Today is the calm before the storm. Satellite imagery is showing a clear sky across most of the state. The focus of thunderstorms today will be along the Mississippi River and most likely west of I-55.
If you're not a diehard weather junkie - you may not completely understand this map. But - I will break it down. The colors indicate extreme CAPE (measurement of atmospheric instability). The contour lines to the north show where the helicity is highest. The higher the helicity the better the chances of a storm becoming tornadic. If you notice the helicity and CAPE do not match - this is GOOD because it decreases our tornado threat.
Timeframe: 5pm Thursday through 6am Friday.
Location: Most intense storms will likely develop North of I-20/59 and West of I-65. People who live in Marion, Lamar, Winston, Cullman, Walker, Tuscaloosa, and West Jefferson County should pay particular attention to the weather. The storms will eventually move eastward, but will not be quite as strong.
What to Expect: You will notice towering cumulus clouds during the afternoon. When the storms develop - very large hail over 1" is possible with thunderstorm winds over 60mph are possible. The lightning will be intense with these storms.
How to Prepare: Make sure your NOAA weather radio is working since a portion of this severe weather may occur at night. Pick up any loose items in the yard. Remember - furniture and patio umbrellas could go flying through a window. I lost a few umbrellas myself suring severe weather. If you have a garage - make sure the car is parked inside. While there is virtually no tornado threat - these winds can still do tornado like damage.
Stay weather alert with the help of Fox 6. We'll be tracking the storms on-air and online tomorrow. I will be there along with Wes Wyatt, Mickey Ferguson, and Dr. Tim Coleman.
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Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist