Severe Storms on Thursday… Wednesday Forecast Update – 5:30pm #alwx @wvua23

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Good Wednesday afternoon! We are carefully watching for the risk of severe weather on Thursday, but first off, I don’t expect any issues this evening or before midnight tonight, as conditions will remain quiet. Moisture is rapidly increasing and will continue to do so through Thursday, as a strengthening low level jet pumps the primer for our local severe weather risk on Thursday.

Round 1…. We will deal with a large cluster of rain and storms during the early morning hours on Thursday, likely 3am to 9am. Rain will be heavy at times and that could lead to isolated flash flooding. Surface based instability will be lacking a bit in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, so I don’t really expect much of a tornado risk. Damaging winds and hail will be possible with the storms, and expect some lightning. Models suggest this round will totally dissipate as it moves east across Alabama. By the mid morning, there shouldn’t be anything left of that system.

Break… All models indicate we will get a break in the action between 9am and 3pm, with some sun possible in spots. This will allow instability to rapidly increase through the midday and into the afternoon hours. If round 1 totally dissipates and there’s no coastal convection to block inflow of gulf air northward and no widespread rain over our area, parameters could get really impressive during the afternoon hours over west Alabama and Mississippi.

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Round 2… The severity of this round will completely depend on what happens with round 1 and how much instability can work into our area. A limiting factor would be lingering rain or a gulf coast batch of storms or complex of storms. Again, that would limit the northward return of unstable air into the state. The limiting factors could really prevent major issues for our area if they even exist. Given the look of our high resolution model data, there should be a large enough break in the action to allow instability to rapidly increase. With increasing wind shear and uplift from the west, convection should fire sometime after 3pm Thursday and continue well into the late night hours. Some storms could be supercells, which would increase the tornado risk. Lets watch this very careful. As parameters increase during the overnight hours, we may actually see the severe weather risk through midnight, then gradually decrease before sunrise Friday morning. Flash flooding is another concern, with widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain likely. Our local area is under a flash flood watch through Friday night.

Tornado coverage… We will be on TV on WVUA non-stop during tornado warnings for all of west, central and east Alabama in the Birmingham TV market area. We can be heard live on Moody Radio 88.9fm in the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham area, 89.5fm in the Selma area, 91.9fm in the Dixons Mills area if you lose power.

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Things should calm down quickly in the pre-dawn hours Friday morning, as the cold front moves through the area. There could be a few showers through the mid morning, especially south of I-20. Temperatures will trend a little cooler for the weekend, especially at night, with lows in the 40s.

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Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott