The NWS has issued a tornado watch for a large part of Alabama.
Here are the tornado watches that are in effect right now:
It goes until midnight.
Here are the counties:
In Central Alabama…
Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Dallas, Etowah, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lamar, Marengo, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.
In North Alabama…
Franklin, Lincoln, Moore [TN] and Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan.
A Monday night severe weather threat highlights Alabama’s weather on this mid-October Sunday.
YOUR SUNDAY MORNING WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MONTH OF MAY: Another springlike morning greeted the day across Central Alabama with a mix of clouds and sun and a few moderate showers splashing and dashing. Morning lows were uniform, with 66F at Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, 65F at Anniston and a muggy 68F at Calera. Dewpoints were in the middle and upper 60s, which is quite moist and feels humid, more like May than September. The warm and muggies will continue through the afternoon hours, with highs topping out in the middle 80s.
ON THE WEATHER MAPS: Looking to charts of the upper levels of the atmosphere, where our weather is created and shaped, we see a huge trough covering most of the United States. The Jetstream is roaring down the western side of the Rocky Mountains, diving toward Old Mexico and Texas. Following its lead, the mid-level flow is picking up moisture to our southwest and spitting disturbances our way here in the Deep South. At the surface, that frontal system that has been hanging around Central Alabama is lifting north this afternoon on the backs of southerly winds ahead of a developing surface low near the Texas/Louisiana border and that southwesterly flow aloft.
SHOWERS AND STORMS: Showers and storms formed this morning over North and North Central Alabama along the retreating frontal boundary, capitalizing on the warm/moist airmass and taking advantage of an approaching upper level disturbance in that upper flow. Some of them were producing very heavy rainfall, gusty winds and frequent lightning but they were not severe. Most of the storms this afternoon should be to the north, but we can’t rule out a few storms in the warm, moist southerly flow over Central Alabama. Also can’t rule out one or two of them briefly becoming severe, but the chance is relatively small. More showers and storms will form overnight as another disturbance swings across the area. They may be noisy, but shouldn’t be severe.
MAIN EVENT: It looks like the main event for Alabama will come tomorrow night into Tuesday as that strong upper level system pushes east, spinning up a decent surface low over Oklahoma. This surface low will track northeast into Missouri, a favorable position for severe weather in Alabama. A strong cold front should be approaching the Mississippi River by tomorrow evening, and showers and storms will break out in the strong southerly flow ahead of the low as the Gulf of Mexico opens for business. So expect a few showers and storms especially during the afternoon tomorrow across the area, increasing in coverage and intensity by 5-6 p.m. Severe weather will be possible with these storms that will continue into the night and be joined by an approaching squall line after midnight. That line of storms will push across the state tomorrow night. Storms will still be possible through the morning hours as the cold front will not make it to I-65 until noon Tuesday. Check your severe weather preparedness plans, make sure you have a reliable way to receive watches and warnings and stay abreast of the weather Monday afternoon evening and overnight.
BIG SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK: This is potentially a big severe weather outbreak for areas mainly to our west, including Memphis, St. Louis, Shreveport and Jackson. The significant severe weather risk will extend into western Alabama late tomorrow night diminishing a but as the activity works further into the state of Alabama during the overnight. Be prepared for damaging winds and even the possibility of a tornado or two.
We have experienced a little burst of activity in the tropical Atlantic as a cycle called the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is bringing favorable conditions to much of the basin.
Tropical Storm Fay scored a direct hit on the island of Bermuda overnight. Winds officially gusted to 82 mph as the 70 mph tropical storm passed just east of the island after midnight last night. Winds dropped to near calm as the center passed and the barometer was measured at 986 mb. It will continue to the east northeast over open ocean over the next few days.
Now comes Gonzalo…
Based on Air Force Reconnaissance reports from the disturbance east of the northern Leewards, the National Hurricane Center is now issuing advisories on newly formed Tropical Storm Gonzalo. Gonzalo will produce tropical storm conditions across the northern Leewards, Virgin Islands and perhaps Puerto Rico. The system will recurve to the north.
Here is the latest info on Gonzalo:
SUMMARY OF 130 PM AST…1730 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 200 MI…320 KM E OF GUADELOUPE
ABOUT 230 MI…370 KM ESE OF ANTIGUA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…40 MPH…65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 270 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1009 MB…29.80 INCHES
Here is the summary of watches and warnings:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* LES SAINTES
* MARIE GALANTE
* ST. BARTHELEMY
* ST. EUSTATIUS
* ST. KITTS
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* PUERTO RICO
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Further east, Hanna is likely to form in coming days as well, but will recurve well to the east of the islands.
The 49F at the Birmingham Airport is the coolest morning since May 3 when it was 46F at the Birmingham Airport.
Here are some lows from across the state this morning:
41F…Fort Payne, Bankhead Natiional Forest
42F…Decatur, Muscle Shoals
43F…Cullman/Vinemont, Valley Head
44F…Huntsville, Scottsboro, Crossville
Temperatures across the Central part of the state will be a few degrees colder tomorrow morning. The projected low at BHM tomorrow morning is 41F. There will be several more readings in the 30s as well.
Heavy thunderstorms continue pushing eastward across the area early this morning.
The strongest storms extend along I-59 from Gadsden to Trussville, then bowing out to the east across eastern St. Clair entering Talladega County. This bowing segment has the highest chance to produce damaging wind gusts. No reports of serious damage were received from the greater Birmingham Metro from these storms, but they are capable of producing winds of 45 mph which can break tree limbs and do minor damage.
The storms extend from the bow back through Shelby County to near Montevallo into Chilton County near Jemison. They extend southwest from there.
Other strong storms extend from western Bibb County across much of Hale County.
A large area of light to moderate rain extends behind the main thunderstorm activity.
This morning’s thunderstorm activity has outrun its upper level support and should slowly weaken. The front is still well back to the west, extending from Little Rock to Shreveport. More storms will form this afternoon ahead of the front, but it will be over southeastern parts of the area, along and south of I-85.
Storms continue across the northwestern half of Alabama early this Friday morning.
A nearly solid squall line extends from west of Athens to Winfield to Columbus MS. Ahead of this, scattered to fairly numerous storms continue in a line from Cullman to Jasper to Tuscaloosa to Demopolis.
Everything is moving east while individual cells move northeast.
The heaviest cells are in West Alabama over Sumter, Greene and Hale Counties. The storms from Cullman into northern Walker are packing a punch as well. Storms approaching Pickens County in about an hour will have to be watched as well. Lots of lightning, very heavy rain and the chance of a damaging wind gust or two in the stronger storms.
We can’t rule out an isolated warning or two, but he chance is slowly diminishing with time.
There has been very little damage in Alabama. The exception, some wind damage in Red Bay in Franklin County just after 1 a.m.
Intense storms continue tonight across western Tennessee and western Mississippi ahead of a complex weather system.
The main line of storms extends from Jackson TN to east of Holly Springs MS to near Greenville, MS.
Storms have broken out just ahead of the main line. Areas from west of Corinth to west of Booneville to west of Tupelo tonight are experiencing some storms that have developed ahead of the main line.
Numerous severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings are in effect for western Kentucky, western Tennessee and the Missouri Bootheel.
Tornado damage was reported in northeastern Arkansas near Lake City around 10 p.m. with this same storm producing a possible tornado near Steele in the Missouri Bootheel. A semi full of chicken parts was blown off the highway near Lake City.
There have been numerous other reports of damaging winds and large hail from eastern Oklahoma and Northeast Texas into Missouri, Arkansas, northwestern Louisiana and northern Mississippi tonight. Possible tornado damage was reported near Senatobia MS a short while ago.
The storms appear to be weakening, which would be consistent with decreasing instability and shear that will continue to lift out to the north rapidly.
The storms out in front over Northern Mississippi could reach the Northwest Corner of Alabama shortly after 1 a.m. The main line will reach Lamar and Marion Counties around 2:30 and progress into Fayette and Walker Counties. The southern end of the line could reach Pickens County by 3-3:30 a.m., the Tuscaloosa area around 4:30 a.m. and the Birmingham Metro before 5:30 a.m.
We will continue to monitor the situation overnight with the severe weather threat continuing through early Friday morning. Keep a reliable source of weather information handy that will wake you and check back here for updates.
The Gulf of Mexico can be the friend as well as the enemy of wet weather systems for Central Alabama, and so far it has been the enemy of this one. I know, I know. You wet weather fans have heard it before. The Gulf of Mexico moisture was cut off by convection along the coast. But this time it is more a factor of waiting on the front to move north as the upper trough over the western Gulf of Mexico moves only grudgingly to the east and we wait on a surface low to form to our south.
NEVER FEAR: Rain is on the way, but amounts will be on the lighter side it appears. That’s not good news, since we continue to be dry across Central Alabama. Much of the area has received less than 75% of its average rainfall over the past 60 days. And now drought conditions have crept into a large part of the area as well, especially from Jefferson and Shelby Counties back to Bibb County then eastward to Chambers County.
A CHECK OF RADARS LATE THIS AFTERNOON: Shows that showers were trying to organize along the I-85 corridor in East Central Alabama. Others formed at peak heating from Bibb down through Marion Counties, but those have since mostly fallen apart. It now appears that there will be chances of scattered mainly light showers from the band near I-85 through the evening hours with a better area of rain developing over South Central Alabama after midnight and pushing into Georgia as a surface low forms over the northeastern Gulf.
This means the heaviest rainfall will be over South Central and Southeast Alabama and into southern Georgia.
Overnight lows tonight will be in the 60s with highs tomorrow probably limited to the 70s with a considerable clouds and a few leftover showers.