March 4, 2024

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Weather News & Forecast

Severe Storms Possible Friday; Bitter Cold Next Week

3 min read

QUIET THROUGH TOMORROW: Alabama’s weather will be dry today and tomorrow with a partly to mostly sunny sky; the high today will range from the upper 40s across North Alabama to the low to mid 50s over the southern counties of the state. Tomorrow will be warmer, with 50s for North Alabama, and 60s to the south.

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE FRIDAY: Another high impact event is ahead for Alabama on Friday as a dynamic storm system will bring the threat of severe thunderstorms statewide.

SPC has defined an “enhanced risk” (level 3/5) for much of East and Southeast Alabama… a “slight risk” (level 2/5) extends as far north as Winfield, Oneonta, and Gadsden, and the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama is in a “marginal risk” (level 1/5).

The biggest question involves the amount of instability involved. For now it looks like there will be a narrow tongue of unstable air surging northward, and it will be sufficient for severe thunderstorm potential. And, as opposed to a large stratiform rain mass like we saw Monday night, thunderstorms will be scattered and discrete in nature for this system.

This will be a daytime event; the risk begins in West Alabama around 8-9 a.m…. and will end over the eastern counties around 4-5 p.m.

Thunderstorms on Friday will be capable of producing damaging winds and few tornadoes. There is concern that this environment may support and maintain discrete supercell development with a risk for strong tornadoes, especially in the “enhanced risk” area across East and Southeast Alabama. As always, you will need to have a reliable way of hearing warnings (NEVER an outdoor siren), and knowledge of your safe place. If you live in a mobile home, know the location of the nearest shelter, how to get there quickly, and have transportation available.

Gradient winds (non-thunderstorm) will gust to 30/35 mph, not as high as what we experienced with the system Monday night. Rain amounts should be under one inch with storms moving quickly, and being more scattered in nature.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather will be cold and dry over the weekend; morning lows will be mostly in the 20s. The high Saturday will range from the 40s over North Alabama, to the low to mid 50s for the southern counties of the state. Highs should be in the 50s statewide Sunday.

ARCTIC BLAST: Much colder air will enter Alabama Monday, and a disturbance will bring the chance of a cold rain, or maybe even some “wintry precipitation”, mostly in the form of freezing rain or sleet. We continue to stress it is simply too early to know if there will be any impact, and there is a chance we will just see a few periods of cold rain. When we get Friday’s system out of here, we can focus on Monday and be much more specific with a higher confidence forecast.

The most important message for next week is that the coldest air of the season will roll into the Deep South Monday night. By Tuesday morning, lows will be in the 10-15 degree range over the northern half of the state, with upper teens all the way down to Mobile and the I-10 corridor. The northern half of the state will stay below freezing all day Tuesday, and we drop into the teens again Wednesday morning.

This will be similar to the cold wave we experienced in late December 2022. Hard freeze warnings will be required; make plans now. See the video briefing for maps, graphics, and more details.

ON THIS DATE IN 1975: At least 13 tornadoes touched down across Alabama, including an F3 in St. Clair County that hit Pell City.

ON THIS DATE IN 2011: Snow covered much of North Alabama, north of I-20. Snow totals across the Tennessee Valley were in the 5-9 inch range.

Look for the next video briefing here by 3:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

James Spann

2024-01-10 11:50:26

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