Numerous thunderstorms have developed this afternoon from the Jacksonville and Oxford areas in Calhoun County down to Ashland in Clay County to Alexander City in Tallapoosa County to Wetumpka. They are especially widespread between Wetumpka and Montgomery, Auburn and Valley.
They are producing intense lightning, torrential rains and some gusty winds. They have become especially intense from north of Alex City to Deatsville thanks to some outflow boundaries from storms to the north intersecting with the storms.
Nothing severe at this time, although we can’t rule out an isolated warning or two. Heavy rainfall and flooding is the main concern.
Areal flood advisories have been posted for Calhoun County and Montgomery County. In those areas, over 1.5 inches of rain may have fallen in an hour.
in Birmingham, heavy rain over the mountain and on the Northside has caused flooding. Messer Airport Highway is severely flooded under the railroad viaducts between 31st and 33rd streets. From our Cynthia Gould at 3340 (@Cynthia3340).
Remember, turn around, don’t drown!
Some areas in Birmingham are reporting flooding from this afternoon’s heavy thunderstorm that dumped as much as 1.5 to 2 inches of rain in just one hour according to Doppler radar estimates. The heaviest rain fell in the Hoover/Vestavia areas and in areas just north of downtown Birmingham.
John Talbot just reported that there was a Birmingham FD water rescue going on off Norwood Blvd in North Birmingham.
Here is a picture of Rocky Ridge Road from a short time ago via @ayharvey on Twitter. Remember, turn around, don’t drown!
The NWS has issued an areal flood advisory. It is outlined in the green on top of the Doppler one hour radar estimates. The outline is difficult to see because of the color.
A warm, moist and unstable airmass covers Central Alabama early this afternoon and thunderstorms have been developing near a surface trough as morning sunshine pushed the mercury to the point that convection could occur.
The storms are not severe. There is little wind shear, in fact hardly enough to keep them organized. Can’t rule out an isolated wind damage report or two with some of the stronger storms, but the threat is small.
But the storms do have a lot of very heavy rain, dangerous lightning and some gusty winds with them.
The area from Bibb up through eastern Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Shelby and Chilton Counties will see a couple of rounds of showers and storms for the next couple of hours, so be alert for the potential for minor flooding.
Showers and storms are starting to fire in an area of surface convergence generally along and just south of I-20 that is associated with a weak surface trough.
All morning, we have been tracking showers and storms in a large mas over West Central Alabama. A smaller batch moved through Tuscaloosa earlier and now the larger batch is moving toward T-town. Tuscaloosa could get a lengthy steady to heavy rain. One half to one inch of rain is possible in one hour from this activity.
Now showers and storms are clumped in eastern Bibb and southwestern Shelby Counties and over northeastern Shelby and Talladega counties. This activity will push north at just under 20 mph and will affect areas west of I-65 in Jefferson County and areas from Moody and Pell City up to Springville.
Skies are cloudy across the area with a few breaks mainly over the eastern part of the area. Temperatures are mainly in the 70s except where additional sunshine has pushed the mercury into the 80s.
It is nice to see our old friend SimuAWIPS working again. It is a go to site for me for rapid analysis of the state of the atmosphere.
Here is the SimuAWIPS depiction of the radar across the Southeast in the large panel. You can clearly see the shield of rain and storms. If you look closely, you also see some curvature in the radar echoes over Mississippi. This is a weak surface low or mesoscale convective vortex that is moving to the northeast.
That little surface low was kicked up by a trough of low pressure in the mid-levels of the atmosphere that swept southeastward during the early morning hours out of Louisiana and across southern Mississippi.
There have been a few reports of trees down and isolated power outages with the storms this afternoon, but nothing serious. Torrential rains will cause minor flooding spots. There has already been flooding in Lamar County and an areal flood advisory has been posted for Talladega County. It is raining to beat the band in the city of Talladega right now.
Lots of lightning down there between Selma and Clanton will be lifting northeast and bringing very heavy rain, deadly lightning and gusty winds to Chilton, Coosa, Talladega and southeastern Shelby Counties for the next couple of hours. Shouldn’t become severe but will be packing a punch for sure.
The storms will continue to lift northeastward this evening, slowly weakening as they go. Parts of the area could get a few more hours of generally light to moderate rain. Here is the HRRR model radar simulation through the evening and overnight.
You can see that additional development is possible overnight, starting over southwestern sections around Demopolis around 10 p.m. and moving northeast, reaching Birmingham after midnight. Rainfall amounts will be generally light.
NOTE FROM NORTHWEST ALABAMA
Reports indicate that flooding is pretty bad in Russellville in Franklin County where water is about to get into homes and a water rescue of a motorist is underway.
Here is a picture retweeted by meteorologist Ben Smith at WHNT in Huntsville of flooding along highway 43 in Russellville:
They are just that. Scary clouds.
Several people around The Summit have been observing menacing looking funnel like clouds to the south over Double Oak Mountain. Here is an example from @jmdrennen.
These are harmless scud clouds developing as air is lifted by the cooler, moist outflow of nearby storms. Cloud fragments, known as scud, will form in mid-air or under the base that can protrude downward, appearing to be a funnel cloud.
These false funnels are distinguishable from true funnel clouds or tornadoes because they will not be rotating. They are also more ragged and often rising and descending intermittently.
The storms moving into the Birmingham Metro area right now are strong, with torrential rains, deadly lightning, gusty winds and even some small hail possible. There was a severe thunderstorm warning for Shelby, Bibb and Chilton Counties, but it has expired.
Here is the radar just after 6 p.m.:
No warnings are in effect for Central Alabama at this time. A severe thunderstorm warning was just issued for Limestone, Madison and Morgan Counties.
Winds have only gusted to 25 mph at the Shelby County Airport.
There are lots of pictures of beautiful but menacing shelf clouds across the area on the front end of the storms. Here is one from @theHoff_MAN91 via Twitter in Vestavia:
There are some isolated power outages being reported from places like Hoover and West Homewood.
Further south, winds gusted to an estimated 50-60 mph at Clanton with some tree and power line damage just before 5:45. Those storms are now over northeastern Chilton County.
All of the activity is associated with a mesoscale convective vortex currently passing along the Walker/Jefferson County line.
Today is my favorite baseball day of the year! It is the day that one of the best sporting events of the year in all of world occurs. An event that ESPN says is one of the 100 Things That a Sports Fan Has To Do Before They Die.
The Birmingham Barons and Jacksonville Suns will turn the calendar back to 1948 for the 20th iteration of the Rickwood Classic. In that year, the Black Barons were the Negro American League Champs and the Barons won the Dixie Series. Willie Mays was a 17 year old star on the Black Barons team.
It is hard to believe that we have been making the pilgrimage to Rickwood each year for the Classic since 1996. The historic ballpark is the oldest professional ballpark still in use in the U.S. It was built in 1910 and played host to the Barons from 1910-1965, the Birmingham A’s from 1967-1975 and the Barons again from 1981-1987. The Black Barons played there basically from 1920-1960. The Philadelphia Phillies actually held spring training there in 1911 and 1920.
The game is put on by the Friends of Rickwood, a group of local fans who work to maintain and preserve the park. The Classic is one of their major fundraisers. They do a great job with the event each year. First pitch is 12:30 p.m., but arrive early to experience the park. Have a great hot dog. Enjoy the throwback uniforms. Some fans even dress up in period clothing. Meet the Negro League alumni. They are living history. You will fin dthem on the third base side in reserved seating. Check out the hand operated scoreboard.
And be generous if you see a Friend of Rickwood with their charity buckets. Your donation will go to preserve this temple of baseball.
HOW ABOUT THE WEATHER
Everyone is worried about that high chance of rain today. Indications are that a few showers may start forming in the Birmingham area around 12:45 to 1 p.m. but they will be widely spaced until around 4-5 p.m. and the heavy stuff shouldn’t arrive until 6-7 p.m. or so. So there could be a couple of passing showers during the game, so take a light rain jacket. The general admission seats are under the roof. If you have box seats, you might take a towel to dry off your seat after any showers zip by. Temperatures will be around 80F and it will be muggy. Take some sunscreen for those periods when the sun is out. It can burn you quickly!
So take a late lunch and head out to Birmingham’s west side for a bit of baseball and Birmingham history.