Wednesday continues to look like it will be a very active day across Central Alabama, especially during the late morning through the late-night and into the pre-dawn hours on Thursday. The Storm Prediction Center continues to have a good portion of Central Alabama in a 30% chance (orange) for severe storms, which is equivalent to a Level 3 Enhanced Risk. The rest of the area remains in a 15% chance (yellow), or a Level 2 Slight Risk.
NWS Birmingham has already put the enhanced and slight risk breakdown graphic up that shows the specific threats for what certain locations. The Enhanced Risk is up for locations along and west of a line from Snead (Blount Co.) to just west of Alexander City (Tallapoosa Co.) to Brundidge (Pike Co). This includes the larger cities of Hamilton, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Clanton, Demopolis, Selma, Montgomery, and Troy.
A Slight Risk includes the rest of Central Alabama east of the line mentioned above, which includes the larger cities of Gadsden, Anniston, Alexander City, Auburn, and Eufaula.
No matter what color on the map that your location is under, all modes of severe weather will be possible… a few tornadoes, damaging winds up to 60 MPH, and large hail up to golf ball size.
As of now, the timing for the event remains broad… from late Wednesday morning through late Wednesday night. We could possibly see storms persisting into the pre-dawn hours on Thursday for the eastern parts of the area. We will all be able to fine tune the timing once we can get through the potential for severe weather on Monday.
Important things to remember and to have ready when severe weather threatens your location:
Have a severe weather emergency kit ready to go that includes:
• First aid kit
• Whistle or air horn (to call for help)
• A helmet for each person
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Cash and credit/debit card
• Battery powered radio and weather radio
• Fully charged mobile phone charger/power bank
• 3-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food (people and pets)
• A spare change of clothes for each person
• Prescription medicines and special needs items (diapers, formula, etc.)
• Hard sole shoes in case you have to walk over debris
Have multiple ways to get warnings:
• NOAA Weather Radio
• Local TV/Radio
• Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) and Weather Apps on cell phones
• Trusty websites and instantly updated social media feeds
• Friends, family, and coworkers
• Outdoor sirens
For a trusty weather app for your phone, I suggest you try Baron Critical Weather (on Apple App Store and on Google Play). I also recommend you download your trusty local news app that includes a live feed of severe weather, just in case you lose power at your location or if you have to seek shelter.
Also, to help you remember where the counties are located in the state of Alabama, I have included a county map of Alabama that you can save to your phone or print it out and have it as a reference on your refrigerator. Be sure to know where your county is and what counties surround your county.
Just remember that this is just to be sure that people are prepared for the potential of severe weather on Wednesday, and not to scare anyone. Remember that the odds of any one location being impacted by a tornado are very low, even on major severe weather days. If you have your safety plan, safety kit, and your reliable ways of getting warnings ready to go, we’ll get through this together.