12:07PM February 5, 2020

HEAVY RAIN & STORMS LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON… Numerous thunderstorms are moving in from the Gulf of Mexico on this Wednesday afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center is monitoring trends to see if a Tornado Watch may be needed in the hours ahead. For most spots across our region, this afternoon and this evening will be a heavy rain event. Flash flooding will become a concern later today into tonight if and when storms train over the same areas. The overall tornado risk over the next few hours is fairly low, but it is not zero. We need everyone to have a way to receive urgent weather warnings from now until the cold front passes through on Thursday morning! This is the first round out of the 3 distinct periods over the next 24 hours when severe weather may happen.

WHAT TO EXPECT – NEXT FEW HOURS… Heavy rain is the main concern. You don’t want to be driving in this mess if you can help it. We’ve already had multiple reports from southern Baldwin County of minor flash flooding issues. There will be an increasing risk of flash flooding across southern parts of Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia (FL), and Santa Rosa counties over the next few hours. Isolated, brief tornadoes are also possible in any of the stronger storms that can ramp up to severe levels. If and when we have tornado warnings, be sure to join us in live, streaming coverage on Facebook and in the RedZone Weather app.

The following review info from our previous forecast discussion this morning remains on target.

HAVE A WAY TO GET WARNINGS THIS EVENING, TONIGHT, AND THURSDAY MORNING… Let’s start the details by leading with the most important piece of messaging. Please have a way to get urgent weather warnings today, tonight, and into Thursday when this whole event is slated to be over when the squall line passes through. This event almost certainly will NOT be a major tornado outbreak or anything like that, but there could be a tornado or two through Thursday morning in addition to multiple areas of damaging straight line winds. Have a way to get warnings and TAKE ACTION if you get one. So many people receive the warnings these days and don’t do anything to protect themselves. Have the tornado helmets ready just in case your particular location goes under a warning.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT… The National Weather Service has opted to issue a Flash Flood Watch due to the high rain totals that are expected through Thursday evening. This Flash Flood Watch is in effect until approximately 4PM on Thursday. All parts of the following counties are included: Covington, Crenshaw, Butler, Conecuh, Monroe, Escambia (AL), Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties. Rain totals of 3 to 5 inches of rain are LIKELY in these counties with some isolated higher amounts being possible.

LEVEL 2 RISK CONTINUES… This has not changed from previous forecast discussions. The Storm Prediction Center continues to include ALL of south Alabama and northwest Florida in their Level 2 (out of 5) risk zone where scattered severe storms may happen Wednesday into Thursday. This means scattered instances of tornadoes and damaging winds may happen across our region. Have a way to get the warnings Wednesday into Thursday. DO something about it and take action to get sheltered if your particular area goes under a tornado warning. Level 2 risk (valid for Wednesday into Thursday) as of Tuesday afternoon: Mobile, Pensacola, Birmingham, Montgomery, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Georgiana, Greenville, McKenzie, Hayneville, Camden, Brewton, Atmore, Poarch, Huxford, Flomaton, Evergreen, Repton, Castleberry, Monroeville, Beatrice, Uriah, Thomasville, Grove Hill, Jackson, Coffeeville, Silas, Butler, Pennington, Livingston, McIntosh, Leroy, Citronelle, Bay Minette, Mount Vernon, Saraland, Satsuma, Prichard, Theodore, Bayou La Batre, Fort Morgan, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Foley, Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Loxley, Stockton, Century, Bratt, Walnut Hill, Molino, Gulf Breeze, Warrington, Milton, Pace, Berrydale, Jay, Navarre, Crestview, Destin, Baker, Fort Walton Beach, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Enterprise, Dothan, Troy, Geneva, Marion, Selma, and Demopolis and surrounding areas.

LULL IN THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT THIS EVENING POSSIBLE… Scattered areas of heavy rain will continue into the evening and there may be somewhat of a calmer period of time between the first batch of storms and the secondary area of storms that will likely develop near the coast.

ROUND 2: SEVERE STORMS NEAR THE COAST TONIGHT… Some of the higher-resolution, short-term models show strong to severe storms developing near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches tonight with those storms gradually lifting inland. This part of the event would happen from 8PM tonight to 1AM on Thursday. If you take the parameters at face value, there is some evidence to suggest this is when the overall tornado risk would be maximized. There are some potential limiting factors in this timeframe, however, like the decreasing instability from earlier hours. Regardless, the big takeaway is we could have a few tornadoes this evening into tonight under some scenarios. The “best case scenario” would be a “big ‘ole rain event” that blocks all the inflow and instability from the Gulf and keeps storms fairly weak.

RAIN AND STORMS OVERNIGHT… The overall risk of severe storms will lessen after 1AM tonight, but it won’t completely go away until the cold front passes through our region on Thursday in the late morning and early afternoon hours. We encourage everyone to have a way to get urgent weather warnings before you go to sleep tonight, aka you need something that will wake you up if your particular location happens to go under a tornado warning. Intermittent heavy rain is likely throughout the night and into the early morning hours.

ROUND 3: LINE OF STORMS… Thunderstorms will make their proverbial last stand on Thursday morning as a cold front slides by our region. The concern is that storms will fire up right along the frontal boundary and potentially be on the strong side. If any storms are severe on Thursday morning, they’re more likely to feature damaging straight line winds as opposed to widespread tornadoes.

RAIN TO LINGER INTO THURSDAY EVENING… Even though the severe weather risk will end much earlier in the day, there is a high chance that rain will continue into the afternoon and evening hours of Thursday. Heavy rain will be possible at times. Temperatures on Thursday afternoon will “go the wrong way” and be declining into the evening hours. Most spots will be in the 50s after the passage of the cold front.

APP… Many, MANY updates will be posted throughout the day 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. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.

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