James Spann: Watch out for strong storms in Alabama this weekend

James Spann: Severe weather possible in Alabama Saturday from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

WARM, DRY TODAY: We will forecast one more warm, dry day for Alabama; the sky will be partly to mostly sunny today with a gusty south wind developing this afternoon averaging 12-22 mph. The high will be at or just over 80 degrees for most places. To the west, severe storms will likely form this afternoon and tonight over parts of east Oklahoma, east Texas, north Louisiana and much of Arkansas ahead of a deep surface low near Omaha. Blizzard conditions will develop north and west of that low.

STORMY WEEKEND: The Storm Prediction Center has much of Alabama in an enhanced risk of severe storms tomorrow, in a broad zone from Huntsville to Mobile, with a slight risk for other parts of the state.

Let me say up front there is still some uncertainty in the way the event unfolds tomorrow, so there could be changes in this forecast later today or tonight. Keep an eye out for updates.

TIMING: A line of storms will be rolling through north Mississippi early tomorrow morning, but most likely weakening as they approach the Alabama border. Showers, and possibly some thunder, are possible tomorrow morning over the western half of the state, but I still believe the core threat of severe storms will come later in the day when the air will be more unstable. The main window for severe storms will be from 3 p.m. tomorrow through 3 a.m. Sunday.

THREATS: Much will depend on how any morning showers or storms impact instability values later in the day and tomorrow night. For now we believe the main threat with the heavier storms will come from gusty, potentially damaging straight-line winds. The storm mode seems to be mainly linear, but we will still have the potential for a tornado or two, especially where there are breaks in the line. Some hail is possible as well.

FLOODING POTENTIAL: Flash flood watches are in effect to the west of Alabama for much of Mississippi and west Tennessee, and I would not be surprised if we had some flooding problems over west Alabama by tomorrow night; rain amounts of 2 to 3 inches are likely, with isolated totals to 4 inches. Rain totals for east Alabama will be generally under 2 inches.

DON’T MISS A WARNING: There are many outdoor events tomorrow. 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.

Storms will exit the state very early Sunday; the day Sunday will be mostly cloudy, breezy and much cooler, with temperatures generally in the 50s during the day. There might be a touch of light rain or drizzle.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks dry with sunny days and fair nights. Mornings will be cold early in the week. Growers need to know that frost is possible Tuesday morning with lows in the mid 30s in many parts of north and central Alabama; traditionally colder spots could see a light freeze. This will be the last frost/freeze threat of the season for most communities.

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