2:00PM June 28, 2018

STORMS LIKELY LATER THIS EVENING… I am closely monitoring a developing mesoscale convective system (MCS) across the northern part of Alabama that will slide southward across the state over the next 6-8 hours. Other than a few tiny showers in northwest Monroe County, south Alabama and northwest Florida remain without rain/storms as of 1:45PM. The bigger storms to our north will approach our northern counties this evening.

1:45PM Satellite/Radar Composite

Above, you see the severe storms in the northeastern part of Alabama that have prompted numerous severe thunderstorm warnings. We note, as of 1:45PM, that a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for all parts of Cullman, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, St. Clair, and Calhoun counties. NWS Birmingham has, in the last few minutes, expanded the severe thunderstorm watch to now include all of Jefferson, Shelby, and Walker counties. This means that this powerful line of storms will likely move through the Birmingham metro area within an hour or so.

The concern is that this complex of storms (MCS) will continue to dive southward in the hours ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have several reports of trees down across central Alabama in the hours ahead if this system holds its strength. Below is the convective outlook issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Much of the eastern fringe of our area is included in the Level 2 (out of 5) slight risk zone, while many of us are in the Level 1 marginal risk area.

SPC Convective Outlook: This Evening

While storms will likely be weakening as they move across our area, I would closely monitor the progress of these storms, especially if you’re in Choctaw, Washington, Clarke, Marengo, Wilcox, Monroe, Butler, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, or Escambia (AL) counties. Inland areas have a slightly higher chance of seeing potentially damaging wind gusts in the stronger storms.

There’s decent model agreement that storms will be approaching south Alabama and northwest Florida this evening. Below, see two model views valid at the same time (8PM) this evening. Timing and placement can be off, as these are models and not a forecast. The big takeaway from the following two model views is that confidence is pretty high that we will be dealing with thunderstorms this evening between 6 and 9PM capable of potentially damaging wind gusts. Today is not a tornado risk day, but damaging winds are knocking down trees and producing hail in northeast Alabama right now.

HRRR Model: Projected Radar at 8PM CDT

3km NAM: Projected Radar at 8PM CDT

HIGH LEVEL ALERT TEST… We are scheduled to have our first-ever High Level Alert test in the RedZone Weather app this evening at 8PM. For now, the test will go ahead as planned. However, there is a chance I’ll be forced to cancel the test if these storms remain strong and push close/into our local area as we may be utilizing alerts for a real event. I’ll keep you posted about this. A final decision will be made by 7PM.

I’ll have radar updates as needed here in the RZWeather app and on rzweather.com over the next few hours.

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