this set-up. Bottom line: the best chance for rain and storms will be areas south. Temperatures Sunday afternoon are forecast to warm into the upper 70s with breezy conditions ongoing.
Scattered Showers and Storms Monday: I think we could see rain Sunday night into Monday morning, but the bulk of the rain may remain south of I-20 Monday afternoon and evening. We’ll start next week with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Some showers could linger areas south on Tuesday and then by the evening we dry out as high pressure moves in. Temperatures look fairly seasonable with highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s for the rest of the week. Looking Beyond the 7-Day to the first weekend of April, weather could potentially turn unsettled again. But I see no signs of freezes or frosts over the next seven days. I still recommend planting your garden around or after April 15th. We can still see waves of cold air impact the Southeast in early April.
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