WEEKEND WASHOUT AHEAD AS LIKELY TROPICAL STORM MOVES NORTH… Heavy rain is likely throughout the weekend and into early next week as what will likely end up being a tropical storm moves north into or near south Alabama and northwest Florida. 6 to 12 inches (that’s a FOOT) of rainfall could happen in/near coastal areas through Tuesday. That would set up a potentially major flooding/flash flooding situation that could linger for a few days depending on the track of the tropical storm.
MODEL DISAGREEMENT LOOMS… Unfortunately, until this system emerges over the southern Gulf of Mexico, we won’t have clear information on exactly where the center of the storm will likely end up. It may not matter that much, however, as a big plume of tropical moisture keeps rain chances near 90-100% this weekend into Monday. There is still considerable model disagreement on where the system moves. The Euro (ECMWF) and other models continue to indicate a more westerly track that would put our area on the unstable eastern flank of the storm, while the Global Forecast System (GFS) continues to have the Florida Peninsula in the crosshairs. Regardless of where the center of circulation tracks AND regardless of if this system actually becomes a named storm, there will be a substantial flood threat for south Alabama and northwest Florida.
The following information has not changed that much from last evening. We’ll have further updates today here in the RedZone Weather app and a comprehensive update later this evening here on Facebook and here in the app.
FLOODING LIKELY SUNDAY INTO MONDAY… One thing has become quite clear today, and this section has HIGH confidence. A significant, potentially major, flash flooding/flooding event will be possible in the latter half of the weekend into Memorial Day and early next week. The latest guidance from the local weather service office indicates that 6 to 12 inches of rainfall will be possible across Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia (AL), Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties. Obviously, with that much rain, significant flooding of creeks and rivers will become likely. Keep in mind, these rain totals are for the weekend into early next week and do NOT take into account the heavy rain we’ve had/will have in spots today, tomorrow, or Friday.
IMPORTANT NOTE… It is telling that our local NWS office is issuing a forecast like this approximately 3-4 days out. This could end up being a very, very significant, *potentially high impact* flooding event. If you live in a flood prone area, you need to have a plan in place BEFORE this event starts this weekend. Know where you’re going and what you’re going to do if waters rise in your location. Businesses in flood zones should keep close tabs on this forecast in the days ahead (I’m looking at you, Brewton, Flomaton, and Century).
MEMORIAL DAY/VACATION WASHOUT… Saturday could be quite wet, but there is a growing probability that Sunday and Monday could be “all day washout” type days for much of south Alabama and northwest Florida. I empathize with beach goers and beach business owners, as Memorial Day is typically “summer kickoff” when so many people flock to the beautiful Alabama and NW Florida beaches. Unfortunately, this Memorial Day weekend looks lacking in terms of sunny, “beach weather.” Wish I had better news!
TORNADO POTENTIAL… Track variability will determine a lot about our tornado potential for the upcoming days. Based on the latest model guidance and forecast guidance from the Weather Prediction Center, the risk of tornadoes will likely increase late Saturday into Sunday and remain elevated through Monday or Tuesday. This is assuming the area of low pressure/center of circulation tracks to our west, putting our area on the more unstable east side with the warm, southerly flow from the Gulf. Confidence in the tornado potential remains LOW, for now. The big takeaway is severe weather/tornadoes will be possible this weekend into early next week. Please check back with me tomorrow and in the days ahead for more info about this specific risk.
HIGH WIND POTENTIAL… Regardless of this system becomes a tropical storm, high wind impacts should remain limited across our region. Maximum sustained winds will likely peak in the 40-50mph range when the system approaches our area. This means that while gusty winds will be likely across our area, high winds (35+ mph) likely would not be an issue outside of the immediate beach zones. Land friction helps inland areas out quite a bit in situations like this. Confidence in this specific risk is medium, but growing.
DON’T MISS THE IMPACTS… Again, this system has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm over the next 4-5 days. It will take the name “Alberto” if it becomes a designated tropical storm. EVEN IF the system remains an open area of low pressure as it moves north across the Gulf of Mexico, impacts are expected across our region. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because it doesn’t have a name, it’s not a big deal. It is a potentially high impact big deal, especially in terms of heavy rain/flash flooding.
SPAGHETTI PLOTS? AVOID… Inevitably, you will see “spaghetti plots” floating around social media over the next few days. Just like last year, these model plots will show “tracks” all over the Gulf and all over the board. Take these images with a grain of salt. The alarmist loons of social media will point to ONE MODEL PLOT and take it entirely out of proportion to fit their fear-mongering agenda. If you see a post with scant details from a “Location X Weather Center” please refrain from sharing it. Generally, unless someone puts their real name or is a known, reputable source of info, it’s questionable info. I’ve seen it time and time again over the last few days.
APP… I’ve probably driven this point in the ground, but I’ll continue to do so as we have many new folks reading our content. Thanks for your patience seeing this over and over. If you haven’t already, be sure to download our free RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Once you have the app on your iPhone or Android phone, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the big, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the specific alerts you’d like to get from me. I manually type and send all alerts. Nothing automated, as of now.
More updates will be available in the RedZone Weather app over the next few hours. I’ll have another detailed update later this evening. Enjoy your Thursday & let me know if you have questions.