First Alert: Rain chance ramps up Thursday

Much colder air looms next week

Alabama's weather stays wild

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An active weather pattern takes hold of the Southeast over the next 7 to 10 days, one complete with rain, some storms, warm weather and then a sharp change to Arctic air and subfreezing morning lows next week. Buckle up, March is always a wild weather month, and the 2019 edition will be no exception.

First, we continue to monitor river levels in west Alabama. The primary areas of concern are the Tombigbee/Black Warrior rivers in Marengo County, and the Alabama River in Wilcox and Monroe counties. For Demopolis, the river is now above 80 feet, which is as high as we have seen the Tombigbee since 2004. I am going to Demopolis tomorrow to provide live coverage of the historic flooding there.

Water levels continue to rise along the Tombigbee River
Water levels continue to rise along the Tombigbee River

Along the Alabama River, the situation is not quite as severe. Still, we are right around flood stage at Montgomery, and above flood stage at both Millers Ferry and Claiborne Dam in Monroe County. Elsewhere, the river is high but below flood stage at Benton and Selma.

The Alabama River will slowly rise this week at Claiborne Dam.
The Alabama River will slowly rise this week at Claiborne Dam.

Rain chances increase on Thursday, as a shortwave trough pivots over the top of a warm, moist environment. This will likely be enough to kick off a few thunderstorms, some of which could be strong or severe. The main concern would be a few isolated damaging wind gusts, mainly south of Montgomery. The Storm Prediction Center has outlooked south Alabama in a “Marginal" (1 out of 5) risk for Thursday.

Storms are possible on Thursday, and a few of them could be strong in south Alabama.
Storms are possible on Thursday, and a few of them could be strong in south Alabama.

Rain and occasional thunderstorms linger into Friday and Saturday, but the upper support lifts out and we think severe weather is unlikely. A cold front slices through the state Saturday, ushering in a sharp change to colder weather as Arctic air plunges deep into the Southeast.

Arctic air spills southward next week.
Arctic air spills southward next week.

While the precise numbers are still in question, we believe the potential exists for subfreezing morning lows and cold afternoons next week. Protective measures for blooming fruit trees (peaches, I’m looking at you) and plants will likely be necessary next week.

Josh Johnson, WSFA First Alert Chief Meteorologist

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