We are bracing for another HIGH IMPACT severe weather event tomorrow evening. This includes a threat for strong tornadoes including those that create EF3 and above damage. The atmosphere will get primed today with a warm front lifting to the north during the afternoon. In fact, a few strong storms are not out of the question later today as we become more and more unstable. Temperatures will climb into the mid to 70s this afternoon with a strong southerly wind. We'll be even warmer tomorrow with highs reaching 80. Models suggest two low pressure areas forming - the one just to our north will increase wind shear with low level winds reaching over 60kts during the afternoon and evening.
TIMEFRAME: We could see supercell thunderstorms developing ahead of the front as early as 6-7pm. It appears the main threat will come after 10pm and last through much of the overnight into early Saturday morning. I don't anticipate the threat to be over until 6am Saturday.
MAIN CONCERNS: Long-track strong tornadoes and damaging straight-line winds. We could see all modes of severe weather with this event. I anticipate isolated cells to develop in the "warm sector" of this system ahead of the cool front. We will also see spin-ups embedded within the squall line during the overnight hours. While one of many indexes we use to forecast severe weather - the Significant Tornado Parameter is painting a major tornado threat across Alabama with values between 4-6. Values over three indicate a good potential for stronger and more violent tornadoes.
WHERE: It appears the threat will be widespread across the entire area. Models are suggesting the threat will be highest north of I-20. In Alabama - my greatest concern would be cities in and around Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Cullman, Birmingham, Hamilton, Florence, and Huntsville. In fact, I believe we will experience severe weather throughout Tennessee and Kentucky as well. This threat should not include areas south of Montgomery. The Storm Prediction Center shows the highest probability for severe weather (the 45% hatched) area in North Central Alabama.
CALL TO ACTION: This is the time you need to start thinking about your severe weather plan and have it in place. Make sure you have a method to get warnings - weather radio, mobile phone app, etc. I encourage multiple levels of warnings. If you have friends or neighbors that typically do not stay weather aware - make a point to call them today and give them a heads up about the threat. In addition - remember helmets for the kids.
You can sign up for FREE warnings through the SAFE-T-NET program. This works on your phone and mobile phone. myfoxal.com/safe
Do not rely on outdoor warning sirens. This is likely to be an overnight event lasting from late Friday night into early Saturday morning. If you live in a mobile home - make plans today to stay somewhere else.
We'll keep you updated here on Fox 6 both on-air and online.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist