MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - While patchy, it's nice to see a little sunshine this morning. Sunshine was a rare commodity on Easter Sunday as clouds and showers dominated a dreary forecast. A frontal boundary is sliding through the region as we speak...with little fanfare. No rain with this front. In fact, once it passes, sunshine will spill over much of the region into the afternoon. While the first half of the week appears quiet, it won't stay that way for the second half...
TODAY: Surface data indicates the front is working across central Alabama as we speak, noted by a subtle shift in wind direction and drop in dew points behind the boundary. That means the stickiness to the air will start to feel better as the day wears on as dew points fall into the 40s. Much comfier. Expect highs to climb into the middle 70s for much of central Alabama with a few 80 degree reading across the south. Winds turn NW behind the frontal passage.
TUESDAY: Sunshine dominates a stellar Tuesday with highs into the middle 70s. Nearly flawless!
WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY: As the middle part of the week approaches, our atmosphere will be undergoing a change. Moisture values will be increasing rapidly as winds push rich Gulf of Mexico moisture northward. The subtropical jet will start to ramp up, allowing a continued source of moisture to stream into the area. We anticipate the threat for rain developing from west to east late Wednesday...and this wet window may hang around through Friday.
Our forecast challenge is two-fold, centering around heavy rain and a threat for severe weather. Let's talk rain first.
Models have come down slightly from their impressive rainfall totals they had been spitting out over the last few days. However, we're still dealing with the potential for a lot of water. Fortunately, this water will arrive over a somewhat extended time period which should help mitigate flooding issues.
We've seen suggestions of rain in the 2-4" range Wednesday-Friday with trends toward the lower end of that spectrum. This has the feel to me of a scenario where we'll have spots that may have to deal with isolated flooding issues. But again, that 2-4" won't be falling in a few hours. It will be over a few days. Most should be able to handle that with little issue. It's the isolated pockets of heavier totals that we'll have to keep an eye on.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed our viewing area in their Day 4 (Thursday) outlook. This is reasonable, particularly if you look at model data at face value. Setups like this with widespread rain generally do not allow enough instability to be achieved to warrant a substantial threat. Models tend to overestimate those numbers. However, waves of rain could allow for a few breaks where things could get tricky. We'll highlight Thursday as a day where we may need to deal with isolated severe storms. Worth noting...even if instability is able to get going into the afternoon, helicity values (which help indicate tornadic potential) will be pulling out of the area. At face value, this appears to be a case where the ingredients may exist, but fail to exist simultaneously or link up enough to warrant a more significant threat. Hopefully that trend holds.
As long as the front doesn't get hung up across south Alabama, the weekend looks great as things clear out just in time. Rain Friday should favor early versus late and southern counties versus northern. But these fronts can be persistent and slow to finally clear, so we'll be monitoring the tail end of rain closely.