BEAUTIFUL AFTERNOON: Morning clouds are gone, and we have a good supply of sunshine over the northern half of Alabama this afternoon with temperatures in the 70s. Clouds return tonight, and rain and thunderstorms will arrive after midnight as a warm front moves northward through the region. A few strong storms are possible tomorrow morning with gusty winds and small hail; SPC has defined a low end “marginal risk” (level 1/5) for about the western half of the state for the overnight activity, and what could linger tomorrow morning. The tornado threat for now looks very low with this activity.
DANGEROUS SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: A vigorous weather system will bring a major severe weather threat to much of Alabama tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night. SPC has expanded the “moderate risk” (level 4/5) a bit… it now reaches as far east as Sand Rock, Pell City, Alabaster, Marion, and Linden. An “enhanced risk” (level 3/5) is defined to Ranburne, Prattville, and Thomasville. A “slight risk” (level 2/5) is down to Opelika, Troy, and Andalusia, and the southeast corner of the state is in a “marginal risk” (level 1/5).
TIMING: The primary window for severe thunderstorms over Northwest Alabama will run from 1 until 8 pm… for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden the window is from 1 until 10 pm, and for Montgomery and points south and east the threat will come from 7pm until midnight.
THREATS: Thunderstorms will be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. A few violent, long track tornadoes are possible, especially in the “moderate risk” area along and north of I-59.
RAIN: The heaviest rain with this event will come over the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama, where some places could see over 2 inches of rain… a flash flood watch has been issued there. Amounts elsewhere will be around one inch. We note a flash flood watch also remains in effect for Southwest Alabama.
GET READY: Alabamians did a remarkable job of being ready for last week’s severe weather event on March 17. We had 25 tornadoes in the state, but not a single injury despite major damage. We need the same level of preparedness for tomorrow.
*Have TWO ways of hearing warnings. Never, ever, ever rely on a siren. Every Alabama home and business needs a NOAA Weather Radio (the most popular model is the Midland WR-120, which is sold in most local big box retailers). The other way is your phone… be sure emergency alerts are enabled (look under settings, and notifications), and install the free ABC 33/40 Weather app.
*Know the safe place in your house, and in that safe place have helmets for everyone. Bicycle helmets and batting helmets work well. We also recommend portable air horns and hard soled shoes for everyone.
*If you live in an apartment complex, you can’t be above the first level. Shelter with a friend on the ground level, or ask management if they can open the clubhouse during a tornado warning.
*If you live in a mobile home, you can’t stay there during a tornado warning. Know the location of the nearest shelter, or business that is open 24/7. Know how to get there quickly.
BE A HERO: You can help us. Tell your friends, neighbors, and relatives about the threat, and what they need to do to get ready. And, if they fall in a tornado warning polygon, call them or text them to let them know about the threat. You are our most valuable resource in spreading the word!
Many of you have anxiety about severe weather, especially those that have gone through tornadoes or other kinds of violent weather. Have comfort knowing that even on the biggest severe weather days, odds of any one home being hit by a tornado are very low. But, you have to pay attention and be prepared. We will get through the day together.
FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The sky becomes partly sunny Friday as a slot of dry air works into the state. Showers, and maybe a few thunderstorms return Friday night as the front over South Alabama begins to lift northward as a warm front.. some of those storms could produce small hail and gusty winds.
Saturday will be warm and dry for the southern half of the state, but showers remain possible for North Alabama. Temperatures will likely reach the low 80s Saturday afternoon. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with some rain at times as the front gets a push southward. The high Sunday will be in the 70s.
NEXT WEEK: Confidence is not especially high in the forecast with varying model solutions… the latest data suggests Monday will be dry, followed by a chance of showers Tuesday, and another wet period Wednesday night or Thursday. For now we are not expecting severe weather issues next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
ON THIS DATE IN 1975: “The Governor’s Tornado” hop-scotched a 13-mile path across the western part of Atlanta, GA during the early morning hours, causing considerable damage to the Governor’s mansion. Hundreds of expensive homes, businesses and apartment complexes were damaged. Total losses were estimated at $56 million. Three people lost their lives, and the F3 tornado injured another 152.
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