HEAVY RAIN & STRONG STORMS POSSIBLE THRU FRIDAY MORNING… Scattered strong to severe storms will be possible overnight into Friday morning, including a risk of damaging winds and a few tornadoes. The confidence factor in this scenario has become lower, however, as storms have failed to fire up to our west. Rain is happening in all of our 12 local counties on this New Year’s Eve (at the time I am producing this update around 7:45PM) with heavier rain expected to begin over the next few hours. Much of our area remains involved in the Level 2 (out of 5) severe weather risk, meaning scattered storms may become severe at times overnight. The Storm Prediction Center notes, however, that there is a real chance storms may not materialize as expected. While this is definitely good news, we still need to watch trends over the next few hours. Please have a way to get warnings overnight. Your Thursday evening forecast details are below.
LEVEL 2 (OUT OF 5) RISK FOR LOCAL AREA… The Storm Prediction Center took out the Level 3 risk that was in place for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Other than one tornado warning earlier, today has been remarkably quiet despite favorable atmospheric parameters that could have supported a few tornadoes to our west. Could this trend continue and this event be ultimately a bust? Yes, that is one possibility, however, it is FAR too early to assume that scenario will happen here. We must remain on guard for the next several hours. Things can change quickly and instead of a fairly quiet day, you can get many warnings start happening at once. We’re not out of the woods just yet, but the trends to our west have been encouraging!
TECHNICAL EXPLANATION OF WHY STORMS HAVEN’T FIRED UP SO FAR… Dewpoints are sufficient to support a few strong to severe storms near the coast, but so far we have not seen intense storms develop. Why? There is a dry slot of air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere keeping everything “in check” right now. This dry air slot was noticed earlier from a weather balloon launched from the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana. In addition, instability values remain meager at best. This is good news as this atmospheric instability serves as fuel for thunderstorms. Generally speaking, if you don’t have enough CAPE to support many general thunderstorms, you can’t really get storms to “go severe.” The Storm Prediction Center notes that the Level 2 (out of 5) risk currently in place for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and northwest Florida is a low confidence situation.
WHAT TO EXPECT – NEXT FEW HOURS… Rain is likely at times over the next 12 hours. A large mass of heavy rain is about to move onshore at the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches as of 7:45PM. This shield of rain will continue moving north over the next several hours. The local National Weather Service is noting in our in-house chat system that the low-level jet and better dynamics of this weather system will begin to be realized later this evening (after 9PM). That is when the chance of a tornado warnings being potentially needed will increase. Again, please have a way to get warnings overnight before you go to sleep. Even if only one tornado happens overnight, that’s a big deal for the folks near that one storm. Be ready, just in case we have warnings!
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!
SET UP APP ALERTS… We send quite a bit of Low-Level Alerts in our RedZone Weather app. The app is totally free for you! redzoneweather.com/app is the link where you see the download links to your respective app store for iOS and for Android devices. Once you have the app downloaded to your smartphone or tablet device, be sure to visit the Alerts tab to customize the alerts you would like to receive straight from me.
I will have ongoing updates overnight being posted in the RedZone Weather app. If or when we have tornado warnings for our local area, be sure to join me in live streaming video coverage.
Have a nice New Year’s Eve and stay safe!