Archive for December 20th, 2012

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Fayette, Lamar, Marion

| December 20, 2012 @ 7:01 am

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The National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for parts of Fayette, Lamar and Marion Counties till 7:45 AM CST

Our line of intense low topped thunderstorms is into western Franklin and Marion Counties now.


We will see scattered reports of damaging winds over West Central Alabama over the next couple of hours. Can’t rule out an isolated tornado report, but the main threat will be a few trees and power lines down.

Winds just gusted to 51 mph at Columbus MS. Trees have been reported down around Caledonia and Columbus.

The line will reach Lamar County shortly (around 7 a.m.), Pickens County by 7:15 and Sumter County shortly thereafter.

Further south where there is richer moisture and instability, there are tornado warnings in South Alabama for the cells out ahead of the main line. One is in effect now for the area around Evergreen. This storm will move toward Georgiana and Greenville. A storm crossing into Washington County ALabama from Mississippi may impact the Selma/Montgomery areas later.

There was just a tornado warning posted for Mobile and Baldwin Counties as well.

Morning Update

| December 20, 2012 @ 6:08 am

Extremely busy this morning with ongoing severe weather and won’t be able to post a Weather Xtreme video… but some notes…

*A tornado touched town in the western and northern part of Mobile in the 4:50-5:00 a.m. time frame. Damage to the Mobile Airport, numerous homes damaged, with some entrapments, debris closing I-65 in both directions reported. Have not heard of injuries so far.

*The primary tornado threat will be over the southern half of Alabama… if you are in South Alabama and hear a tornado warning, please take it seriously this morning.

*A squall line over Mississippi will move through North-Central Alabama later this morning with potential for strong straight line winds, possibly exceeding 50 mph. This will knock down trees and power lines.


*These storms will enter West Alabama around 7:00… Tuscaloosa possibly around 8:00; Birmingham around 9:00; Anniston/Gadsden around 10:00. The main threat will come from straight line winds, but a small, isolated spin-up tornado can’t be ruled out.

*The day will be very windy; even away from storms winds will average 15-30 mph today. This in itself is enough to knock down trees and power lines.

Below is a radar check over Southeast Alabama as of 6:05 a.m.

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 6.07.36 AM

Conditions Improving for Severe Weather

| December 20, 2012 @ 5:29 am

Another low instability/high shear environment is developing for much of Alabama this morning. A look at some of these parameters shows high shear with helicity values running in the 500 to 900 range from Northwest Alabama to Southwest Alabama. Instability values are not very impressive with CAPE values running at or below 1000 jg/kg across Southeast Mississippi. However, we’re also seeing surface dew points surging northward ahead of the cold front with lower 60 values pushing into West Central Alabama – Tuscaloosa at 60 while Birmingham is at 54.

A Tornado Watch is in effect until noon for the area south of Birmingham with the most active weather occurring in the vicinity of Mobile across Southwest Alabama.

Stay tuned to the Blog for the latest information.


Line Moving Faster

| December 20, 2012 @ 5:18 am
Click image to expand

Click image to expand

Our line of thunderstorms (or really intense showers, since it has little lightning) has surged ahead this morning ahead of a strong cold front and is moving a little faster toward Central Alabama.

Instability is increasing over West Central Alabama rapidly and there is a very high amount of wind shear. Any updrafts that form will rotate and will have the potential to produce tornadoes. A tornado watch is in effect for much of West Central, South Central and Southwest Alabama until noon.

As always the case, cells ahead of the main line are of particular concern. The NWS Jackson issued a tornado warning one such cell which is about 15 miles southwest of Starkville at 5:10 a.m. This cell has had a history of triggering tornado vortex signatures. It has weakened in the past few minutes and the warning was allowed to expire. We will keep an eye on it.

The main line now extends from Oxford MS to west of Jackson. It is moving rapidly east at 45-50 mph. There are numerous kinks and bows in the line, which are indications of damaging winds. This is not surprising, given the very strong winds aloft. Winds gusted to 60 mph at Yazoo City in the past few minutes. A peak wind of 49 mph at Greenville MS as the line passes.

So the line looks unimpressive on radar reflectivity, but don’t let that fool you. It will be packing a punch as it comes through the area later this morning.

Timing looks like 6:30 for Lamar and Marion, 6:45-7 for Pickens and Sumter, 7:30 for Tuscaloosa and 8:30-9 for Birmingham.

Prepare for a fast moving line of low topped storms with little lightning, but lots of high wind and brief heavy rain this morning, preceded by the potential for individual storm cells that could produce quick spin up tornadoes that are hard to warn for.

In addition, it will be very windy even outside storms today. Look for sustained south winds at 20-35 mph with occasional higher gusts, especially on higher ridges.

Tornado Warned Storm in Mobile

| December 20, 2012 @ 4:55 am

Strong storm capable of producing tornado approaching downtown Mobile. This storm has looked impressive on radar as it has moved in off the Gulf into southern Mississippi, now affecting the City of Mobile.

We ware watching for similar storms across the southern part of our area. The isolated storms ahead of the main line in Mississippi have unimpeded inflow and will have the opportunity to grow in intensity rapidly. Dynamics and shear values do support the threat for some tornadic storms. Dew points are increasing quickly across Central Alabama adding instability into the atmosphere.

Getting some reports of tree damage in Mobile.

12-20-2012 4-51-28 AM

Tornado Watch until Noon

| December 20, 2012 @ 4:23 am

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Tornado watch issued for much of Central and Southern Alabama until Noon today. Does not include Jefferson County or the City of Birmingham, but does include Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile. Strong thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are developing out ahead of the main line of thunderstorms.

12-20-2012 4-28-02 AM





3:30 AM Update

| December 20, 2012 @ 3:21 am

Showers and few rumbles of thunder are moving across Central Alabama this morning. None of which are severe, but there are several areas of heavy downpours. Heavy rain moving through Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. The main severe weather continues to be off to the west, as a very strong line of thunderstorms is crossing the Mississippi River. That activity is still several hours away from impacting Alabama but should get to our western boarder close to 7 AM. There are numerous severe thunderstorms within the line and a few tornado warnings. Damaging winds in the bowing segments will be the greatest threat as the line moves across the state. Also will be watching for small spin-up tornadoes within the line.12-20-2012 3-13-41 AM

1:30 a.m. Update

| December 20, 2012 @ 1:35 am
Click to expand.

Click to expand.

Our line of thunderstorms continues to move east this morning. It has just passed through Shreveport on I-20, where a few trees were reported down on West Lakeshore Drive at 1 a.m. There have been at least 41 reprots of high wind since just after 8 p.m. last night.

Four severe thunderstorms warnings are in effect now in Arkansas, Louisiana and southeastern Texas. One includes the areas generally between Shreveport and Ruston along I-20.

A tornado watch continues for parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas over to Little Rock, with a couple of severe thunderstorm watches covering areas east and south of the tornado watch. The newest severe thunderstorm watch covers areas from Memphis to west fo Jackson, MS on into southeastern Texas.

Ahead of this main line, showers continue to build over much of Mississippi and Central Alabama, extending into West Central Alabama. These showers aren’t producing lightning yet as the highest tops are around 20-25,000 feet. The heaviest precipitation was north and northeast of Columbus MSl including parts of Pickens and Lamar Counties in West Central Alabama.

This activity will continue to build through the overnight hours and spread northeast ahead of the main line of storms, which will arrive later this morning. There is a remote chance we could see a warning or two with the cells in advance of the main line, but the greater chance is later this morning with the main line.