James Spann: Potential for severe storms in Alabama this weekend

SUNNY, WARM DAY: Temperatures are hovering around 80 degrees this afternoon with a sunny sky across Alabama. But, to the west, the weather is getting very active with everything from blizzard conditions to a PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch.

THE ALABAMA SITUATION SATURDAY: The Storm Prediction Center maintains an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms for much of Alabama Saturday in a broad zone from Huntsville to Mobile; the standard slight risk continues for the rest of the state.

TIMING: There is increasing confidence that Saturday morning will be quiet across the state — mostly dry with only a few isolated showers over west Alabama. A line of strong to severe storms will enter west Alabama around 2-3 p.m., reaching Tuscaloosa around 4-5, Birmingham 6-7, and then on into east Alabama, reaching Anniston/Gadsden by 9. Our core 12-hour window for severe storms statewide is now from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m.

THREATS: The main threat will be from damaging straight-line winds, but a few tornadoes are possible. In fact, the SPC now has a hatched area on its outlook for Saturday that suggests potential for a few strong tornadoes over west Alabama and parts of east and south Mississippi. Storms could also produce hail.

FLOODING: Flash flood watches have been issued for parts of northwest and southwest Alabama, but any place west of I-65 should see 2-3 inches of rain with potential for some flooding. Amounts over east Alabama will be in the 1- to 2-inch range for most places.

DON’T MISS A WARNING: There are many outdoor events Saturday. Just be sure you have a good way of hearing warnings if they are needed. Every home and business in Alabama needs a NOAA Weather Radio, and your phone needs a good app designed for warnings, like WeatherRadio by WDT. Never rely on an outdoor siren.

SUNDAY: Storms will exit the state early Sunday; the day will be mostly cloudy, breezy and much cooler, with temperatures holding in the 50s. A bit of light rain or drizzle is possible in spots on the back side of the departing storm system.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks dry; a cold front should pass through in dry fashion Wednesday, pulling down another surge of drier air for the end of the week. Mornings will be chilly; there is potential for some frost over the northern half of the state early Tuesday morning. Growers will need to keep an eye on forecasts.

BEACH FORECAST: Click here to see the AlabamaWx Beach Forecast Center page.

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For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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