Few Strong to Severe Storms Possible Tonight… Wednesday Update – 3:15pm #alwx @wvua23
December 28, 2016 Leave a comment
Good Wednesday afternoon! We continue to watch for the risk of a few strong to severe storms overnight tonight, as a strong cold front moves into Alabama during the late night hours. All of west and central Alabama is classified under a risk of strong to isolated severe storms tonight, so it will be a good idea to have a source of severe weather information to wake you up incase a warning is issued for your area.
This is an interesting setup and didn’t appear in the models to be favorable for strong to severe storms until lastnight. It’s not uncommon for these winter systems to throw a surprise or two, and fortunately, we caught this one early enough to give a heads up before tonight.
As the upper air trough digs southeast, upward motion in the atmosphere will develop over Alabama, as well as a fair low level jet. The low level jet will transport higher dewpoints into the state, with dewpoints ranging from 62 to 66 overnight. Higher dewpoints, warm surface temperatures and cooling air at around 18,000 feet will increase instability during the overnight hours. Typically, the air becomes more stable during the overnight, but this setup is unique in respect to the increasing environment capable of producing strong to a few isolated severe storms during the “usual” cool part of the night. CAPE will be ranging from 500 to 1,000 j/kg tonight, which is sufficient for a severe risk during the winter. Wind shear will increase overnight as well, leading to the concern for an isolated tornado or two. One positive note, surface winds will be generally out of the southwest during this event. A southwest surface wind tends to limit tornado formation, rather than a more favorable south to southeast surface wind which would tend to enhance a tornado threat. That being said, it still possible to get a spin-up tornado in this environment tonight…
What to expect: Other than a few isolated showers, our local weather will remain quiet through atleast 9pm. By 10pm, a line of storms should have developed between Tupelo and Memphis and will slide southeast into northwest Alabama between 10pm and midnight. A few storms could develop ahead of the main line between 10pm and midnight in areas to the northwest of I-59 (to the northwest of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Gadsden). Any storms within the line and ahead of the line will be capable of producing isolated wind damage and an isolated tornado or two.
The risk of strong to severe storms will increase along the I-59 corridor (near Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Gadsden) between 11pm and 3am. Storms in this area listed will also be capable of producing isolated wind damage and an isolated tornado or two.
After 3am, the line of strong to isolated severe storms and isolated strong to severe storms ahead of the main line will shift well south of I-59, impacting areas near Demopolis, Clanton, and Rockford generally between 2am and 5am tonight. Storms will be capable of producing an isolated tornado and an isolated damaging wind gust in this zone listed as well.
Keep in mind, we go live non-stop on TV on WVUA during tornado warnings. You can go to wvua23.com, scroll to the weather tab and click on Live severe weather stream to watch from your computer or smart phone.
For more updates, go to the weather blog at wvua23.com, scroll to the weather tab and click weather blog. Updates are also on our Facebook and Twitter page. My twitter is @RichardWVUA23 and facebook is WVUA23RichardScott
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WVUA Chief Meteorologist