Today is a First Alert Weather Day for the threat of strong to severe storms capable of damaging winds, tornadoes, and flooding rain.
South winds will be increasing into the afternoon, and should be sustained around 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Try to keep your yard free of loose objects that can be blown around by these strong winds. Highs will push into the lower 70s later today. Our severe threat materializes later this afternoon. We may see two rounds of potentially rough weather. The first will be in the form of individual or discrete thunderstorms developing after 2-3 p.m.
These storms would be isolated in nature, but could become more intense than the squall line expected later this evening if they do form. While we’re not expecting an outbreak, any isolated storm that fires up mid/late afternoon would be capable of producing damaging wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and stronger EF-2/3 type tornadoes. This threat will be higher across west-central Alabama and east MS as instability and low-level moisture will be higher. Those storms will track quickly northeast and could move into northern Alabama.
The second round of strong-to-severe storms shifts in late this evening in the form of a squall line. This feature has been depicted on weather models for several days and there is a higher confidence in this developing and affecting more of the Valley than the isolated supercell threat. The squall line should shift into northwestern AL around 9 p.m. and track east with time.
The line shifts into the Huntsville Metro area closer to midnight or 1A and should move through northeastern AL around 2-3 a.m. This line would be capable of producing wind gusts up to 60-65 mph as well as a brief, spin-up tornado. Take any severe warnings issued tonight seriously as that may be all that’s issued to account for spin-up tornadoes along the squall line. Flash flooding also becomes a concern due to prolonged heavy rain. Some areas will pick up 2-4” of rain overnight. The storm threat should be over area-wide by 4-5 a.m. with the threat ending sooner than that farther west.
Rain showers taper off Wednesday morning, and clouds should diminish into the afternoon. Look for cooler weather to finish out the week. Highs will stay in the upper 50s Wednesday with a west wind at 5-15 mph. Skies will be clear overnight, and we’ll drop to near freezing. Highs will be limited to the 40s for Thursday and our low will slip into the upper 20s that night. Temperatures should warm to more seasonable levels into the weekend.
Remain weather alert. Make sure your weather radio is on and you have fresh batteries. Also make sure you have the latest update to the WAFF 48 Weather and News apps.
-Meteorologist David Ernst