6:59AM December 24, 2020

TORNADO WATCH CONTINUES; GUSTY WINDS LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON… Heavy rain is happening on this Christmas Eve morning in many spots locally as a strong cold front continues pushing across our area. A Tornado Watch that included all local counties earlier has since been trimmed back. The Tornado Watch continues until 11AM for Baldwin, Escambia (AL), Conecuh, Covington, Escambia (FL), Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties. There will be an ongoing low-end tornado risk in these counties (particularly in the northwest Florida counties) through approximately 10AM. We should be able to give the severe weather “all clear” no later than 10AM. Gusty winds behind the advancing line of storms will continue well into this afternoon and this evening. We’re also looking ahead to the arrival of Santa Claus tonight! Santa will have temperatures below freezing just after midnight. Your Thursday morning forecast details are below.

WIND ADVISORY THROUGH 5PM TODAY… Gusty winds are set to continue long after rain and storms depart later this morning. Winds will be in the 20-30 mph range at times this afternoon into the early evening hours with gusts perhaps as high as 35-40 mph. The local National Weather Service maintains a Wind Advisory for the entire region.

VERY COLD AIR MOVING IN BEHIND THE COLD FRONT… We had our technical high temperature just after midnight (60s). Now that the cold front is pushing southeast across our region, temperatures are expected to gradually fall throughout the day and continue falling tonight through daybreak tomorrow morning. Temperatures this afternoon around 2PM will be in the 40s in many spots. The brisk northwest wind will cause the air temperature to feel quite a bit colder than it actually is. Keep those thick coats and jackets handy today!

TEMPS BELOW FREEZING TONIGHT FOR SANTA… Tonight is Night 1 of 3 consecutive nights with temperatures at or below the freezing mark. Most spots will dip into the mid- to upper-20s by daybreak on Christmas morning. Wind chill values will be in the low-20s. Santa Claus will feel right at home in this Arctic air mass in place over our region! We are forecasting a lot of joy tomorrow morning, especially for the kids waking up to find what Santa has delivered.

QUITE COLD TOMORROW ON CHRISTMAS DAY… High temperatures will struggle to get out of the mid-40s on Christmas Day Friday despite full sunshine throughout the day. This is set to be our coldest Christmas Day since 1995 when we had a low temperature in the mid-20s.

HARD FREEZE CHRISTMAS NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING… Near hard freeze conditions are expected on Friday night into Saturday morning with 10-12 hours of subfreezing temperatures possible across the interior communities of southwest Alabama. If you haven’t been practicing “freeze safety,” (wrapping outdoor, exposed pipes, bringing in outside pets and plants, and checking on people who may not have adequate heating sources) NOW is the time to do those things. Friday night into Saturday morning will be the coldest night we have had in quite some time.

REBOUNDING TEMPS EARLY NEXT WEEK… High temperatures rise into the 50s on Saturday and will approach the 60 degree mark on Sunday. We finally will have temperatures above freezing in the overnight hours of Sunday into Monday when lows will likely be in the 40s.

NEXT NOTABLE CHANCE OF RAIN: WEDNESDAY… Our next cold front will approach on Wednesday of the upcoming week. There is a chance this next system could produce strong to severe storms, potentially, but it is far too early to know any specifics. It is very normal to have active weather like this multiple times in December, which is our secondary tornado season.

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 details in your Christmas Eve Thursday #rzw forecast video. Have a wonderful day!

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