James Spann: Strong to severe storms possible in Alabama late today, tonight

James Spann: Strong to severe storms possible in Alabama late today, tonight

By James Spann, Alabama News Center

ACTIVE WEATHER: Showers and a few thunderstorms are moving northeast across Alabama early this morning as a warm front lifts northward; the heaviest rain is over the northwest part of the state. The middle of the day should be fairly quiet, but we have potential for strong to severe thunderstorms over the northern half of the state late this afternoon and early tonight. The Storm Prediction Center has defined a slight risk (level 2 out of 5) of severe storms as far south as Millport, Birmingham and Jacksonville. A marginal risk (level 1 of 5) is up down to Greensboro, Clanton and Roanoke.

Storms late this afternoon and early tonight will be capable of producing hail and strong straight-line winds. An isolated tornado or two is certainly possible, especially in the slight-risk area. Be sure you have a good way of hearing warnings if they are needed. If you typically go to a community shelter, check with the county Emergency Management Agency to be sure it will be open. We are living in different times and you might need to adjust your normal severe weather plan when it comes to sheltering.

But remember, you must protect yourself from a tornado FIRST if you are in a polygon; then do the best you can when it comes to social distancing.

There is a flash flood watch in effect through tonight for the Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama (Muscle Shoals to Huntsville to Scottsboro), where rain amounts of up to 2 inches are possible.

REST OF THE WEEK: Dry air returns Wednesday; the sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a high in the mid 70s. Then, look for the warmest weather so far this year Thursday and Friday. The sky will be sunny both days with highs in the mid 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A deep surface low is forecast to move into the Great Lakes region Saturday, with a trailing cold front slicing into Alabama Saturday night. The SPC has defined a risk of severe storms for north and west Alabama for storms that form ahead of the front; for now it looks like the best chance of heavier thunderstorms will come late in the day and into Saturday night. It’s too early to be specific about the threat; we can do that later in the week as the event gets closer. Saturday will be warm, with a high in the 80s; Sunday will be dry and cooler, with a high in the low 70s and a good supply of sunshine.

NEXT WEEK: The latest global model runs show a fast-moving disturbance with potential for a few showers Monday; otherwise the week looks fairly quiet with seasonal temperatures.

ON THIS DATE IN 1975: “The Governor’s Tornado” hopscotched a 13-mile path across western Atlanta during the early morning, causing considerable damage to the Governor’s mansion. Hundreds of expensive homes, businesses and apartment complexes were damaged. Total losses were estimated at $56 million. Three people lost their lives, and the F3 tornado injured another 152.

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