A surface low will be moving from Oklahoma through the Mid-Mississippi Valley and into the Ohio Valley on Thursday that will be swinging a strong cold front through the southeast, including North/Central Alabama.
Ahead of the cold front, we’ll have a good bit of moisture in place as dewpoints are modeled to be in the mid-60s, and mix that with high temperatures in the upper 60s to the mid 70s across the area, we can expect a decent bit of instability. We’ll also have strong low-level shear in place, which means the ingredients will be there for some of the storms that form ahead and along the cold front may become severe. The good news at this point is that models are showing that this system will be lacking the large-scale forcing needed for more widespread severe weather coverage. But, as you know with thunderstorms in Alabama… expect the unexpected.
The Storm Prediction Center continues to have a 15% probability of severe storms up for much of North/Central Alabama, the western half of Tennessee, the eastern two-thirds of Arkansas, and all of Louisiana except for the Gulf Coast. This is the equivalent of a level 2/5 Slight Risk for severe storms. Higher risk levels were omitted at this time due to the uncertainty of the lack of forcing and instability, but any small changes to the thermodynamic profile may result in those higher probabilities to be issued.
For North/Central Alabama, this means that rain and thunderstorms will be possible throughout the entire day on Thursday, with the main activity expected to move across the area from the early afternoon through the evening hours. The greatest threat for strong to severe storms will roughly be from 12 pm to 10 pm from northwest to southeast, but we’ll get a much clearer picture with the high-resolution models start to come in.
For now, the greatest threat will be from damaging wind gusts up to 60 MPH, with a much smaller threat of a few brief tornadoes and hail up to quarter size in diameter. Once again, those threats will be finely tuned when those high-res models start coming in.
Be sure to know where to go if a warning is issued for your location. Now is the time to be sure that your safe place is free from clutter and your safety supplies have been restocked and ready to go.
Have multiple ways to receive warnings and have those mobile devices fully charged and those weather apps installed. I’ll be back with more updates throughout the week on my blog and on my Meteorologist Scott Martin Facebook page. For the Twitter users, you can follow me at @ScottMartinWx.