MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A new day brings a fresh change in weather across the state of Alabama. The threat for severe thunderstorms has now passed. But a very deep area of low pressure continues to churn to our north, and the difference in pressure will keep very windy conditions in place across our region for much of the day. We're looking ahead to sunnier (and eventually warmer) days while also taking a moment to do some Monday morning quarterbacking on a Wednesday...
WHAT HAPPENED? It's standard practice at WSFA to look back on how a severe weather event unfolded. It's safe to say last night's severe weather episode was one of the more hyped events we've had in some time. And justifiably so. On paper, the ingredients for a significant severe weather outbreak were concerning. This storm system proved deadly. There were numerous severe weather reports stretching from Louisiana into Mississippi, Florida to Georgia with local issues in the mix too.
But astute viewers no doubt noticed a general lack of severe weather issues playing out across much of central and south Alabama. Don't get me wrong...we had big problems across the Wiregrass. But there was a lull in severe weather activity outside of southeast Alabama. Almost as if a force field of protection had been set up in advance. While the force field theory can certainly be argued, there's a scientific argument to be made that points toward a little luck in our favor.
By late afternoon and early evening we were watching two distinct areas of convection. The first was an organized line approaching the Mississippi/Alabama border. Multiple Warnings were ongoing at that time. A second complex of supercells was noted in the northern Gulf of Mexico. By late evening, a changing of the guard was unfolding. The Gulf storms were starting to take over, strengthening and stripping energy from the western line near the state border. As the Gulf storms ramped up, the west Alabama line died down. This resulted in a distinct lull in overall storm intensity. Eventually, the growing Gulf convection moved across the Florida panhandle and into the Wiregrass. That's where the bulk of our issues were found. But by that point, most of central Alabama had been put in the highly fortunate position of "missing" the best energy for severe weather.
This is a very lucky small scale set of circumstances that played in our favor. Forecasting severe weather is a delicate balance of large scale synoptic forecasting (which can be detailed days in advance) and small mesoscale details that play out in real time. How those two factors interact gets you to your end result. The large scale blueprint was ugly. But the small scale played just enough of a role for us to escape widespread harm. We won the severe weather lotto in that regard.
The National Weather Service will spend the day surveying damage and assessing where possible tornadoes struck. The link below will take you to a page with continuous updates on damage and power outage info across the Wiregrass:
TODAY: Can't rule out a passing shower or two at most any point today. But there should also be a few breaks of sunshine from time to time. Temperatures will slowly fall into the 50s through the afternoon as westerly winds continue to howl.
Winds could gust as high as 40 mph at times today.
7-DAY: Skies clear out and give way to sunshine beginning tomorrow and lasting into the weekend. While Thursday and Friday will be on the cool side, warmer air returns this weekend. Temps could flirt with 70 degrees by Sunday setting the stage for a spectacular weekend ahead.