Mild Through Tuesday, Strong Storms Ahead… Friday Evening Update 4:50 PM

A good Friday afternoon to you! It’s a lot warmer this afternoon, with many spots reaching the upper 60s to lower 70s. Skies are becoming mostly cloudy as a weak upper air disturbance moves in from the southwest. This system will zip on by tonight and early tomorrow. We will pick up a few showers, but rain will be rather light. Lift from the upper level disturbance and a weakening cold front will aid to enhance clouds across the deep south this evening through the weekend. The forecast does get rather complicated first thing next week, as a vigorous storm system moves this way.

The short term forecast is simple. Clouds will increase as well as low level moisture. A surface high positioned southeast of Alabama will continue to pump in lots of tropical moisture. Our dewpoints are in the 50s this afternoon, which is making conditions feel a little muggy. The upper air disturbance will initiate a few showers late tonight and on Saturday. As a weak cold front moves into the area, it will also help to enhance rain chances through the afternoon and evening hours on Saturday. The front will run out of upper air support and become stationary across central or north Alabama. It will be close enough to serve as a focal mechanism for showers and an isolated thunderstorm through the rest of the weekend and into Monday. Look for afternoon highs in the lower 70s to upper 60s through Tuesday, with lows in the 50s. While showers are a good bet Saturday through Monday, it will not rain all day and rain totals won’t be that heavy.

People are already asking about Tuesday’s storm system and whether we’re going to have any severe weather issues. First, this will not become an April 27th type of day. That was a perfect setup of severe weather that we will likely not see again for a long time. Some severe weather parameters will possibly match Tuesday afternoon through the overnight hours. A strong storm system will develop over the southern Rockies and Plains Sunday night and Monday. As this system moves east, a strong surface low will also develop over the northern Gulf and will track northeast. The exact track and strength of the low is critical to our severe weather risk on Tuesday. If the low deepens rapidly and moves north of our area, our chance of severe weather will increase. A track north of the area would allow more moisture and heat to advect in from the south; this would cause instability to increase. Models are marginal on instability at this point, but that could change in coming days. The dynamics, forcing and shear is very impressive with this system, so it won’t take that much instability to cause some problems.

The bottom line is that things could easily change over the next couple of days to a more or less severe weather look. Keep it here for the latest on our weather blog or live on WVUA-TV through the weekend. At this point, the primary concern is from damaging winds.

Much cooler air is set to arrive on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The coldest air will move in as the upper air trough really deepens on Thursday and Friday. I have a forecast high in the 50s, but some data has trended colder late in the week, and I may need to drop highs down a bit.

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WVUA Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott

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