Overview: There is a risk of a few strong to marginally severe thunderstorms across the entirety of south Alabama and northwest Florida later this evening (Friday, May 8, 2020).
Threat Levels & Locations: The Storm Prediction Center has much of west Alabama involved in the Level 2 (out of 5) slight severe weather risk. Northwest Florida and south central Alabama are involved in the low-end, Level 1 (out of 5) risk zone.
When: 3PM this afternoon to 3AM on Saturday is the 12 hour window when strong to severe storms are most likely to happen. 6PM to midnight is the 6 hour “core window” for strong to severe storms.
Potential Hazards: Damaging wind gusts, hail, and maybe a tornado or two. The tornado risk is low, but it is not entirely zero.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or have specific decision support needs. Below is the public, long form updated that will be posted with the morning video. Have a great weekend!
SCATTERED STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS THIS EVENING… Strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible on this Friday, primarily in the evening hours. The Storm Prediction Center has added a Level 2 (out of 5) severe weather risk for much of west Alabama, with the remainder of us across the region being involved in the lower-end, Level 1 risk. The overall risk of tornadoes today is low. It’s not completely zero, but it is low across the region. The greater concern will be damaging wind gusts in the stronger storms. Large hail, up to the size of a quarter, and lightning will also be concerns. Rain and storms will roll by tonight and be out of our area by 3AM on Saturday. Clouds will linger into Saturday and Sunday before we have an extended streak of sunny, dry, warm weather next week. Let’s look at the forecast details.
LEVEL 2 (OUT OF 5) RISK… The Storm Prediction Center has added a Level 2 (out of 5) severe weather risk for much of west Alabama on this Friday. This Level 2 risk includes Baldwin, Mobile, Clarke, Washington, Marengo, and Choctaw counties in west Alabama. These are the counties that have a slightly higher risk of strong to severe storms that will be capable of producing gusty winds and perhaps a tornado or two. A Level 2 risk means that scattered severe storms will be possible.
LEVEL 1 RISK FOR THE REST OF US… We note that all other areas (outside of the Level 2 risk mentioned above) in south Alabama and northwest Florida are involved in the low-end, Level 1 (out of 5) marginal severe weather risk. A Level 1 risk means widespread severe weather is not expected, but a brief, unruly storm that ramps up to severe levels will be possible. This Level 1 risk includes Monroe, Conecuh, Butler, Covington, Escambia (AL), Crenshaw, Wilcox, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties.
MAIN CONCERNS – GUSTY WINDS… Any storms that become strong later today into tonight will be capable of producing gusty winds that could knock down a few trees. The overall tornado risk is low, but it is not zero. The tornado risk is low enough that I would encourage folks not to stress over it today, but it is high enough that I will be close by our RedZone Weather studio in case a rogue tornado warning is needed today. That will be more of an anomaly than a trend, I would think, based on the latest model guidance. Have a way to hear tornado warnings and if you get a warning, TAKE ACTION to protect yourself.
RAIN & STORM TIMING – TODAY… While isolated showers may happen from this morning into the evening, I expect the 12 hour window for showers and thunderstorms to be from 3PM this afternoon to 3AM on Saturday. The core risk for stronger storms will be from 6PM to midnight.
RAIN MOVES OUT LATER TONIGHT; COOLER SATURDAY… Cooler air will surge in behind the cold front that is partially responsible for the rain and storms today. This cooler air will be much more stable and dry compared to the airmass out ahead of the front that will be in place this afternoon. Rain will move out at or before 4AM on Saturday, meaning the daytime hours of Saturday should be dry. High temperatures on Saturday will be around the 70 degree mark as cooler, drier air continues to filter into our region. Clouds will persist into the afternoon and evening hours despite rain being long gone to our south.
DRY, QUIET FEW DAYS TO START NEXT WEEK… Sunday will be the start of a warm, sunny, dry slew of days next week. Highs on Sunday will be around 78° with temperatures steadily increasing each afternoon through Thursday. By the time we get to the end of next week, highs will be around the 90 degree mark.
TORNADO WARNING POLICY… 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!
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.
See all the graphics and details in your Friday #rzw forecast video. Have a great weekend!