The Weather Authority: Severe Threat Continuing To Wind Down In Central Alabama


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    From the ABC 33/40 Weather Blog:

    UPDATE 9:33 PM:

    At 9:20 pm, the thunderstorm activity continues to weaken across North/Central Alabama as we only have one active warning a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for northern parts of Elmore County until 10:30 pm tonight. A Tornado Warning continues for just a few minutes more for northeastern Autauga County, but that will be allowed to expire as NWS Birmingham believes that the rotation has become broad. With that being said, don’t let your guard down, Elmore County.

    The rest of the shower and thunderstorm activity is under severe limits, but lightning output is still impressive in the heavier cells along and ahead of the line.

    Instability continues to fall as we have lost the daytime heating, plus rain has helped to cool and stabilize the airmass west of I-59. Helicity values continue to drop as well, now down into the 250-400 m2/s2 range. Unfortunately, that is still supportive of rotating updrafts. Nearly all of Central Alabama now has STP values around 1.0.

    While the threat of a few severe storms remain possible east of I-59, enough of the dynamics have moved out of the area to allow for those risks to drop somewhat. Once the big thunderstorm cell in Clay and Randolph counties make it out of the state, NWS Birmingham may start trimming counties from the Tornado Watch.

    At this point, a Tornado Watch continues until midnight for Autauga, Chilton, Clay, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Lowndes, Randolph, Talladega, and Tallapoosa counties.

    We’ll keep you posted throughout the night until the severe threat ends.

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    UPDATE 8:42 PM:

    SPC continues a Slight Risk of severe storms for locations east of a line from Thomaston to Marion to Chelsea to Glencoe, and west of a line from Roanoke to Fort Deposit. A Marginal Risk continues to the east of those locations to a line stretching from Shady Grove to Union Springs to Salem.

    We continue to have the potential for damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes at least for a few more hours, but the severe weather threat should come to an end around midnight or so.

    Instability continues to decline across Central Alabama tonight, now with values in the 500-1500 J/kg range from the northeast to the southwest. Unfortunately, that is still enough to support severe storms already in progress and for more storms to build.

    Helicity continues to be relatively strong out ahead of the line of storms, especially over the east and northeastern parts of the area, topping out in the 300-450 m2/s2 range. Those values drop down into the 150-200 ms/2s range as you move to the south and southwest, but that is still plenty enough to support rotating updrafts.

    STP values continue to decline throughout the evening, but values are still in the 1.0-2.0 range across the area, with the higher values in the southwestern portions of the area.

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    UPDATE 8:22 PM:

    At 8:14 pm, we have just one severe storm out there in Central Alabama, but it is a Tornado Warning for the northern parts of Coosa County for a confirmed tornado that was on the ground and causing damage with the last report of it being near Unity and Weogufka and moving east at 30 MPH. The Tornado Warning continues until 8:30 pm.

    There is one larger and strong storm over the northeastern parts of Dallas County just to the north of Selma and over Valley Grand and Jones. This cell formerly had a tornado warning issued on it but has since been allowed to expire.

    These are the Local Storm Reports that have come in across our chat just within the last hour. Please excuse any spelling, grammatical, or capitalization errors as these are pulled off in a raw format.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 3 ESE Highland Lake [Blount Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:13 PM CDT — trees down and outbuildings damaged. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 2 SSW Lay Lake Dam [Chilton Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 06:50 PM CDT — several trees down in eastern chilton county. video indicated several power flashes in the same area. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 1 W Oakmulgee [Perry Co, AL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 06:49 PM CDT — numerous trees down near highway 219. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 2 NNE Gap Of The Mounta [Chilton Co, AL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 07:41 PM CDT — numerous trees down. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 4 NE Odenville [St. Clair Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:56 PM CDT — several chicken houses damaged and trees down. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 5 N Neely Henry Dam [St. Clair Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 06:18 PM CDT — several trees down north of ohatchee.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 2 SSW St. Clair Springs [St. Clair Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:47 PM CDT — several trees uprooted and snapped off. local roads have been closed due to damage. possible tornado.

    Local Storm Report by NWS BMX: 2 NNE Heiberger [Perry Co, AL] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 06:23 PM CDT — several trees blown down along highway 5, possible tornado.

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    UPDATE 8:02 PM

    A strong rotational couplet with a confirmed tornado is now moving into the northwestern parts of Coosa County. Trees are being reported on the road on CR-55 and CR-61.

    It is currently located over Lay Lake Dam and south of Talladega Springs, moving east at 30 MPH.

    Stewartville, Goodwater, and Kellyton you need to be in your place of safety now.

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    UPDATE 7:17 PM:

    As of 7:00 pm CDT, the first Tornado Watch that was in effect for parts of North/Central Alabama has been allowed to expire. A new Tornado Watch was issued for the east and northeastern parts of Central Alabama until 12:00 am CDT Friday.

    The main line of thunderstorms have now pushed east of the I-59 corridor and the severe threat for points west of that is over for tonight. We continue to have the potential for strong to severe storms east of the I-59 corridor with the threats of damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes.

    Instability values are beginning to drop ahead of the line of storms, but we continue to see readings in the 1000-1500 J/kg range which is well more than supported of thunderstorms.

    Helicity values remain rather high ahead on the line of storms with the highest values in the northeastern parts of the area topping out in the 300-450 m2/s2 range. Values, while still remaining supportive of rotating updrafts, drop into the 200s m2/s2 range as you move south.

    STP values have now drooped into the 1.0 range across nearly all of the area with only a couple of spots where those values top out at 2.0.

    All of these values will continue to drop throughout the rest of the evening and into the late night hours as the dynamics continue to move farther away from the area. The severe weather threat will continue to at least 12:00 am. We’ll continue to keep you posted.

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    UPDATE 7:05 PM:

    A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 730 PM CDT FOR CENTRAL CHILTON AND SOUTHEASTERN BIBB COUNTIES At 703 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Lawley, or 13 miles southwest of Jemison, moving east at 40 mph.

    HAZARDTornado.

    SOURCERadar indicated rotation.

    IMPACTFlying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely. Locations impacted include Clanton, Jemison, Thorsby, Lawley, Talladega National Forest, Chilton County Motor Sports Park, Randolph, Lomax and I 65 Rest Area.

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    UPDATE 6:43 PM

    A dangerous tornado-warned storm is moving across Calhoun County and headed toward the city of Jacksonville. Get to your place of safety immediately if you are in Jacksonville, Piedmont, and points in-between.

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    UPDATE 6:17 PM:

    The National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a

    * Tornado Warning for

    Northern Perry County in central Alabama

    South central Bibb County in central Alabama

    * Until 700 PM CDT.

    * At 613 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Heiberger, or 9 miles northwest of Marion, moving east at 40 mph.

    HAZARDTornado.

    SOURCERadar indicated rotation.

    IMPACTFlying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.

    Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

    * Locations impacted include

    Heiberger, Morgan Springs, Oakmulgee, Trio and Ellards.

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    UPDATE 6:10 PM

    * Severe Thunderstorm Warning for

    Northeastern Calhoun County in east central Alabama

    Eastern Etowah County in northeastern Alabama

    Cherokee County in northeastern Alabama

    * Until 715 PM CDT.

    * At 607 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located near Hokes Bluff, moving east at 35 mph.

    HAZARD60 mph wind gusts and quarter size hail.

    SOURCERadar indicated.

    IMPACTHail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

    * Locations impacted include

    Gadsden, Piedmont, Hokes Bluff, Centre, Cedar Bluff, Forney, Centre

    Municipal Airport, Glencoe, Leesburg, Reece City, Gaylesville, Tennala, Tabor Road, Cherokee Rock Village, Pleasant Gap, Cornwall

    Furnace Park, Eastern Weiss Lake, Ballplay, Slackland and Gadsden

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    UPDATE 5:30 PM:

    A very tight rotation is showing up on radar just south of Oneonta in a tornado warned storm in Blount County. Damage has already been reported in Allgood. A new Tornado Warning was just issued to the east of this cell for parts of Etowah and St. Clair counties until 6:15 pm.

    The line of storms is currently stretching from Fort Payne down through Gardendale down to Eutaw and Forkland. Several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are in affect along the line to go along with the Tornado Warnings mentioned earlier.

    While STP values have dropped into the 2.0 range, helicity values are enhanced right ahead of the storm reaching as high as 400 m2/s2. Instability values are running in between 1,500-2,000 J/kg throughout the area. Ingredients are still there for severe thunderstorms to continue with tornadoes and damaging winds as the main threats, along with large hail.

    We continue to have a threat of severe weather from now through the evening and into the late night hours, possibly as late as 1:00 am Friday. We’ll keep you posted as long as needed.

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    UPDATE 5:17 PM

    * Tornado Warning for

    Etowah County in northeastern Alabama

    Northeastern St. Clair County in central Alabama

    * Until 615 PM CDT.

    * At 512 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Oneonta, moving east at 35 mph.

    HAZARDTornado.

    SOURCERadar indicated rotation.

    IMPACTFlying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.

    Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

    * Locations impacted include

    Gadsden, Rainbow City, Attalla, Hokes Bluff, Glencoe, Ashville, Steele, Reece City, Tabor Road, Ballplay, Gadsden Mall, Noccalula

    Falls, Neely Henry Lake, Southside, Whitney Junction, Alabama

    International Dragway, Gadsden Steam Plant, Rockledge, Cobb City and Gadsden Water Works.

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    UPDATE 5:02 PM:

    * Tornado Warning for

    Southeastern Blount County in central Alabama

    * Until 530 PM CDT.

    * At 458 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Locust Fork, or near Cleveland, moving east at 40 mph.

    HAZARDTornado and quarter size hail.

    SOURCERadar indicated rotation.

    IMPACTFlying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.

    Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

    * Locations impacted include

    Oneonta, Cleveland, Locust Fork, Altoona, Allgood, Fairview, Rosa, Inland Lake, Highland Lake, Easley, Clear Springs and Remlap.

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    UPDATE 4:48 PM:

    A severe thunderstorm is currently located over Elrod and Coker and is heading directly toward Tuscaloosa and Northport.

    A wall cloud was reported with this storm and rotation is evident on radar, however its broad at the moment.

    Go ahead and get to your place of safety until the storm passes by. If the storms tightens up, a tornado warning will be issued.

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    UPDATE 4:30 PM:

    Tornado warning for Cullman County cancelled.

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    UPDATE 4:00 PM:

    * Tornado Warning for

    Central Cullman County in north central Alabama

    * Until 430 PM CDT.

    * At 403 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Good Hope, or near Cullman, moving northeast at 50 mph.

    HAZARDTornado and quarter size hail.

    SOURCERadar indicated rotation.

    IMPACTFlying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed.

    Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

    * Locations impacted include

    Cullman, Hanceville, Good Hope, Holly Pond, Dodge City, Baileyton, Garden City, Phelan, Walter and Logan.

    UPDATE 3:00 PM:

    Strong to severe storms continue to march across the northwest portions of North/Central Alabama as we are approaching the 3:00 pm hour on this Thursday afternoon. We currently have a tornado warning in effect for Lawrence County until 3:15 pm for a rotating cell located just to the south of Wren and is moving to the northeast at 40 MPH.

    Another strong cell that needs watching is the severe thunderstorm-warned cell that is affecting Lamar and Fayette counties. Large hail and gusty winds are possibly with this cell. People in Fayette, Berry, and Newtonville need to be ready just in case rotation tightens up and a tornado warning is issued.

    Helicity has relaxed some over northwestern parts of the area, with latest reading showing around 350m2/s2. Instability continues to climb to well over 1,500 J/kg over parts of the area just ahead of the storms.

    STP values continue to be in the 2.0-3.0 range over the west and northwestern parts of the area.

    Conditions continue to be ripe for severe thunderstorms and should be that way through at least the next several hours.

    We have reports of trees down in Colbert and Lamar counties, but unknown if they were from severe thunderstorm winds or gradient winds at this point.

    We’ll continue to keep you posted on the blog.

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    UPDATE 1:45PM

    We have a line of storms stretching from Florence down to the south-southwest through Hackleburg and Hamilton and into Guin and Detroit. Much of the line is a grouping of supercells, some of which are showing some signs of rotating. At this point, no tornado warnings are in effect for North/Central Alabama, but we do have a few Severe Thunderstorm Warnings currently in effect.

    Instability continues to rise over the western parts of the state already exceeding 1,000 J/kg close to the state line. The line of storms continue to move into an atmosphere with higher helicity values, over 400 m2/s2 in some parts of northwest Alabama.

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    UPDATE:

    Tornado Watch was just issued for a good portion of the northwestern parts of Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Cullman, and Huntsville, until 7:00 pm tonight. Counties include Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Winston, Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, and Morgan counties.

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    MILD, WINDY DAY: A deep surface low this morning over the Great Plains will move slowly northeast, dragging a cold front into Alabama tonight. Ahead of that front, today will be mild and windy with a high in the 70s. A strong south wind will average 15-25 mph, with occasionally higher gusts. The air will become unstable this afternoon, and strong to severe thunderstorms are possible through tonight.

    SPC has introduced an “enhanced risk” (level 3/5) for parts of North Alabama, including places like Cullman, Jasper, Haleyville, Decatur, and Huntsville. A “slight risk” (level 2/5) extends as far south as Demopolis, Calera, and Weiss Lake. And, a “marginal risk” runs down to Grove Hill, Rockford, and Heflin.

    TIMING: The window for strong to severe storms across Northwest Alabama runs from 3:00 until 9:00 p.m. Then, for Central Alabama, from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. A tornado watch is already in effect for parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee until 12 noon CT.

    THREATS: Heavier storms will be capable of producing strong, potentially damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes.

    GRADIENT WIND: Even with no thunderstorms involved, pressure gradient winds today out of the south could gust as high as 30 mph, maybe even up to 40 mph on ridges.

    RAIN: Rain amounts will be under one inch for most communities, and we don’t expect any flooding.

    CALL TO ACTION: Be sure you can hear severe weather warnings. Every Alabama home and business needs a NOAA Weather Radio; NEVER rely on a siren. Have WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) enabled on your phone, and get a good app designed for warnings like this one.

    Know where you are going in the event you are under a tornado warning polygon, and in that safe place have helmets (bicycle helmet, batting helmet, etc) for everyone. And, it is a good idea to have hard sole shoes and a portable air horn for everyone. And, never be in a car or a manufactured home in a tornado warning polygon. Review your plan with your family.

    TOMORROW AND THE WEEKEND: Noticeably cooler air will roll into Alabama tomorrow. Lingering showers during the morning over the northern half of the state will end, and the sky becomes partly sunny by afternoon. Showers, however, are still possible over the southern half through the entire day. The high tomorrow will be in the 60-65 degree range for North/Central Alabama.

    The weekend will be dry with a good supply of sunshine Saturday and Sunday. Mornings will be chilly with lows in the 30s. Frost is likely early Sunday when the wind will be near calm, and colder spots will see a freeze. The high Saturday will be between 58 and 61, and low 60s are likely Sunday afternoon.

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