7:18PM January 6, 2020

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER THIS WEEKEND… All of Alabama and northwest Florida will have a risk of strong to severe storms potentially capable of producing tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, flash flooding, and large hail on Saturday. The risk will evolve, and potentially be even more significant, to our west in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and east Texas on Friday. I have seen a LOT of good information and quite a bit of bad information circulating on social media today about this severe weather risk. This post is designed to be as clear as possible as to where we stand in the process leading up to Saturday. Questions and answers are below. If you have a question not listed below, feel free to comment or send me a message!

Who is getting the bad weather and when? ALL cities, towns, and land areas in the State of Alabama and northwest Florida have at least some risk of severe weather on SATURDAY.

Will my specific town have a significant risk of tornadoes? It is too early to know. We’ll really start getting into those details Wednesday night into Thursday. There is a possibility that the tornado risk will increase, decrease, or remain in the “Level 2 risk” suggesting at least some chance of tornadoes.

It’s “just” a Level 2 (out of 5) though, right? Yes, for now. More often than not, when you get a risk this far out, outlook upgrades and refinements are necessary in future forecasts. That is not ALWAYS the case, but it is the norm in this situation.

Will this be a tornado outbreak? It is too early to know. That is a possibility, but it is also a possibility most areas will just have some rain. Still way too early to know specific hazards and the potential magnitude and coverage of those hazards.

Isn’t it unusual to be advertising a risk of severe weather this far out? Yes, it is uncommon to have a severe weather risk zone in place 5-7 days out. Model guidance has been quite consistent in suggesting the potential for severe storms, thus the early mentions and advance notice are warranted.

Should I be panicking or stressing badly at this point? No. I’m not worried about this potential right now and you should not be either. I’m AWARE of the potential and I want each of you to be aware of it, but I’m not worried or nervous. I am notorious for losing sleep because we take our tornado warning commitment seriously around here, and I can assure you I’m not losing sleep over this just yet. We encourage everyone to check back for updates in the days ahead as we get more facts and details about the severe weather potential.

What actions should I be taking right now? The good news is we have nice weather upcoming through Thursday, thus we all have time to get ready for however this severe weather potential manifests, whether it is a big deal or ends up being not a big deal. We encourage everyone to MAKE A PLAN and implement it when we have severe weather issues. Know where you would go if a tornado warning is issued for your location. Research proves time and time again that folks with a PLAN are more likely to survive tornadoes and other hazardous weather. Why? Because there is barely any time in a tornado warning to be making a plan. The other two things I would suggest doing now: Make sure you have multiple ways to get urgent weather warnings on Saturday (check NOAA Weather Radio batteries, cell phone chargers, etc.) AND check back for updates throughout the week ahead of this severe weather potential.

How can I help get the word out about this severe weather potential? Tag a person who may be less “weather aware” than you to at least put this potential in their mind as we approach Saturday.

This post was inspired by our friends at NWS Birmingham, who did a similar post for central Alabama here.

APP ALERTS… Many consistent updates will be posted over the next few days in the RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you’d like to receive from me. Everyone should toggle ON Medium-Level Alerts. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.

My next forecast video will be posted by 7:15AM on Tuesday. See you then!

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