AS OF 4 P.M.: The severe weather threat is now over across Central Alabama.
3:10 PM UPDATE: ALL CLEAR for Gadsden, Anniston, Talladega, and Sylacauga and areas to the west.
For areas east, still dealing with severe storms with damaging winds 60-70mph, and also the threat for a brief torando. All of this activity will be out of the state in the next hour, hour and a half.
2:40 PM UPDATE: Areas along and West of I-65 are ALL CLEAR from severe weather. The areas of concern now are in Eastern Alabama, in places such as Anniston, Jacksonville, Alexander City, all the way to the AL/GA state line. Main threats right now are still damaging winds 60-70mph, perhaps higher, and lots of heavy rain which is leading to some localized flooding. There are a few areas of rotation along this line, but there is nothing tornadic right now.
1:50 PM UPDATE: The line of severe storms is now impacting Eastern Alabama such as Gadsden down to Pell City and towards Sylacauga, along with parts of the I-65 corridor, south of Birmingham. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings continue for the majority of Central Alabama, east of I-65. Winds gusting to 60-70mph are the main threats right now. An isolated tornado is still possible, but there are no active Tornado Warnings right now.
1:20 PM UPDATE: Severe storms are now moving east of the Birmingham area but are now moving into parts of Eastern Alabama. There is still part of the line that is impacting parts of the southern Birmingham metro area. Still seeing winds of 60-70mph and an isolated tornado threat. There are no active Tornado Warnings for our area right now.
1:00 PM UPDATE: Severe storms are currently moving through Birmingham and the I-65 corridor. Winds of 60-70mph along with some isolated tornadoes are still threats.
Power outages are occurring across a lot of areas as this line is moving through.
12:25 PM UPDATE: Line of severe storms are now moving across the I-65 Corridor. Storms are getting close to the Birmingham metro area. Damaging winds up to 70mph, perhaps higher, and isolated tornadoes are threats.
The National Weather Service’s Birmingham office confirmed on Twitter that there are three fatalities near Carrollton in Pickens County.
12:00 PM UPDATE: Line of severe storms continues to move across Western Alabama. Tornado warnings and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are in effect across the Fayette and Walker County areas along with Tuscaloosa and Jefferson County.
11:00 AM UPDATE: (WARNINGS CANCELLED) Tornado Warnings for Greene and Sumter Counties until 11:30 AM and for Pickens County until 12 PM! Storm will be impacting Aliceville around 11:10 AM and Carollton around 11:20 AM.
10:50 AM UPDATE: (WARNINGS CANCELLED) Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Greene, Pickens, and Sumter Counties until 11:30 AM. Wind gusts up to 60mph, perhaps higher, are likely with this line moving in from the west. Still watching for the threat of an isolated tornado within the line.
10:30 AM UPDATE: We’ve had several reports of trees and power lines down across Central Alabama. These reports are associated with strong winds out ahead of the line of severe storms. Counties including Jefferson, Walker, Talladega, Calhoun and Lamar all have had reports. Wind gusts of 40-50 mph are likely before the storms arrive. Then, as the squall line pushes through, winds of 60+ mph are possible.
9 AM UPDATE:
Chief Meteorologist Ashley Gann provides the latest on Facebook:
7:30 AM UPDATE – A Tornado Watch is in effect for our NW Counties (Marion, Lamar, Winston, Fayette, Walker, Cullman) until 1 PM. Damaging winds and a few tornadoes are possible with the northern, leading edge of this squall line.
The CBS 42 Storm Team has issued a WEATHER ALERT for the potential for severe weather today. While the exact timing and threats will unfold as we inch closer, here’s an in depth look at what the Storm Team is looking at for this event. While this may get technical at times, keep reading because the goal is to explain these complex meteorological processes in an easy to understand manner.
WATCH: Weather Alert
SETUP: A deep upper level trough will dig through the Southern Plains today and pass through the Deep South tomorrow. The low pressure system will pass to our north, likely through Arkansas and into the Ohio Valley, with a cold front extending through Alabama tomorrow afternoon.
While this may sound complicated, think of this as a spinning top (turning counter clockwise). Winds ahead of the top (the low) are streaming around the circulation really fast from the south. Behind the area of low pressure, winds are circling around really fast from the north.
You can imagine how this impacts our area with the warm, moist air over the Gulf of Mexico being pulled up across Central Alabama and then a much colder air mass racing in behind the warm air as the low moves to the east. Where the two air masses meet, that’s the cold front (the blue line on a weather map). So, as the cold front approaches the state and eventually moves through Central Alabama, this will be our window for severe weather.
Some of the ingredients we look at are highlighted below:
INSTABILITY (CAPE or Convective Available Potential Energy): What really helps to enhance the amount of instability (and the potential for severe weather) is having colder air higher up in the atmosphere and warmer air at the surface. With strong winds out of the south, it does look like the warm air will definitely be in place. It’s going to be WARM and MUGGY when you wake up on Saturday morning. But, as the cold front approaches, it does look like the temperature difference higher up in the atmosphere is not high enough to support more impressive instability. TIMING is going to be everything with this setup. If the cold front approaches earlier in the day, this will limit the amount of instability (i.e. severe weather potential will be lower). However, a later timing will be more favorable for severe thunderstorms. Think of how much the sun helps to warm things up in the afternoon (warming= more instability).
It should be noted, the timing WILL change as we get closer to the severe weather event. So, for now, this is just a rough estimate on the timing. The onset of storms and the possibility of severe weather looks to occur in west Alabama between 8 AM and Noon, near the I-65 between 11 AM and 2 PM, then in east Alabama from 1 PM to 5 PM. This time frame is ideal for severe storm development.
THREATS: While there is still uncertainty with the forecast (as mentioned above with questions about timing and the amount of instability, etc.), this setup suggests the potential for all modes of severe weather. Tornadoes and damaging winds appear to be the main concern. However, since we’ve gotten so much rainfall recently, localized flooding will be possible.
HOW TO PREPARE: We are trying to give you enough advanced warning of the potential for severe weather in the hopes that this will give you ample time to make arrangements and spread the word. Hopefully, no one will be caught off guard. There is no reason to panic. With a little bit of preparation and plan, you can ensure your family’s safety.
- If you live in manufactured housing: Riding out the storm in a mobile/manufactured house is NEVER a safe option. Have a plan of where you will go, whether it is a storm shelter or a neighbor’s home with well-built construction. Contact your local county EMA office if you are unsure about the location of a storm shelter near you. When should you seek shelter? The answer is NOT to wait until a tornado warning. This may not give you enough time! When a TORNADO WATCH is issued that’s when you should be putting your plan into action. A WATCH means that ingredients are favorable for tornadoes, where as a WARNING is an imminent threat and alert that a tornado is potentially moving your direction.
- Know your location on a map: Make sure you can point out your location on a map and that you know what county you are in. Throughout Saturday, make sure you know where the current warnings are. You can do this by watching CBS 42, going to CBS42.com or checking our social media pages. It’s important to know where the current warnings are so that you can see what is heading your way. This will give you more advanced notice than simply waiting on a tornado warning to be issued.
- Have a way to warn you: Have your NOAA weather radio ready to go. Have your cellphone charged. Download the CBS 42 Storm Team Weather App and turn the location services on to get the latest warnings for your area.