High temperatures and high humidity = high instability
CAPE (Convective available potential energy) levels as of 2:30PM are very high:
Strong instability = CAPE values from 2500 j/kg to 4000 j/kg
Extreme instability = CAPE values greater than 4000 j/kg
Values give you an idea of potential updraft strength of a storm forming in that environment.
*You'll notice that east Alabama has the highest instability. The taller a storm can grow combined with a strong updraft means a better chance that large hail can form within and that the storm could produce damaging straight line winds.
The map above shows where the greatest microburst potential is today and east Alabama is included. A microburst is an intense downdraft of air that moves downward until it hits the ground and then it spreads out in all directions. Winds from a microburst can exceed 60 mph and can knock down trees and cause structural damage.
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for east central Alabama until 9PM.
The Fox 6 Storm Warn Team will be monitoring radar trends this afternoon for pulse thunderstorm development. Storms that form could easily turn severe today, especially east of I-65 where it is most unstable. The strongest of the storms will be capable of producing 70 mph winds and 1.5" diameter hail.
There is not much wind in the atmosphere to steer the storms today and so they will be slow movers. That means, heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding in some areas. Without much wind in the atmosphere, storms will be pulse-like in nature. The updraft will not be separated from the downdraft region and so once the storm collapses it will weaken and then spawn new development nearby. It's during the downdraft stage or mature stage of the storm when you can get severe weather.
We'll keep you posted as to whether any strong or severe storms form. Chief Meteorologist J-P Dice will do brief top-of-the-hour cut-ins on Fox 6. You can also keep an eye on the radar using the WBRC Weather App and if you haven't already, you can sign up for text alerts by going to www.myfoxal.com/weather.
Stay weather aware today, especially if your county is included in the watch,
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist