A strong trough of low pressure and an associated cold front will move through Central Alabama on Wednesday that will bring a chance of strong to severe storms to the area at what looks like at this point in two waves.
We’ll have the first wave of storms moving into and through the area during the morning hours that will be in a weakening trend, but a strong storm with gusty winds or small hail cannot be ruled out. This first round looks to come to an end just after sunrise.
The potential for a second round of strong to severe storms looks to be conditional at this point because of where the atmosphere destabilizes during the main heating of the day and where a boundary between stable and unstable air materializes. At this point, it looks like that may form along or just south of the I-59 corridor.
Cold air aloft along with instability values rising up into the 1000-2000 J/kg range shows that thunderstorm development will be possible. Dewpoints will be in the lower to mid-60s across the area and shear will be around 40-50 knots. Systems that have a cold westerly flow up at 18,000 feet are usually decent severe storm producers. For now, the main threats will be from damaging winds and large hail. We’ll also have a very small threat of a brief tornado or two, but overall chances for a tornado is not likely.
As of now, this is a low-confidence forecast. We’ll get a better picture of what to expect as the higher-resolution convection-allowing models come into focus at 60 hours away from the event. While this does not appear to be a major severe weather threat, always be prepared. We have seen over the past few weeks that damaging straight-line winds from severe thunderstorms will cause as much damage on a larger scale as an EF-1 tornado. With the soils remaining relatively saturated from the past few systems, trees will be a little easier to be blown over by strong winds.