Local and Irma Forecast Update, 8:20pm. #wxal @wvua23

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Good Saturday evening! The weather across central Alabama was very nice today with plenty of sunshine and highs in the 80’s. Tonight, skies remain clear allowing for a cool, clear, crisp evening for outdoor plans. Tomorrow will close off the weekend with more pleasant weather. Highs will again be in the 80’s and there will be plenty of sun.

As we head into the work week, the forecast makes a sudden change. Irma’s track has continued to shifted slightly further west than previous model projections. This shift is now bringing the system more into Alabama. Monday we will start to see building clouds throughout the day and gustier conditions. Later in the afternoon and as we head into the overnight hours, rain bands will start to move into central Alabama bringing numerous storms. The showers, storms, and gusty winds will last into Tuesday for most of the day. As we move into Wednesday though, the remains of Irma will move out of Alabama and be dramatically diminished in strength. Highs Tuesday and Wednesday will be very cool from the strong winds and very thick cloud cover preventing any real significant day-time heating. Please observe the attached pictures for central Alabama impacts from the winds and rain:

The remainder of the work week returns to normal and a gradual warming trend takes place. By Friday, skies will be back to clear conditions. Heading into next weekend, the forecast will be dry and pleasant with highs back in the 80’s and plenty of sun.

Turning to the tropics-

Irma has weakened to a category 3 hurricane from battling with the terrain of Cuba. Let this not deceive you though, once the storm shifts northward into the outskirts of the Gulf, heading towards Florida, the storm will quickly re-strengthen and intensify. The Gulf has prime accommodations currently for storm growth. Once Irma strengthens again into at least a category 4 storm, it will start to clash with the western coast of Florida. Intensification projections at this point are very tough; one small shift to the west could mean that Irma’s eye will remain in the Gulf and remain a significantly powerful storm all the way to the Florida Panhandle. For now, model projections have the eye moving just over onto land, allowing the storm to weaken as it moves up the Florida Coast. Once to the Panhandle, Irma will continue to weaken as it start to move northwestward, through southern Georgia and into Alabama. Once the storm arrives to Alabama, it will be tropical depression strength. By the middle of the following week, Irma will be vacated out by a trough.

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Jose is still a category 4 hurricane moving very slowly to the northwest at 14 mph. For at least the next several days Jose will continue to take this track before it stalls in the middle of the Atlantic temporarily. During this time, Jose will likely remain roughly the same intensity since there will be limited amounts of shear to disorganize the storm and sea surface temperatures will remain conducive for a larger tropical system. From there, models are inconsistent on the storm path. For that reason, we will continue to monitor Jose, along with Irma, over the next several days.

Reggie Roakes