TORNADO OUTBREAK POSSIBLE EARLY NEXT WEEK ACROSS PORTIONS OF DEEP SOUTH… There is a growing chance that there could be a significant round of severe weather early next week across portions of Mississippi and central & northern Alabama. The latest model runs, in addition to the experts at the Storm Prediction Center and local National Weather Service offices, are all sounding the alarm on a potential tornado outbreak that may set up across portions of Mississippi and the northern half of Alabama. There is a chance that significant, long track tornadoes may happen Monday into Tuesday across those areas. For south Alabama and northwest Florida, the severe weather risk seems a bit lower at this point, but this will definitely be something to monitor as we go through the weekend. Note that there is still 3 days between now and this potential event so forecast refinements and changes may be necessary. Be sure to check back with me this weekend for the latest. Let’s talk about the details we do know as of now…
GREATEST CONCERN NORTH OF HIGHWAY 80… If you’re in Alabama, the greatest chance of severe weather (based on the latest guidance) will be near and north of U.S. Highway 80. This means that places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Gadsden, Jasper, Cullman, Hamilton, Huntsville, Muscle Shoals, Alexander City, Marion, Livingston, Sylacauga, Oneonta, Centre, Fort Payne, Double Springs, Decatur, and surrounding areas will have the potential for a significant round of severe weather.
LONG TRACK TORNADOES POSSIBLE… We will be able to get much more specific about this in the days ahead as more model data pours in, but you should know there is a growing potential for a few long track, significant tornadoes across the northern half of Alabama. There is no way to know specifically when/if and where these will occur just yet, but environmental parameters support the potential for a few big tornadoes.
SOUTH ALABAMA & NW FLORIDA… The severe weather potential for our local coverage area in south Alabama and northwest Florida will be lower than areas to our north and west, but it won’t be zero most likely. The current guidance supports a weakening line of strong to severe thunderstorms moving through on Tuesday morning. This means there will be at least some potential of damaging straight line winds and isolated tornadoes, especially across the northwestern corner of our local area (Clarke, Monroe, Washington counties and areas back to the northwest). Specifics will come into focus over the next day or so.
WHAT IS CAUSING THIS POTENTIAL… An area of low pressure will develop across the lower Mississippi valley region, lifting quickly to the northeast. Behind this area of low pressure to the south, a cold front will develop and move to the southeast. The warm sector will be out ahead of the cold front, where dewpoint values could be in the upper-60s and near 70. This means that the atmosphere is very moist and supportive of severe storms. In addition to plentiful Gulf moisture, there will be strong winds in the upper part of the atmosphere at the base of a digging, negatively-tilted trough. All of these “symptoms” point to a significant round of severe weather setting up for much of the Deep South on Monday into Tuesday.
HAVE A PLAN… Now is the time to review your tornado safety plan that we preach constantly throughout the year to school kids, civic clubs, and pretty much anyone that will listen. When a tornado warning is issued, we encourage you to get to the lowest floor of a well-built, site-built structure in a small, interior room near the center of the structure. This typically means a hallway, closet, or bathroom with no windows. Mobile homes and vehicles are generally not safe during tornadoes. Those are two of the places you absolutely should NOT be during a tornado warning. Everyone should have a helmet or something sturdy to protect your head from flying debris. It looks funny, yes, but they truly are LIFE-saving! Have a way to get the warnings and then DO SOMETHING about it when the warning is issued. So many people get the warnings these days and don’t take any action. That’s a problem. TAKE ACTION when the warning is issued.
APP ALERTS… Thank you so much to the thousands of people who have downloaded and regularly use our free RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Once you have the RZW app downloaded, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner of the app) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you want to receive straight from me.
I’ll have more updates this weekend about this potential round of significant severe storms. Be sure to check with me in the RedZone Weather app for the very latest. Have a nice Friday evening!