A strong cold front will be approaching Central Alabama on Saturday, but warm air advection out ahead of that could potentially destabilize the atmosphere enough for strong to severe storms to affect the area with damaging winds and a few brief tornadoes possible.
A Marginal Risk is up for much of Central Alabama on Saturday night through Sunday morning with the exception of the northeast quarter. To be more specific, the Marginal Risk is for locations west and south of a line from Cullman to Calera to LaFayette in Chambers County. At this point, the main threats look to be the possibility of damaging winds up to 60 MPH and a few brief tornadoes.
Timing for the strong to severe storms looks to be from 8:00 pm Saturday through 8:00 am Sunday from west to east. Let’s break that timing down even further for the threat locations…
8:00pm to midnight for the western parts of the area (west of a line from Fairview in Cullman County to Vance in Tuscaloosa County to Linden in Marengo County).
10:00 pm to 3:00 am for the central parts of the area (west of a line from Kellyton in Coosa County to Hayneville in Lowndes County).
1:00 am to 8:00 am for the southeastern parts of the area (including Montgomery, Auburn, Troy, and Eufaula).
Damaging winds will be more of the main threat for the west and northwestern locations in the Marginal Risk, with tornadoes more of the main threat in the east and southeastern parts of the risk locations. Moist and unstable air will be advecting up ahead of a cold front after midnight which may fuel the atmosphere enough for a few brief tornadoes to be the main threat in the east and southeast. However, both threats are possible across all of the Marginal Risk areas.
Any watches that may be issued on Saturday night through the early morning hours on Sunday will more than likely be tornado watches.
These late-year events usually contain plenty of wind shear to support severe weather. We usually lack enough surface-based instability for a big severe outbreak. Sometimes it happens and we have an outbreak, but this event doesn’t look to be that way. Instability values look to be around 500 J/kg or less which is a low amount, but instability was around that level when a tornado touched down in Pike County and moved into Barbour County on Wednesday morning.
All of that to say… You need to be prepared for any risk level of severe weather during this time of the year as this is our secondary severe weather season. Remember to have your safety kits and your place of safety ready to go not only for tomorrow night but for every time we are under a severe risk. Have those batteries charged on your smartphones and be sure that your NOAA WeatherRadio and flashlights have fresh batteries.