SEVERE WEATHER RISK STILL NOT OVER; LEVEL 3 RISK ADDED… Updated fatality/injury info added below. The risk of strong to severe storms is not over quite yet for any part of south Alabama or northwest Florida. The cold front that will sweep through our area later today and end our severe weather risk has stalled over eastern Mississippi. Until the cold front passes across our region, I cannot give anyone an “all clear” just yet. The entirety of south Alabama and northwest Florida remains involved in a Tornado Watch valid until Noon. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has expanded their Level 3 (out of 5) enhanced risk zone valid for today to include the eastern part of our region, southeast Alabama, much of Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, South Carolina and part of North Carolina. SPC is particularly concerned about a growing risk of damaging straight line winds and a strong tornado or two in parts of southern Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and South Carolina. If you know someone traveling to the east today, make sure they’re aware of this heightened severe weather potential. The good news for us is our entire area should be in the all clear zone by Noon or so. Let’s look at your forecast details.
HAPPENING NOW AS OF 7AM… Numerous small showers continue to move northeast across our region as of 7AM. Some heavier rain is happening across parts of Clarke County. The storms currently situated over southeast Mississippi will move into our region over the next 1-3 hours. This line of storms is basically right along the cold front, thus once the main line of storms moves through your location, that is when you get an all clear. Supercell composite and significant tornado parameter values are elevated (STP is between 3 and 4 – anything over 1 is concerning). These two atmospheric parameters tell us that the atmosphere remains quite volatile and ready to support storm formation. Storms will also be moving through a very moist, humid air mass that is conducive for extremely heavy rainfall at times. This means that flash flooding will be a concern until rain exits the area later today.
FATALITY & INJURY DUE TO LIKELY TORNADO… We have sad news to report this morning out of Marengo County, Alabama near the Old Spring Hill community. Two manufactured homes were destroyed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 43 and Marengo County Road 54, south of Demopolis. This killed one person and injured another. NWS Birmingham will be dispatching a survey crew out to determine whether this was caused by a tornado or damaging straight line winds. Regardless, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the person that was killed.
LEVEL 3 RISK… Technically, the eastern part of our region is included in the Level 3 (out of 5) enhanced risk zone. This means that numerous severe storms are likely in this Level 3 zone. While most times I would be typing details at length about this, the truth of the matter is storms are already ongoing and are simply moving into a better environment for storm formation. Regardless, we note that the following communities in Alabama and northwest Florida are in this enhanced risk zone: Brewton, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Luverne, Troy, Eufaula, Dothan, Enterprise, Elba, Ozark, Geneva, Samson, Daleville, Fort Rucker, Abbeville, Pensacola, Milton, Pace, Munson, Jay, Berrydale, Baker, Laurel Hill, Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre, Seaside, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, Marianna, Wewahitchka, Bonifay, Ponce de Leon, Freeport, Miramar Beach, and surrounding areas.
TORNADO WATCH CONTINUES TILL NOON… All of south Alabama and northwest Florida remains involved in a Tornado Watch valid until Noon. This includes all parts of Clarke, Washington, Monroe, Conecuh, Butler, Covington, Escambia (AL), Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties. We note all of southeast Alabama and much of the Florida Panhandle region is also involved in this Tornado Watch. Please have a way to get the warnings and take action if a tornado warning is required for your area.
POTENTIAL HAZARDS THROUGH NOON… The main concern in the short term (now through 9AM) will be damaging straight line wind gusts in the stronger storms. Brief tornadoes will also be a concern. in addition to the elevated risk of damaging winds, the tornado risk also may edge up ever so slightly after 9AM. Keep in mind that this enhanced risk of tornadoes and damaging winds will happen when storms are moving into the eastern side of our region (and ultimately out of our area to the east). This means that Butler, Covington, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties will be the last counties locally “in the crosshairs” from potential tornadoes and damaging wind gusts. There also is an elevated risk of flash flooding. Rain will linger long after the severe weather risk ends.
RAIN TO LINGER INTO THE AFTERNOON & EVENING HOURS… While our severe weather risk will finally come to a complete end around Noon, heavy rain may linger into the evening hours. This rain could exacerbate ongoing flash flooding issues. Rain will clear out later this evening into tonight.
NICE FRIDAY COMING UP… After the active weather pattern, we get a nice Friday and nice weekend as a consolation prize. High temperatures Friday will be in the low-60s. Clearing skies are expected in the afternoon and evening hours. There should be a good amount of sunshine in the P.M. hours of Friday.
SUNNY, MILD WEEKEND AHEAD… Sunny skies are likely for Saturday and Sunday. High temperatures will be in the mid-60s each day with morning lows in the 40s. This is exactly where we should be, climatologically speaking, for early February. There could be a few showers after dark on Saturday, but most spots should remain dry and rain amounts will be very low where rain does happen.
SHOWERS & STORMS RETURN NEXT WEEK… Early indications point to another unsettled pattern setting up for Monday and Tuesday of the upcoming week. High temperatures will again surge into the 70s by Tuesday with a chance of showers and maybe a few thunderstorms. We’ll watch this potential over the weekend and bring you the latest in the RedZone Weather app.
APP… Many, MANY updates have been posted overnight and will continue to 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.
Have a nice Thursday!