Enjoy the warm weather while it is here. Another big change is on the way and this time it includes some strong thunderstorms followed by some chilly air. Models differ a little on the timing of the front, but I'm confident to say we'll be feeling the cooler air by Friday night. The question is what time does the rain and thunderstorms arrive? The system could be a severe weather maker just to our west for parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri. Models continue to show a well-defined line of storms Thursday ahead of the front. The line seems to loose much of its definition as it arrives into Alabama turning into thunderstorms and widespread rain.
The graphic below shows the Significant Tornado Parameter based on the NAM for late Thursday morning. You can clearly see the highest risk for severe storms across Eastern Oklahoma and Kansas at that time. The threat will continue to move to the east through the day losing much of the wind shear as it gets closer to Alabama.
By late Thursday night most of the line of thunderstorms is still expected to be west of Alabama. Right now, the greatest risk for strong to severe storms appears to be areas west of I-65 as the system moves in early Friday morning. This will likely be an overnight event so I encourage everyone to make sure their NOAA weather radio is working and set properly.
The main risk with this system will be isolated gusty straight-line winds. We could have winds in excess of 50mph in a few places. The system is expected to turn into more of a rain event early Friday during the morning commute. We're watching the system closely, but see no reason to believe tornadoes will be a threat across Alabama. The NAM is indicating widespread rain on Friday morning.
By Friday afternoon and evening, most of the rain will have pushed to the east making for pleasant conditions for high school football games. It's possible we could have a few lingering showers during the early evening for portions of East Alabama. The graphic below shows the forecast position of rain during the early afternoon Friday.
Overall, the rain chances later in the day Friday should decrease quite a bit. Expect the winds to increase out of the Northwest with cooler temperatures. In fact, temperatures Friday evening will quickly fall into the upper 50s with overnight lows in the 40s.
You'll feel the effects of the front when you wake up Saturday. Temperatures in some places will be in the mid 40s with highs in the 70s. Mostly sunny skies will remain in the weekend forecast as cool air and high pressure build behind the system.
I'll have more details on Fox6 News later this evening.
Fox6 Chief Meteorologist