Mid-Afternoon Update On Tonight’s Storms

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(WHNT) – As of 3 PM, the Storm Prediction Center has dropped the MODERATE RISK from their thunderstorm outlook. That’s good news, but it’s not the end of the story. There is still a risk of some strong to severe storms west of us this evening, but as expected, the weakening trend will be on as they move through the Tennessee Valley early Friday morning.

There are a few things to watch here:

(1) Storms will still have some fuel and a lot of dynamics (wind shear) to work with. That means we’ve got to be vigilant in watching them until the severe threat is done. There is sometimes a question of one variable being out of balance with the other (instability and wind shear); this could be one of those cases where the system is so dynamic that there isn’t enough “fuel” to support widespread severe storms. That would be a great sign!

(2) The over-all threat is lower given the fact that storms to our west have not been very impressive at all today. That’s an encouraging sign.

(3) The timeline remains the same, but keep in mind, this timeline does not reflect the over-all intensity of the storms. It’s the time when a region is most likely to see rain and a chance of some stronger storms. My feeling is that by the time they get east of Interstate 65, there will be very little (if any) threat of severe weather in Etowah, Cherokee, DeKalb, Jackson, or Franklin (TN) Counties. The greatest threat is for intense storms near and west of US 43 before 1 AM; after that, they will be headed east into a less-favorable environment.

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