LATEST ON SEVERE WEATHER POTENTIAL FOR UPCOMING WEEKEND… Strong to severe thunderstorms capable of producing all modes of severe weather, including a few tornadoes, will be possible Saturday into Sunday across the Deep South. We remain in somewhat of a “wait and see mode” concerning just how much atmospheric instability will be available for storms to utilize and potentially turn severe. This lack of instability/CAPE may be one factor that helps to limit the overall severe weather potential, but we’re nowhere near “out of the woods” just yet. Early model indications point to the risk being greater across north and central parts Alabama and Mississippi. Let’s look at a few Wednesday evening details…
LARGE LEVEL 2 RISK ZONE FOR SATURDAY INTO SATURDAY NIGHT… The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) continues to include nearly all of Alabama, northwest Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and western Tennessee in their Level 2 “slight” risk zone valid from 6AM on Saturday to 6AM on Sunday. This is because a strong storm system with impressive dynamics will be moving into the Midsouth region with a trailing cold front that will likely spark thunderstorms. Some of these storms are likely to be strong or severe.
SYSTEM SHIFTS EAST – LEVEL 2 RISK FOR SUNDAY… By Sunday morning, strong to severe storms may be happening across parts of Alabama, southeast Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina as the whole system continues to move eastward. SPC has all of our local area in south Alabama and northwest Florida included in their Level 2 risk for Sunday morning, meaning tornadoes and damaging winds may be happening in the stronger storms that happen during that timeframe.
TIMING DIFFERENCES AMONG MODELS… Since this event is still 2 to 3 days out, some weather model disagreements are to be expected. Indeed, that’s what we’re seeing with the ECMWF/Euro model suggesting a slightly stronger, quicker system while the American-based GFS features a slower, weaker system. Because of these differences, confidence in timing remains low for now. The best estimate of when severe storms will be most likely to happen across south Alabama and northwest Florida is 6PM Saturday to 6AM Sunday, although we note this timeframe is highly subject to change over the next few days.
RAIN SATURDAY AND SUNDAY… Rain chances are at 40-50% during the daytime hours of Saturday and in the 80-90% range for Sunday. Regardless of how our severe weather potential shapes up locally, there should be quite a bit of rain around on Sunday. New rainfall of 0.5” to 1.5” in total across the region is likely this weekend.
HAZARDS PLACEMENT… It certainly seems like the better “combination of severe weather ingredients” will set up to our north across northwest Alabama and north Mississippi. Those locales will be closer to the dynamic forcing and the area of low pressure well to our northwest. That would likely be where the greater tornado risk will also set up. It’s too early to know if this will be a primarily supercell/tornado risk or more of a squall line/QLCS risk. The tornado risk across the southern half of Alabama and northwest Florida will likely not be zero, however. Any tornadoes and severe weather seem MOST likely to occur across our inland counties (Clarke, Washington, Monroe, Conecuh, Butler, Wilcox, and Choctaw). That could change in the days ahead, but that is the estimate based on the latest model data.
LEVEL 3 RISK ZONE POSSIBLE… Don’t be surprised if we see the introduction of a Level 3 “enhanced risk” zone in the days ahead, especially for parts of northern Mississippi, northwest Alabama, western Tennessee, and eastern Arkansas. These are the places that will likely have the higher severe weather risk this weekend.
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