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Central Alabama 7 Day Forecast

Today’s Storms

| 7:29 pm March 18, 2013

A band of severe storms blew through Alabama today with a ferocious wind and hail stones to the size of baseballs. Damage has been widespread, and severe in many cases.

Go to our Flickr feed here to see many of the damage and hail images from today.

The NWS will send out survey teams tomorrow to begin the damage assessment, but from all I have seen and heard today, it looks like all of the damage was caused by straight line winds of 50-75 mph.

We always have people that want their damage to be the result of a tornado… but I have seen zero evidence of tornado activity today despite the damage.

A gustnado or two was certainly possible, if not likely… that is a vortex on the leading edge of a thunderstorm’s gust front. Ground based, and not really related to a true tornado in a classic sense.

You have to remember…

*Damaging straight line winds can, and will cause damage just like a tornado.

*You can have twisting type damage with a microburst due to the eddies generated by the air parcel after hitting the ground at extremely high speeds.

*A load roar can also be associated with straight line winds, much like a tornado.

We will get the final results in coming days, but I will really be surprised if a tornado was involved any of today’s damage. Meteorological parameters did not favor tornado formation, and we saw no signatures on radar that would suggest a tornado was involved, other than one or two over DeKalb County of Northeast Alabama late today.

Congratulations to the NWS in Birmingham for their excellent, timely warnings. If you didn’t get a warning today, then the time has come for a NOAA Weather Radio, or a smart phone app like MyWarn or iMap WeatherRadio. Very surprised to see a number of people on the news saying “they got no warning”. Here is a great example… the warning for Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties, issued about 30 minutes before damage started.

BULLETIN – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
228 PM CDT MON MAR 18 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
TUSCALOOSA COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…
WALKER COUNTY IN ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 330 PM CDT

* AT 228 PM CDT…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A LINE OF
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL…AND
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED
ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM ASHRIDGE TO 7 MILES EAST OF BLUFF TO
MILLPORT TO ETHELSVILLE…AND MOVING EAST AT 60 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
CARBON HILL…JASPER…CORDOVA…DORA…NORTHPORT…SUMITON…
TUSCALOOSA AND HOLT.

THIS INCLUDES…
US 78 EXIT NUMBERS 39 THROUGH 78…
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 62 THROUGH 100…

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

THESE STORMS HAVE A HISTORY OF PRODUCING WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A
STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

Here is the warning issued for Etowah, St. Clair, and Shelby… way before any damage happened. Note how the warning says this is “an extremely dangerous situation”. I could do this for every county in the Birmingham NWS county warning area…

BULLETIN – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
334 PM CDT MON MAR 18 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
ETOWAH COUNTY IN NORTHEAST ALABAMA…
ST. CLAIR COUNTY IN ALABAMA…
SHELBY COUNTY IN ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 430 PM CDT

* AT 332 PM CDT…EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REPORTED A LINE OF SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL…AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS
IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE
EXTENDING FROM 5 MILES EAST OF MCLARTY TO 6 MILES WEST OF ASHVILLE
TO MOODY TO VESTAVIA HILLS TO TANNEHILL IRONWORKS STATE PARK…AND
MOVING EAST AT 65 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
ODENVILLE…HELENA…PELHAM…ALABASTER…MONTEVALLO…PELL CITY…
CHELSEA AND RAINBOW CITY.

THIS INCLUDES…
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 228 THROUGH 247…
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 144 THROUGH 162…
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBERS 148 THROUGH 188…

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

THESE STORMS HAVE A HISTORY OF PRODUCING WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A
STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

Thankfully we don’t see any more severe weather around here at least for the next 7 to 10 days.

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