Storms Blow In Tomorrow Morning

| December 19, 2012 @ 6:19 am

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ONE MORE DRY DAY: A pretty chill morning to start the day; Gadsden and Fort Payne report a freezing 32 degrees at daybreak; most places are somewhere between 37 and 41. We rise into the upper 60s today with ample sunshine, although high clouds will begin to show up and increase this afternoon.

TO THE WEST: SPC maintains the “slight risk” of severe weather for much of Mississippi, North Louisiana, Arkansas, and West Tennessee tonight, where strong to severe thunderstorms should develop in the favorable warm sector environment ahead of a major storm system over the nation’s mid-section, which promises to bring lots of snow and wind all way way from the Rockies to the Great Lakes. Blizzard warnings are up for parts of Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

THE ALABAMA SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: SPC hasn’t changed tomorrow’s severe weather risk much; they define a standard “slight risk” for roughly the southern half of Alabama, or the part of the state south of I-20. But, I think storms over the northern counties will be very gusty with potential for high winds.

There is very little surface based instability with this system tomorrow morning, which is the primary limiting factor in our severe weather threat. But, there is a tremendous amount of dynamic forcing, and the wind fields are strong. The main risk with the band of storms tomorrow morning will come from straight line winds of 30-50 mph, and some spots could see severe gusts (over 58 mph). This could knock down some trees and power lines.

We also note there is very high amount of shear; surface-925 mb bulk shear values are around 45 knots, so we will need to watch the radar closely for signs of rotation. But, we all know it is almost impossible to warn for the small, short lived spin-up tornadoes within a squall line.

I should note that the day tomorrow will be very windy, even away from storms, with southwest winds averaging 15 to 30 mph, with occasional gusts to 40 mph. Wind advisories will be needed.

TIMING: The main window for storms in Alabama will come from about 3:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 3/4 inch are likely. See the Weather Xtreme video for more details on the situation tomorrow along with all of the maps and graphics.

COLD SHOT TOMORROW NIGHT: As the storms move out, much colder air rolls into Alabama, and we will be in the upper 20s by daybreak Friday. The winds will stay up, and the wind chill index could very well drop into the teens early Friday. Friday will be sunny, but windy and cold with a high in the upper 40s. A northwest wind of 15 to 25 mph will make it feel colder.

PRE-CHRISTMAS WEEKEND: Mornings will be cold; we expect a low early Saturday in the 25-29 degree range, with low 30s early Sunday. The weekend will be dry with a good supply of sunshine both days… the high Saturday will be in the mid 50s, and close to 60 on Sunday.

CHRISTMAS WEEK WEATHER: Let me say up front that we really won’t be able to be very specific about next week until tomorrow night, after the next round of storms is out of here. Like football coaches, we take storm systems one at a time. Model madness is coming to play, making the forecast a real can of worms.

We are confident in these things…

*The weather will be wet at times Monday, and on Christmas Day
*Very cold air, perhaps the coldest so far this season, will blow in here by the middle of next week

Beyond that, it is just hard to say. The 00Z GFS/ECMWF runs have taken severe weather off the table for now with the surface low much more to the south. In fact, we might have to look at some risk of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday for parts of Arkansas and Tennessee as the cold air takes over. Even some hint at a snow flake or two on the back side of the departing storm system over North Alabama Wednesday night. All voodoo and noise now… let’s wait until tomorrow night to really get specific.

Take some time to see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more information on the possibilities next week.

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Don’t forget our Toys for Tots marathon continues today; I will be live at Legacy BBQ on Highway 150 in Hoover to wrap things up at 4, 5, and 6:00 this evening on ABC 33/40. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 4:00 this afternoon…


Category: Alabama's Weather

About the Author ()

James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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