PTC16/NESTOR TO APPROACH FLORIDA PANHANDLE ON FRIDAY; SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE MONDAY… Talk about an active weather pattern! We are tracking Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 this evening that will likely become Tropical Storm Nestor in the hours ahead. PTC16/Nestor will likely be nothing more than heavy rain at times for our local area in south Alabama and northwest Florida. We’re also looking ahead to Monday when we could have the potential for isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, and hail in strong to severe thunderstorms out ahead of a strong cold front slated to move by early next week. Join me for a look at all the details in this special live video.
7PM THURSDAY ADVISORY… Maximum winds are at 40mph, meaning the system will take the name “Nestor” once a low-level circulation center forms. Further strengthening is anticipated in the hours ahead and PTC16/Nestor will likely be packing maximum sustained winds of 50-60 mph once it makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle late Friday or Saturday. 23.3°N 94.6°W is where the center of circulation is located as of 7PM Thursday evening. That is 525 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana. Movement of the storm is to the northeast at 9 mph. The system is expected to rapidly move toward the northern Gulf Coast in the hours ahead.
TROPICAL STORM ACTIVITY CANCELLATIONS… The superintendent of Baldwin County Schools sent out an email about an hour ago announcing that all Baldwin County Schools football games have been postponed from Friday Night to Saturday. Please consult with your local school about game start time specifics on Saturday. Escambia County, Florida Schools have also cancelled several of their respective schools’ football games. Santa Rosa County Schools has cancelled all after school activities for Friday.
THURSDAY EVENING DISCUSSION ABOUT LOCAL IMPACTS… Heavy rain will become increasingly likely on Friday afternoon and evening, particularly across coastal counties. Rain will spread inland throughout the evening. There is some uncertainty regarding the timing of how quickly rain will move inland. This, obviously, has big ramifications for the high school football games that are scheduled for Friday evening. The good news is we’re not expecting tornadoes or high winds in our local area on Friday evening. There is a high chance that the center of PTC16/Nestor remains to the southeast of our local area as it approaches the Florida Panhandle on Friday, meaning the more volatile east side of the system would remain to our east. Thus, confidence is high that tornadoes and high winds won’t be an issue for our area unless significant forecast track changes happen. That is not expected to happen at this time. Gusty (30-50 mph) winds will be possible at the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches Friday evening into Saturday. Wind impacts are not expected across inland areas at this time, but there will be a breeze from the east on Friday into Saturday. Confidence is high that rain amounts will be highest south and east of Interstate 65 on Friday into Saturday where 2-3” of rain in total could happen. This is a GOOD thing as this will help to alleviate drought conditions.
SATURDAY EVENING INTO SUNDAY: BRIEF BREAK FROM ACTIVE WEATHER… As Nestor moves to the northeast and away from our local area on Saturday, clouds will probably hang tough for much of the day due to the wind out of the north. Sunday will likely be mostly sunny. Another period of active weather will likely happen on Monday.
SEVERE WEATHER EVENT POSSIBLE MONDAY… This is totally separate from the tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico! The Storm Prediction Center has outlined much of Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Louisiana, and northwest Florida in their Level 2 (out of 5) risk zone valid for Monday, October 21. This means that isolated severe storms, including a few tornadoes, will become possible Monday ahead of an advancing strong cold front. The entirety of south Alabama and northwest Florida is included in this risk zone, meaning now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for this severe weather potential AND the peak of our secondary severe weather season (which typically begins around November 1 and lasts through December). We need to get through the tropical storm on Friday into Saturday before we really start focusing on this event, but I want you to have an early “heads up” and be thinking about where you’ll be on Monday in case tornadoes become more likely.
MODEL AGREEMENT IS NOTABLY HIGH… This is a severe weather risk that the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has outlooked five days out, meaning model agreement is high and confidence is growing that we will have at least isolated severe storms. We note that early indications point to the potential for all severe weather hazards (isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, and perhaps large hail in the more discrete, isolated storms). SPC even notes the potential for supercell thunderstorm development in their discussion today. All of this should be a reminder that we need to keep close tabs on this event as it approaches. I’ll be working this weekend to bring you the very latest in the RedZone Weather app.
TELL FRIENDS TO BE INFORMED… We all have friends and family members (even yours truly!) that aren’t as “weather aware” as some of us. Especially as we get closer to this first potentially significant severe weather potential of our fall season, please join me in trying to help get the word out about the potential for severe weather, including tornadoes. This is the type of messaging we really want to push during the upcoming year: MOST folks are able to get tornado warnings, but a big chunk of folks that get the warnings don’t do anything about them. We encourage everyone to take proper tornado warning precautions if your area goes under a tornado warning.
APP ALERTS… Be sure to download the free RedZone Weather app (redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download) and set up your customized alerts. Once you have the RZW app downloaded to your iOS or Android device, visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner), then tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the specific alerts you would like to receive. We have a solution for everyone – folks that want a lot of information and folks that may only want the important, rare alerts. Check out details in the Alerts tab today!
My next full forecast video will be posted by 7:15AM on Friday. In the meantime, be sure to check with me in the RedZone Weather app for updates tonight and early in the morning. Have a great Thursday evening!