MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Scattered showers will continue overnight tonight, but nothing severe is expected. That all changes tomorrow, though.
First Alert Weather Day Issued for Saturday: A strong line of storms will bring a risk of damaging wind and tornadoes to Alabama as early as 9am in the western counties and as late as 9pm in the eastern counties.
At the surface, warm, muggy air will rush from the Gulf into our atmosphere, and aloft, wind speeds crank up as the upper trough deepens. These ingredients will set the stage for a powerful round of thunderstorms to form west of here Friday, then move into Alabama on Saturday.
Timing: Severe storms could develop as early as 9am in western counties. The risk moves east throughout the end, ending by 9pm in eastern counties.
This is subject to change, so it is vital that you check back for updates often!
Impacts/Threats: Pockets of wind damage, isolated tornadoes and some flooding are all possible within this line. The risk of wind damage is likely substantial and unlike any recent event we have seen. This isn’t your typical “straight line wind” risk. Intense storm cores could produce 70+ mph wind in a few spots. There may be times Saturday where we ask you to go to your tornado safe place with no tornado around - just because of the wind.
Important to Remember: Power outages could occur before the main line of severe storms arrives, make sure to charge your electronic devices Friday night, and for as long as possible Saturday. That way you’ll still be able to receive weather alerts and stream our live coverage on the First Alert Weather App in the case of an outage.
The tornado risk has increased with new model guidance, and our entire area is now under a medium risk of tornadoes. Within the main line, there could be some embedded pockets of rotation that create tornadoes, and out ahead of the line, individual, discrete storms could increase the tornado risk. Any tornadoes that form Saturday could form with little advance warning. You need to check the weather often and be ready to move quickly.
Call to Action: If you live in a mobile home: now is the time to figure out where you’d go if 70+ mph wind and/or a tornado approaches. You can’t stay in the mobile home. We suggest going to your safe place BEFORE the tornado warning if it takes you more than five minutes to reach the closest permanent structure.
If you live in a permanent, site-built home: now is the time to pick the safest place in your home. Lowest floor; bathroom, hallway or closet. In that safe place, have phone chargers, helmets and sturdy shoes for everyone to wear.
Sirens are dumb. Phones are smart. Which one do you think you should rely on? Yup, download our weather app and enable WEA alerts. Weather radio is an excellent backup option. Sirens can not reliably warn you of approaching bad weather, period. You need multiple, reliable ways of getting weather warnings.
Any Uncertainty? Yes. Small scale processes could increase or decrease the overall risk of severe weather. And, there are also questions regarding the “mode” of storm development - clusters, lines or individual cells - that will increase or decrease the risk. Not everyone will have damaging wind or tornadoes. Many of you won’t, in fact. For most of you, it’s just rain and wind. But, in spots, there could be big problems and life-threatening weather. That’s how these days always go.
Bottom Line: You should be prepared. You should NOT be scared. We’ve done this before with days like this, we’ll do it again. If you take the advice posted here, you have incredibly high odds of being just fine. You have your own personal team of meteorologists at WSFA, NWS and the Storm Prediction Center, all incredibly dedicated to keeping you informed.