TORNADO WATCH until 5 a.m. for much of central Alabama


Severe Weather Threat Today

1:33 a.m. UPDATE: The line of rain and thunderstorms is moving into Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Gadsden. Nothing is severe right now, but you can expect some heavy rain and gusty winds of 40 mph. This will continue for the next hour as they move to the SE.

1:00 a.m. UPDATE: The tornado watch for Fayette, Pickens and Walker Counties has expired.

10:50 p.m. UPDATE: NEW Tornado Watch until 5:00 AM for all of central Alabama. Thunderstorms are expected to increase in coverage ahead and along a squall line. These storms will be capable of a few tornadoes and damaging winds.

8:30 Update: A cold front is moving into Alabama and producing some very active wether for North Alabama. We are not our of the woods for central Alabama, but there are some limiting factors as we head deeper into the evening. Make no mistake, the threat is NOT over, but the current storms are hitting some atmospheric roadblocks that are preventing them from exploding. The night is still young, and we will be here tracking every minute of these storms.

Additionally, the better chance for severe weather has shifted more to the NW, and the Level 3/5 Enhanced Risk has been shifted to only include NW Alabama. The rest of central Alabama is in a Level 2/5 Slight Risk. HOWEVER, this does not mean we can put our guard down. Both areas could see damaging winds, a few tornadoes, large hail and heavy rain. Remember last Wednesday we had tornadoes while we were under a Level 2/5 Slight Risk. You still need to be WEATHER ALERT this evening and overnight.

Heavy Rain: There is a threat for some heavy rain. With the ground already saturated from the rain this week, most of the rain will run off. This will lead to possible flash flooding.

Gusty Winds: there will be a strong pressure gradient (difference between high and low pressure) before the storms develop, there will be strong southerly winds across the region. Wind speeds of 15-25 mph with gusts to 40 mph are possible. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 4:00 AM Sunday morning for all of central Alabama. Please secure any Christmas decorations.

This is all from a very warm and humid air mass over us today. We had record high temperatures in the lower 80s. A strong cold front will move across Alabama tonight. A few thunderstorms could form ahead of the cold front, and they are the ones producing tornadoes.

Overnight, a squall line is expected to move through with the cold front, and this will bring us a damaging wind threat. Temperatures will be in the 60s around midnight, but will fall through the morning into the 50s.

Remember we are in the middle of our severe weather season, so this is common for January 1st.

Most of the strong to severe storms will occur while it is dark. Please make sure to have multiple ways to get severe weather warnings today/tonight. Have a severe weather plan. Please check back for updates here and on CBS 42. Stay safe and WEATHER ALERT!

Sunday: it will be a MUCH COLDER, breezy, and wet day in the wake of the cold front. The severe weather threat will be over, but we will have some lingering showers. It is possible that some of the rain will mix with sleet or some flurries. No accumulation is expected since the ground is very warm. High temperatures in the 50s will occur in the morning, and the temperatures will fall to the 30s during the afternoon. The winds will make it feel even colder. Any rain/sleet/flurries will end by Monday morning. We will be cold and breezy with low temperatures in the 20s.

Next Week Outlook: We start the new week cold as an area of high pressure builds east across the Southeast U.S. Monday will be sunny with high temperatures only in the 40s. Monday night will be clear and cold with lows in the 20s again. The area of high pressure will move east of Alabama on Tuesday, and this will slowly bring back southerly winds. We will be mostly sunny and a tad warmer with highs in the 50s. The southerly winds will be back for the rest of the week. We will be partly cloudy Wednesday with highs back around 60. Another cold front will move toward us on Thursday and Friday. Rain will return each day with highs in the lower 60s.

Be sure to follow the CBS 42 Storm Team:

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Facebook: Chief Meteorologist Ashley GannMeteorologist Dave Nussbaum, and Meteorologist Michael Haynes

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