SEVERE STORMS LIKELY SATURDAY P.M.
TORNADOES/DAMAGING WINDS LIKELY IN STORMS SATURDAY EVENING… This is a highly detailed, long post discussing the severe weather potential for Saturday, April 14 for Alabama and northwest Florida. There are 18 bullet points/details below. The overall potential impact from the severe storms on Saturday has not changed that much. We are expecting a strong to severe line of thunderstorms that will have the capability of producing damaging winds that could easily knock down some trees. Tornadoes will also be possible, especially over west Alabama and southeast Mississippi. A few of these tornadoes may be significant/strong. Flash flooding will also be a significant concern. You must have a way to receive warnings on Saturday! That’s the summary. Here are the details broken down by impact potential, geography of the risks, and other important notes…
The image you see above is a snapshot of projected CAPE, one ingredient that heavily contributes to severe storm formation. You can see CAPE will be highest across west Alabama and Mississippi in the P.M. hours of Saturday.
Please understand Saturday morning will be nice, partly sunny, and warm for most of us. Don’t be deceived by this… The issues are not likely until later in the day.
TORNADO RISK GREATEST ACROSS WEST ALABAMA… The Storm Prediction Center has outlined much of west Alabama and east Mississippi in their “significant severe” hatched zone in their latest convective outlook. Locally, portions of Washington, Clarke, and Choctaw counties are included, and the significant severe zone extends northward into places like Tuscaloosa, Eutaw, Livingston, Fayette, and Hamilton. Again, this tells us that these are the areas that severe weather is MOST likely to happen on Saturday afternoon and evening. We all have at least SOME tornado potential.
DAMAGING WIND THREAT… I think sometimes when we see the term “severe weather,” we automatically think “tornado.” Please understand that the damaging wind risk has been and will be the biggest concern on Saturday. Why? Because the risk for damaging winds in the stronger storms will cover a much larger area than the overall tornado risk, most likely. Take the severe thunderstorm warnings seriously on Saturday. It’s so easy to gloss over them, especially when have active tornado warnings. This will be a mean line of strong to severe storms capable of knocking over trees.
HAIL POTENTIAL… There will be at least some risk of large hail, especially across west Alabama and east Mississippi in the stronger storms. I would keep my car under a shelter if possible tomorrow.
FLASH FLOODING LIKELY… Flash Flood Watches are now in effect for many areas west of Interstate 65 in Alabama. Locally, Clarke, Washington, Choctaw, Mobile, and Wilcox counties are included in a Flash Flood Watch until late Saturday. 3-5” of rain will be possible across these counties. Flash Flood Watches extend well north into Alabama and include places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Hamilton, Demopolis, Selma, and Florence.
GEOGRAPHY OF THE RISK ZONES
UPGRADE POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT… Don’t panic if we wake up to a Level 4 risk in place for parts of west Alabama and east Mississippi where the tornado potential will be highest. I would not be shocked by that, but also wouldn’t be surprised if SPC keeps us at Level 3. I’ll bring you the latest info in the RedZone Weather app overnight. See below for more…
RISK AREA REMINDER… Let me stress that regardless of which “risk zone” you’re involved with, ALL of us across Alabama, Mississippi, and NW Florida have at least SOME risk of experiencing a strong to severe storm Saturday evening into early Sunday. Doesn’t matter where specifically you are… You have GOT to have a way to get the warnings over the next 36 hours.
LEVEL 3 RISK CONTINUES… Clearly, the greatest risk of seeing a severe storm capable of producing a tornado or damaging straight line winds will be over the western half of Alabama and southeast Mississippi on Saturday afternoon/evening. This is where the Level 3 risk is in place. Level 3 (out of 5) means that numerous scattered severe storms will be possible in the included areas.
LEVEL 3 FOR SOUTH ALABAMA… The following communities remain involved in the Level 3 “enhanced” risk area as of 8:15PM: Thomasville, Chatom, Coffeeville, Butler (city not county), Toxey, Silas, Gilbertown, Millry, Fruitdale, McIntosh, Wagerville, Leroy, Jackson, Grove Hill, Whatley, Monroeville, Beatrice, Uriah, Huxford, Excel, Frisco City, Mexia, Perdue Hill, Evergreen, Burnt Corn, Repton, Castleberry, Lenox, Range, Midway, Brewton, Atmore, Poarch, Flomaton, Mobile, Citronelle, Wilmer, Tanner Williams, Theodore, Creola, Saraland, Satsuma, Mt. Vernon, Coden, Dauphin Island, Stockton, Tensaw, Bay Minette, Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Montrose, Point Clear, Magnolia Springs, Foley, Robertsdale, Summerdale, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach, Elberta, and surrounding areas.
LEVEL 3 FOR NORTHWEST FLORIDA… The following communities remain involved in the Level 3 “enhanced” risk area as of 8:15PM: Pensacola, Milton, Pace, Gulf Breeze, Perdido Key, Pensacola Beach, Ensley, Gonzalez, Molino, Walnut Hill, Bratt, Century, Jay, Berrydale, Munson, Whiting Field, Allentown, Chumuckla, and Navarre.
LEVEL 3 FOR CENTRAL & NORTH ALABAMA… The following communities remain involved in the Level 3 “enhanced” risk area as of 8:15PM: Birmingham, Hoover, Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, Camden, Pine Hill, Linden, Sweet Water, Dixons Mills, Livingston, Marion, Centreville, Selma, Prattville, Clanton, Fayette, Jasper, Hamilton, Eutaw, Double Springs, Haleyville, Cullman, Oneonta, Leeds, Talladega, Gadsden, Boaz, Huntsville, Decatur, Moulton, Florence, Russellville, and surrounding areas.
LEVEL 2 FOR EAST ALABAMA… The severe weather risk is still present, but slightly lower for communities in in the eastern half of Alabama. Just to name a few… Greenville, Georgiana, Red Level, Straughn, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Carolina, Luverne, Brundidge, Troy, Elba, Enterprise, Geneva, Samson, Dothan, Cottonwood, Abbeville, Eufaula, Union Springs, Auburn, Valley, Montgomery, Wetumpka, Alexander City, Roanoke, Centre, and Fort Payne.
OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES
HAVE A WAY TO GET THE WARNINGS… Please have at least one way to receive weather warnings. Multiple ways to get the warnings are preferable! Most folks take tornado warnings seriously, but most do NOT take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously. Take my word for it… We need to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously on Saturday! Damaging wind gusts could be 70-80mph in the stronger storms, easily capable of knocking down trees. NOAA Weather Radio is a great way to get warnings, as are automatic weather alerting apps on smartphones that are set up properly. Saf-T-Net is a free, good one. Weather Radio by WDT is a paid option, but works great. Our free RedZone Weather app provides (non-automated) handcrafted alerts sent by me. More about that below…
REDZONE WEATHER APP… So many folks have downloaded the free RedZone Weather app over the last 24 hours. We are grateful! Here’s the important part: Be sure to go to the Alerts tab (bottom right tab in the app) then tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to go in and configure the alerts you want to receive from us. A lengthy description is provided in the Alert tab as to what each option is.
EVENT CANCELLATIONS, DRIVING, ETC… I’ve had hundreds of questions today about events, “should I cancel?”, “I’m driving from x to y. Should I not?,” etc. I can’t be super specific on these matters because people have different perspectives on if they can drive in heavy rain or not, etc. The big takeaway here is that we all need a way to get the warnings AND I would definitely have a site-built structure (and head protection) to get into quickly in case a warning is issued for my area. That’s the advice I’m giving.
HIGH RISK OF RIP CURRENTS… Rip currents are our area’s number one weather-related killer. Saturday will be a HIGH RISK rip current day for all Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. If you go out on a local beach, please stay out of the water as rip currents will be plentiful, unfortunately. Red flags will be flying at many local beaches.
NEXT VIDEO UPDATE… My next video update will be Saturday morning around 8AM. In the meantime, I’ll have plenty of updates in the RedZone Weather app and over on Twitter (@rzweather is my handle, I’d love to connect with you!) as well. Let me know if you have specific questions. Have a good evening!