7:22PM March 3, 2020

LONG, DETAILED POST: SEVERE WEATHER RISK INCREASES SLIGHTLY FOR WEDNESDAY…  The overall risk of tornadoes and damaging winds has increased somewhat for Wednesday. The entire local area in south Alabama and northwest Florida is now involved in a Level 2 (out of 5) slight severe weather risk, meaning scattered severe storms will be possible, including the potential for a few tornadoes. In addition to the tornado risk, there also is a risk of damaging wind gusts, hail, and flash flooding. This means that all modes of severe weather will be possible on Wednesday.

LEVEL 2 (OUT OF 5) RISK FOR ALL OF LOCAL AREA… All locales in south Alabama and northwest Florida are now involved in the Level 2 (out of 5), slight severe weather risk valid for Wednesday. This means that scattered instances of strong to severe storms will be possible. Tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, and flash flooding are all concerns. This risk is in place south of a line from Butler to Camden to Fort Deposit to Eufaula. Some of the communities involved in this include: Mobile, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Fairhope, Daphne, Orange Beach, Brewton, Atmore, Flomaton, Poarch, Monroeville, Uriah, Frisco City, Excel, Mexia, Beatrice, Tunnel Springs, Evergreen, Castleberry, Repton, Range, Lenox, Owassa, Brooklyn, Johnsonville, Forest Home, Greenville, Georgiana, McKenzie, Red Level, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Pleasant Home, Straughn, Rose Hill, Thomasville, Grove Hill, Jackson, Coffeeville, Whatley, Gilbertown, Millry, Chatom, Wilmer, Prichard, Citronelle, Theodore, Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores, Foley, Loxley, Spanish Fort, Bay Minette, Walnut Hill, Molino, Myrtle Grove, Perdido Key, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Pace, Chumuckla, Jay, Berrydale, Navarre, Bagdad, Crestview, Baker, Milligan, Holt, Harold, Laurel Hill, Niceville, Troy, Elba, Enterprise, Dothan, Geneva, Abbeville, and Samson. 

TIMING – SEVERE STORMS LIKELY IN EVENING… While heavy rain will be possible intermittently thoughout the day on Wednesday, the core risk of strong to severe storms is likely to happen between 10AM and 5PM. That is the window when severe storms will be MOST likely to happen across our region. The storm mode on Wednesday may be “messy” with numerous areas of rain with storms mixed in. 

TORNADO RISK GREATEST NEAR COAST… There will be at least some risk of a tornado or two across our entire region, but clearly the greatest risk will happen across coastal counties where the airmass will be potentially a bit more unstable. This means if you are in any part of Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, or Walton counties, your tornado risk will be a just a bit higher compared to communities farther inland.

DAMAGING WINDS & HAIL ALSO POSSIBLE… Gusty winds that could down a few trees will also be possible across the region. Unlike the last few severe weather events we have had since January, Wednesday will be a day when we may have large (up to golfball size, in the most extreme cases) hail. We encourage everyone to please take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously and get sheltered if one is required for your specific location.

HEAVY RAIN & FLASH FLOODING LIKELY… There is some chance that heavy rain and flash flooding could become the lead hazard on Wednesday. NWS Mobile has just placed the entirety of our local area under a Flash Flood Watch, as 3 to 5 inches of rain is in the forecast just for Wednesday. This rainfall will amass on already saturated soil that will quickly lead to flash flooding. We lose WAY too many people each year across America due to folks attempting to drive over water-covered roadways. The phrase is, “Turn around, don’t drown.” That will almost certainly apply at times on Wednesday.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH ON WEDNESDAY… The National Weather Service has placed ALL of our local area in a Flash Flood Watch valid until 11PM on Wednesday night. This Flash Flood Watch is in effect as we could have 3 to 5 inches of rain in total Wednesday with isolated higher amounts being possible. From NWS Mobile: “Soils remain saturated in the Flash Flood Watch area. Heavy rainfall rates in a short period of time from storms that are likely to move repeatedly over the same areas sets up an increased favorability for onset of flooding of urban and low-lying areas. Additional river rises may also worsen lingering ongoing river flooding [across west Alabama].”

HAVE MULTIPLE WAYS TO GET WARNINGS WEDNESDAY… We had a massive cellular and data outage over the last few days across parts of Escambia (AL) and Conecuh counties. This underscores the need to have redundancy in your severe weather plan. Please have more than one way to get urgent weather warnings, both for this potential event today and as we go into the heart of severe weather season later this month and into April. NOAA Weather Radio is a great backup to cell phone apps and vice versa. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are also critical during severe weather events. You can visit your notification settings on your smartphone to make sure you have WEAs turned ON. These are sometimes labeled as “emergency alerts.”

TORNADO WARNING COVERAGE REMINDER… Any time there is an active tornado warning in effect for southwest Alabama or northwest Florida, we provide uninterrupted, live video coverage on Facebook Live and in the RedZone Weather app. Our detailed coverage commitment is outlined at redzoneweather.com/coverage. We are proud to cover all parts of Escambia (AL), Covington, Monroe, Conecuh, Baldwin, Mobile, Clarke, Washington, Butler, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties. If you live in any locale in those counties, be sure to tune into our coverage whenever there is an active tornado warning!

RAIN & STORMS THURSDAY MORNING… Rain will continue Wednesday night into Thursday morning. There could be a few thunderstorms around as late as Thursday morning, but the severe weather risk should be over by late Wednesday night. Model guidance has been consistent in suggesting rain will taper off midday on Thursday from west to east. 

NICE WEATHER RETURNS FRIDAY… Sunshine finally returns on Friday into Saturday and Sunday! High temperatures each day will be in the mid- to upper-60s with morning lows around 40 degrees. Unfortunately, it appears this dry streak will be short-lived as more rain is in the forecast as we go into Monday of the upcoming week.

APP ALERTS… 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.

NEXT UPDATE… My next forecast video and detailed text discussion will be posted by 7:15AM on Wednesday. Until then, I’ll have updates as needed in the RedZone Weather app. Have a nice evening!

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