First off let me say this. This severe weather threat will be nothing like the April 27th 2011 tornado outbreak, but there is a chance we will see some tornadoes and severe winds overnight tonight. So be weather aware! These storms will come through Alabama during the overnight hours when most people are asleep, so have a way to wake you up when a warning is issued, like a weather radio. Everyone should have those!
Today is way too warm for December. Temperatures will be in the mid 70’s, which will set record highs. And dewpoints will be in the low 70’s, feeling more like July. The air we are experiencing today is coming from Jamaica! With the moist and juicy air, there usually comes a cold front, and severe storms. Which we will see late this afternoon and into the overnight. Already to the west, storm are developing in Louisiana and Arkansas and tornado watches are being issued including Tennessee.
So what is the threat for Alabama? A deep trough is coming out of the southwest and a stationary front will be getting the move on today. Heavy snow is being generated in the northern sector of this system while other places are experiencing heavy rains which is causing flooding. The storm system will move through the southeast over the next 36 hours. To our west in the Mississippi Delta, they will experience supercell storms which will cause big tornadoes. Then a squall line with high winds will move through. That is why they are under a moderate risk for severe weather today.
West Alabama stands to see a better chance for a supercell severe storm which could cause a tornado. Here is the NAM for 7 pm on Saturday. It shows a chance for a supercell storm in Central Alabama.
Here is the day 1 severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. I expect the moderate risk to expand eastward.
Here is the radar for 1 pm central on Saturday December 21st from the NWS. All of this will be coming over Alabama later tonight.
So here is what to expect. Alabama will certainly see a strong squall line moving through overnight tonight. The line will have very strong winds and possible embedded tornadoes which will cause trees to fall and power lines to go down. If you have Christmas decorations outside, you might want to take them inside for tonight. Before the squall line arrives in Alabama, there is a chance we will see a few supercell storms which could cause tornadoes, a few strong. Most of this event will happen when it’s dark outside. Do not stand outside looking for a tornado, because you won’t see it and it might be rain-wrapped.
Before you go to sleep tonight, have a way to get the warnings when they are issued for your area. I would have your smartphone and/or weather radio next to your bed tonight. You may need to take shelter tonight, or you may not. It depends if a warning is issued for your area. Here is my map outlook for tonight, stay safe! I will keep people up to date on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nvyoung and on Twitter @nvyoung. Stay alert!
- Severe Weather Possible / 4-11-2013 (geekalabama.com)
- Severe Weather Threat Tonight (alabamawx.com)
- Significant Severe Weather Threat Developing Today and Tonight (valleywx.com)