6:58AM March 23, 2021

HEAVY RAIN LIKELY LATER TODAY; SEVERE STORMS ON THURSDAY… Heavy rain and thunderstorms are likely this evening into Wednesday ahead of a potentially significant severe weather setup on Thursday when tornadoes may again become possible. The concern UNTIL we get to Thursday, however, will be rain amounts that potentially may cause flash flooding. A Flash Flood Watch is now in effect for several local counties due to 4 to 6 inches of total rainfall ahead with isolated higher amounts being possible. Rain chances significantly increase later today. Tonight into Wednesday may be a “total washout” with heavy rain likely across our entire region for a potentially extended period of time. The severe weather risk will ramp up Thursday afternoon into the evening hours when tornadoes and damaging winds will be concerns. The Storm Prediction Center has a portion of our local area included in their Level 3 (out of 5) enhanced severe weather risk zone, with the remainder of the area being involved in the Level 2 risk zone. This means that scattered to numerous severe storms will be possible Thursday into early Friday. Many more forecast details are below.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH… Due to the high rain totals expected over the next few days, several local counties are now involved in a Flash Flood Watch valid from this evening through Friday morning. All parts of Baldwin, Mobile, Clarke, Washington, and Choctaw counties in southwest Alabama are included. 4 to 6 inches of total rainfall through the end of the week is in the forecast for these areas. NWS Mobile indicates that more local counties may be added to the Flash Flood Watch later today. From NWS Mobile: “A multi-day heavy rainfall is about to unfold across our region. The first wave will affect the watch area tonight through midday Wednesday with additional rounds of heavy rainfall thereafter through late Thursday. After the lead wave of heavy rainfall, it will be more difficult to pinpoint the exact location of subsequent excessive rainfall areas. The counties under this watch have relatively much higher chances of seeing that excessive rainfall versus not. The northern portion of the watch area was included due to the heavy rainfall and flash flooding that occurred last week. While the southern portion of the watch area did not receive as much, they are most in line to receive between 5 and 10″ of rainfall from the first wave during the first 24 hours after onset. Local amounts may be higher.”

LOW-END SEVERE WEATHER RISK TODAY & TOMORROW… There is a low-end, Level 1 (out of 5) severe weather risk valid for today and on Wednesday for parts of Mississippi and Louisiana. This low-end risk extends into far western parts of Alabama in communities closer to the Alabama-Mississippi state line. I expect most of the issues today and tomorrow to be from heavy rain and flash flooding. The tornado risk through Thursday morning remains low.

SEVERE WEATHER TIMING – THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY… This timeframe is valid for southwest Alabama and northwest Florida. Quite similar to the last severe weather event last Wednesday, the tornado risk may increase early on before transitioning to more of a damaging wind threat later in the risk timeframe. The severe weather risk will extend from 11AM Thursday to 7AM Friday with the tornado risk likely to be greatest in the afternoon hours of Thursday. The damaging wind & tornado risk will likely increase again later in the evening and into the early morning hours of Friday as a line of strong to severe storms crosses our area.

LEVEL 3 (OUT OF 5) RISK ZONE… The greatest tornado risk on Thursday into early Friday morning will likely set up across parts of west Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, and southwestern Tennessee. These are the zones where the Level 3 (out of 5) enhanced severe weather risk zone is in place. A Level 3 risk means that numerous severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, will be possible. The following locales are involved in the Level 3 risk in our local area: Thomasville, Coffeeville, Millry, Chatom, Campbell, and surrounding areas. The Level 3 risk also includes Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Butler, Demopolis, Livingston, Eutaw, Greensboro, Marion, Centreville, Hoover, Leeds, Oneonta, Cullman, Jasper, Fayette, Aliceville, Gordo, Hamilton, Muscle Shoals, Florence, Russellville, Decatur, Huntsville, Ardmore, and surrounding areas in northwest Alabama. Many places in Mississippi, including Jackson, Tupelo, Meridian, Hattiesburg, Columbus, Oxford, and Starkville are also involved in the Level 3 risk zone.

LEVEL 2 (OUT OF 5) RISK ZONE… Farther to the east, a Level 2 (out of 5) risk is in place for several local communities. A Level 2 risk means that scattered severe storms will be possible. The Level 2 risk is in place for these areas locally: Mobile, Citronelle, Mt. Vernon, Prichard, Creola, Satsuma, Saraland, Bayou La Batre, Coden, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Daphne, Spanish Fort, Bay Minette, Tensaw, Stockton, Stapleton, Loxley, Summerdale, Robertsdale, Foley, Elberta, Magnolia Springs, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Pensacola, Century, Molino, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Pace, Milton, Jay, Berrydale, Brewton, Atmore, Flomaton, Poarch, Andalusia, Opp, Florala, Carolina, Red Level, Straughn, Gantt, Laurel Hill, Crestview, Baker, Milligan, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Mary Esther, Niceville, Greenville, Georgiana, McKenzie, Evergreen, Castleberry, Repton, Lenox, Belleville, Owassa, Monroeville, Beatrice, Uriah, Perdue Hill, Megargal, Frisco City, Excel, Gainestown, McIntosh, and surrounding areas. We note that several communities to our east and northeast are also involved in the Level 2 risk: Montgomery, Auburn, Troy, Dothan, Enterprise, Geneva, Elba, Abbeville, Daleville, Prattville, Wetumpka, Alexander City, and surrounding areas.

SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS FRIDAY INTO SATURDAY & SUNDAY… Our local weather pattern will remain quite unstable through Sunday with multiple waves of rain and thunderstorms. Right now, there is no organized area of severe weather expected AFTER the Thursday into early Friday morning event when tornadoes may be possible. That means the weekend will likely feature general thunderstorms, capable of producing heavy rain, lightning, and thunder. Flash flooding concerns will likely stick around into the weekend. Storms will probably be a bit more scattered in nature Friday P.M. into Saturday, and there is a chance some spots may briefly be dry in that timeframe. Storms will likely be a bit more numerous on Sunday. High temperatures this weekend will be in the low-80s with morning lows in the mid-60s.

BETTER WEATHER NEXT WEEK… We have a long way to go between now and then, but we can look forward to better weather starting on Monday. A cold front will likely move through our region on Sunday in the evening hours. This will allow much cooler, much more stable air to move into our region. High temperatures on Monday will be in the 70s with partly cloudy skies. Tuesday and Wednesday of next week look to trend drier as well.

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 ALERTS… Now is the time, *before* we get to this severe weather potential, to set up the RedZone Weather app on your smartphone! redzoneweather.com/app is the link where you can download the iOS or Android version of the app. Once you have the app downloaded to your device, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner of the app), then tap the large, yellow Alert Settings button to customize the alerts you would like to receive straight from me.

I will have another detailed update later this evening with plenty of shorter updates posted throughout the day in the RedZone Weather app. Have a good Tuesday!

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