The Storm Prediction Center has expanded the Level 5 High Risk for severe storms to now include more of Central Alabama, including the cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Alabaster, Clanton, Marion, Eutaw, Demopolis, Greensboro, York, Livingston, Reform, Gordo, Aliceville, Berry, Winfield, and Hamilton.
The Level 4 Moderate Risk now includes Haleyville, Cullman, Hanceville, Oneonta, Gadsden, Anniston, Pell City, Talladega, Heflin, Alexander City, Auburn, Selma, Montgomery, Fort Deposit, and Sweet Water.
The Level 3 Enhanced Risk continues for Troy, Brundidge, Clio, Eufaula, Union Springs, Smiths Station, Phenix City, Opelika, and Valley.
While there are three different risk levels across Central Alabama, please do not get caught up on the colors or what risk level you are under at your location. Everyone in Central Alabama will have a significant threat of severe storms with tornadoes (some of which may be of the violent long-track variety), damaging winds up to and potentially exceeding 80 MPH, and damaging hail up to a tennis ball in size.
Timing for today’s threat will be from 1 pm this afternoon through the rest of your Wednesday and into Thursday morning until around 7 am. The threat will start around 1 pm for everyone across the area with the potential for scattered discrete supercellular thunderstorms that may produce those destructive tornadoes and large hail, along with damaging winds. After that, there will be a line of supercells that will move through the area with a cold front that will bring a continued threat of all modes of severe storms. Those should be out of the western-third of the area by 2 am, out of the central-third by 4 am, and completely out of the area by 7 am.
I cannot stress to you enough that you need to have your place of safety ready now. Your action plan ready now. If any portable device needs to be charged, charge them now. If you are in a mobile or manufactured home and do not have your own storm shelter at your location, be prepared to leave and go to a nearby shelter. If you do not know where your closest shelter is, find out now. Call your local fire department (not by 911) and they can give you that information or give you the phone number to the county or city organization that will have that information.
Have multiple ways to get warnings… smartphone weather apps (Baron Critical Weather), WEAs enabled on your cell phone, a NOAA Weather Radio, your TV set to one of your local news stations, or a trusty local radio station that you know will interrupt music for breaking weather alerts. Never rely just on a tornado siren, as they are for alerting people that are outdoors.
Stay weather aware throughout the entire day as this could quickly become a volatile situation. If you are on Twitter, follow @ScottMartinWx and have notifications turned on so you can receive instant alerts on watches, warnings, and any other important weather information.