SEVERE STORMS INCREASINGLY LIKELY ON SATURDAY; LEVEL 3 RISK… There remains a growing, significant risk of severe thunderstorms on Saturday across Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of northwest Florida and east Louisiana. These storms may produce several tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, hail, and flash flooding. While many small-scale, specific details remain to be determined, the overall model signals in the guidance continue to “firm up” and indicate a higher confidence that a an outbreak of severe weather may happen. Further outlook upgrades will be possible in the days ahead and if trends continue, I would not be surprised to see a Level 4 risk be needed due to a significant tornado risk setting up. The good news in this situation is that we have PLENTY of time to prepare for whatever this event ends up being, whether it is a non-impactful rain event or a significant tornado outbreak. Just to give you some idea of the amount of uncertainty we are dealing with this far out, BOTH of those scenarios are still very much on the table and it’s impossible to know the magnitude of the event just yet! Odds are increasing, however, that severe weather will be likely. Let’s look at some important details this evening.
TORNADO RISK HIGHEST INLAND MOST LIKELY… It remains too early to know the specifics of where the tornado risk will be highest as we go into Saturday. The following is HIGHLY subject to change and revision over the next few days! The best information on this I can give as of Tuesday night is: It seems like the tornado risk across our local area will be highest across parts of Washington, Clarke, Choctaw, Wilcox, Marengo, Monroe, and Butler counties in Alabama and points north in west-central Alabama. There still will be a tornado risk farther south (including northwest Florida) and closer to the coast, but model trends point to the highest tornado risk happening across inland areas of Alabama and Mississippi. This can and will change so please be sure to check back with me for updates later in the week.
SEVERE WEATHER TIMING & INFO ABOUT THE UPCOMING RAIN… Wednesday and Thursday will almost certainly be dry with no significant weather issues other than dense areas of fog in the morning hours being possible on Thursday. Rain, in the form of small showers, will become possible Thursday evening into Friday morning. Rain coverage will increase throughout the day on Friday. There could be a few general thunderstorms as early as Friday afternoon and evening. We will be watching a developing severe weather risk to our east across parts of east Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and west Mississippi on Friday. There is a possibility of a few stronger storms on Friday evening into very early Saturday morning. The core of the severe weather risk will happen on SATURDAY across Alabama and northwest Florida. 3AM Saturday to 3PM Saturday is the 12 hour window in which severe weather seems most likely to happen. That is valid as of Tuesday night and highly subject to change based on more forecast data coming in over the next few days. Again, be sure to check back with me for changes and details on this in the days ahead.
NOTE ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC RISK LEVEL NUMBER & COLOR… The Storm Prediction Center issues convective outlooks each day (up to 7 days out) to communicate potential hazards that may affect a given area. I have noticed that, for whatever reason, people tend to think that if you’re not involved in Level 3, 4, or 5 risk zone, you’re somehow in the clear. That is NOT the case. Just to prove this point, the Century-Flomaton EF3 tornado (considered a very strong/significant tornado!) happened on a Level 2 (out of 5) yellow/slight risk day on February 15, 2016. I encourage everyone to not get so caught up in the risk level and number that we forget about potential IMPACTS, in that we have a potentially significant, developing tornado risk. YES, the risk is higher in the higher number risk zones. NO, the risk is not zero or anywhere close to zero in the lower risk zones. The “oh I’m just in a yellow/Level 2 risk zone” comments are maddening for me. That’s still a risk. We ALL will have a risk of some sort on Saturday.
HIGH LEVEL ALERT TEST ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON… We will have a High-Level Alert Test TOMORROW, on Wednesday (January 8, 2020) at 1PM CST, in the RedZone Weather app. You should receive a push notification at 1PM on Wednesday if you have the RedZone Weather app installed on your iOS or Android device AND you have allowed the app to send push notifications. We test the High-Level Alert system once per quarter at 1PM on the first Wednesday (excluding federal holidays) of January, April, July, and October. The first Wednesday of January 2020 was New Year’s Day, thus the test will be this Wednesday.
APP… If you haven’t already, be sure to download the free RedZone Weather app to keep up with all the latest information on the world of weather in south Alabama and northwest Florida. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Once you have the app downloaded to your iOS or Android device, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner) and tap the large, yellow Alert Settings button to customize the alerts you would like to receive straight from me.
THANKFUL FOR YOUR SERVICE… I would be remiss this evening if I didn’t offer a message of resounding support for our U.S. troops in Iraq and around the world this evening. We have many military folks at our local bases (Eglin, Whiting Field, NAS Pensacola, others) that watch and read our coverage. May God continue to bless the United States of America and our all of our brave men and women in uniform. Thank you for your service to our nation!
My next detailed forecast video will be posted by 7:15AM on Wednesday morning. We will dive into the graphics and look at details on the latest information about the upcoming weekend severe weather risk. Let me know if you have questions. See you then!