The latest Mesoscale Discussion from the Storm Prediction Center has much of the western half of Central Alabama highlighted in an area where a very moist and unstable airmass will be able to support the formation of strong to severe thunderstorms with the potential for wind gusts of 50-70 mph. While there is no current severe weather risk outline for the area, they are mentioning including a level 1/5 Marginal Risk for a good portion of that highlighted area, with a level 2/5 Slight Risk for a smaller portion. At this point, the severe threat will be from roughly noon until 9 pm tonight, mainly for locations west of a line from Smith Lake to Uniontown. We will also have to watch for heavy rainfall amounts in these storms and for the potential of minor flooding issues. The next Day 1 Severe Weather Outlook will be released at 11:30 am CDT this morning.
Now switching gears to the southwestern Gulf of Mexico over the Bay of Campeche where a low has developed and is producing plenty of clouds and showers. The National Hurricane Center has classified this area as Invest 92L, and they are forecasting that there will be some slow strengthening over the next several days when a depression may form by mid to late into the work week ahead. It has been given a 50% chance of forming into at least a depression within the next five days.
The GFS has the system eventually getting its act together and moving northward across the western Gulf of Mexico and eventually making a landfall on the western Louisiana coast as a tropical storm on Monday, June 21st. It will continue to move northeasterly and potentially bring tropical downpours to Central Alabama from the 21st through the 23rd. Since we would be on the eastern side of the center, we may have to watch for a few brief spin-up tropical-style tornadoes IF this scenario pans out. This is just model guidance, NOT a forecast.
The European model also has the system moving northward and making landfall as a depression or a very weak tropical storm on the central Louisiana coast earlier at midday on Saturday, June 19th. It will slowly move northeastward as well and looks to be pulled into a trough that will keep tropical rain over Central Alabama through the end of the model run on Tuesday night, June 22nd. Once again, this is just model guidance, NOT a forecast.
If you are heading to the beach during that time frame, don’t change any plans for now. While these two model runs show the potential for an impact along the Gulf Coast, it is still way too early to know exactly where Invest 92L will go. Once it gets more organized and strengthens into a depression, the National Hurricane Center will post the cone graphics that we are used too. By the way, if 92L does become a tropical storm, it will be named Bill.