HEAVY RAIN & THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY THIS WEEKEND AS T.S. CRISTOBAL APPROACHES… 3 to 6 inches of rainfall in total is expected through Tuesday across south Alabama and northwest Florida as Tropical Storm Cristobal flings in ample Gulf moisture supporting numerous showers and thunderstorms. Rain chances will be at their peak on Sunday into Monday as the core of Cristobal likely passes just to our west across Louisiana. The main concern locally will be heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding, although isolated, brief spin-up tornadoes and gusty (20-30 mph) winds may happen at the immediate coastline. Dangerous rip currents and high surf will also be concerns at the beaches, meaning we encourage everyone to stay OUT of the water starting Saturday and extending through Tuesday. We’ve got all the details about Tropical Storm Cristobal below. Let’s look at your forecast details.
TODAY: SCATTERED SHOWERS & STORMS… We’ll have essentially a carbon copy repeat of what happened yesterday across the region with scattered showers and thunderstorms popping up throughout the day. Not everyone will have rain before the end of the day, but some spots may pick up around 1” of rain in a very short period of time. The localized areas that get that much rain will also have cloud-to-ground lightning, loud thunder, gusty winds, and perhaps even small hail in the strongest of storms. Widespread severe weather is NOT expected today and the tornado risk remains at or near zero locally.
The following information from the detailed discussion last night remains right on target.
TROPICAL STORM CRISTOBAL – LOCAL IMPACTS… Let me preface all of this by saying that IF significant forecast path adjustments are needed (not expected at this point, but still a small chance), we obviously will need to adjust the specific local impacts. For now, the biggest concern with Cristobal for south Alabama and northwest Florida will be heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding. 3 to 6 inches of rainfall in total are expected over the next 7 days across our area, with the greater amounts (5-6” of rain) likely happening near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. Gusty winds (20-30 mph) will be possible at the immediate beach zones and near local bays and inlets on Sunday into Monday as Cristobal comes onshore to our west. Isolated, brief, spin-up tornadoes may become an issue Sunday into Monday near the coast. That is a potential we’ll have to watch over the next few days as specifics come more into focus. High waves and dangerous rip currents will also be likely at the local beaches. Coastal flooding and beach erosion could happen as well.
BEACH TRIPS & VACATION PLANNING DURING T.S. CRISTOBAL… This weekend is going to be quite soggy, to say the least, at the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. The greater rain chance will inevitably be on Sunday into Monday, but there will be scattered to numerous showers and storms involved on Saturday as well. I continue to receive questions about vacation plans and trips to the local beaches on this Wednesday. I can’t really give specific recommendations as everyone has a different tolerance as to what they’re willing to deal with, but what I can tell you is confidence is now high that rain (with heavy rain at times) will be happening for much of the day on Sunday and on Monday. Beach access will probably be limited or closed with double red flags likely at most local beach locations. Rain chances will remain high Tuesday into Wednesday as an anomalously high amount of Gulf moisture continues to stream into our region long after Cristobal makes landfall to our west.
CRISTOBAL STILL NOT MOVING MUCH AT ALL… Unfortunately for Mexico and central America, Tropical Storm Cristobal won’t be moving that much over the next 12-24 hours. This will allow ongoing mudslide situations to get worse. Cristobal will slowly begin to lift northward across the eastern part of the Bay of Campeche (southern Gulf of Mexico) on Friday. Keep in mind that even on Saturday morning, this storm will still be in the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico. The faster, northerly movement will commence during the day on Saturday.
LANDFALL POINT MOST LIKELY IN LOUISIANA SUNDAY INTO MONDAY… The latest projected path from the National Hurricane Center shows the cone of uncertainty extending from Houston, Texas eastward to Pascagoula, Mississippi. This is the stretch of coastline where a landfall point is most likely to happen. This means that the state of Louisiana is directly in the center of the cone of uncertainty, meaning landfall is most likely to happen somewhere in that state. NHC ramps the system up to a formidable tropical storm (max winds of 60 mph) right before landfall. There is an off chance that Cristobal briefly becomes a hurricane before landfall. One bit of good news is that southwesterly shear will likely be increasing as Cristobal moves north across the Gulf, thus potentially helping to limit overall strengthening.
TROPICAL STORM WATCHES TO BE ISSUED TO OUR WEST… A Tropical Storm Watch will become necessary for parts of Louisiana later today or Friday ahead of Cristobal’s projected arrival on Sunday into Monday. There is a chance that parts of the Mississippi and perhaps even the Alabama coast will go under a Tropical Storm Watch as well, considering gusty winds (maybe as high as tropical storm force) will be a concern with this system.
RAIN CHANCES TO REMAIN HIGH INTO NEXT WEEK… The center of circulation associated with Cristobal will continue to move northward on Monday into Tuesday of next week. This will keep the overflow wind flow across our area out of the south, as we will likely remain on the eastern flank of the system. This will allow copious amounts of Gulf moisture to continue to move into our area, keeping rain chances high on Tuesday into Wednesday of the upcoming week. Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected each day.
APP… 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.
UPDATES IN APP; LONGER POST LATER TONIGHT… I will have plenty of updates over the next 12 hours in the RedZone Weather app as needed. We will have a detailed, longer post uploaded by 8PM this evening. Please let me know if you have specific questions. Have a great Thursday!