A cold front that is moving through the area today will lift back northward through Central Alabama as a warm front on Sunday before a strong low and associated short wave moves through the area during the afternoon and night-time hours. We’ll have multiple rounds of showers and storms move through the area with a small chance of strong to severe storms during the morning and a larger threat during the afternoon through the evening hours.
Along with the strong to severe storm threat, we’ll also have the potential for some flash flooding issues especially over the southern two-thirds of Central Alabama. NWS Birmingham has issued a Flash Flood Watch starting Sunday at 7:00 am and goes until 1:00 am on Monday. Most locations could see up to 2 to 4 inches across the area with localized heavier amounts, especially where the training of heavier thunderstorms occurs.
The first round for the potential of strong to severe storms looks to take place during the morning hours, roughly from 4:00 am to 11:00 am, as the warm front moves northward through the area. This activity will be elevated, so the threat of a tornado will be nearly zero, but damaging wind up to 60 MPH and large hail will be possible.
This activity will be located along and to the north of the warm front as it moves northward. Once the warm front passes your location, rainfall will mostly come to an end and there will be a lull in the activity for a few hours. During the lull, this will allow the atmosphere to recover and become unstable which will lead to the second window for the potential of severe storms during the afternoon and evening hours.
The second window for severe storms will open around 2:00 pm and will continue until the system moves through the area and exits around midnight. The highest instability levels will be in the Enhanced Risk locations and where the greater risk for tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds up to or exceeding 70 MPH. Those threats lessen as you move down in the risk levels as the atmosphere in the northern parts of the area will be more stable as you move north.
Similar to what we saw just one week ago on Easter Sunday, timing is rather wide with this system as clusters of storms will form off to our west and move into the area during the afternoon and evening hours. Along with that, we may also have a few supercells develop somewhere in the area out ahead of the activity. We will have to really watch for those as they would have the greatest tornado threat. A strong, long-track tornado can’t be ruled out at this point.
The good news is that this system looks to be weaker than what we saw on Easter Sunday, but this is the prime part of our main severe weather season in Central Alabama and we do not need to let our guard down as it has the potential to be a significant severe weather event. You know the drill… Have your emergency kits fully packed, your safe place, and your severe weather action plan ready to go. Have multiple ways of receiving warnings. Do not rely just simply on outdoor sirens.
Do not attempt to ride out a tornado warning in a mobile/manufactured home or in a car. You have time to make plans to go to a more sturdy structure or a local tornado shelter. You do this, your chance of surviving a tornado is excellent, especially if you plan well ahead of the event and are ready to act if a warning is issued for your location.