The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Middle Tennessee through 9 p.m. Saturday. Another watch later tonight is likely!!
A Tornado Watch means atmospheric conditions are favorable for tornadoes to occur. Please be ready to head to safety in the event a tornado warning is issued for your area.
Short Term Severe Weather Forecast
If there’s one thing you can learn about thunderstorms from the past ten days, it’s this:
Be ready for the unexpected.
The unexpected worked in our favor last week and this week with respect to large, destructive tornadoes in North Alabama: we didn’t have them. It did not work in our favor with heavy rain and flooding. Problems like sinkholes, washed out roads, and water damage to homes and businesses are serious issues.
Let’s use broader language to describe the weekend storm ‘threat.’
Expect three ’rounds’ of storms from early Saturday to early Sunday. Each wave will be different.
- Midday to Saturday evening: storms may not develop at all in this time frame, but if they do, a few could be strong, bordering severe limits (hail up to the size of a quarter and wind gusts up to 60 MPH). Don’t cancel your Saturday plans; just be aware that you may have to duck and cover from a strong storm in the afternoon and evening.
- Saturday overnight into Sunday morning: a line of strong storms moves southeast from Tennessee into North Alabama between midnight and 8 AM. The strongest storms appear to be in Tennessee, but they will still have enough muscle and fuel to threaten high winds, hail and tornadoes.
Keep track of storms with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! You can also get up-to-date, location-based alerts wherever you are on Live Alert 19. Download it today for iOS and Android.
Flash flooding still on the radar for the weekend
Here’s an interesting statistic:
Total rainfall across North Alabama and Southern Tennessee ranged from around two to four inches Thursday:
- 4.75″ in Florence
- 4.59″ at Little River Canyon
- 4.41″ in Cullman
- 3.53″ in Arab
- 2.35″ in Huntsville
- 2.25″ in Russellville
The seven day rainfall outlook from NOAA’s WPC is still looking very…wet. The majority of this falls in the three waves of rain/storms this weekend; a limited amount of it could come with some showers next week.
The bottom line is that more heavy rain is possible, and while it may not flood the exact same areas again, some flooding is still forecast through the weekend.
What does the Storm Prediction Center say about it?
There’s an ENHANCED RISK of severe storms where the highest likelihood of severe storms occurs Saturday: Northwestern Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
This is where (1) confidence is highest that severe storms of ‘all modes’ (that means hail, high wind gusts and tornadoes) could happen. Could is always the key word; just because you’re in a risk doesn’t mean you’re definitely, absolutely getting severe weather, but we will all be getting storms one way or another.
The outlooks are a way to describe confidence, coverage and convey at least some expectation of how intense the storms could be. Use caution, though! A tornado in an Enhanced Risk can be just as strong as one in a Marginal Risk, and we have seen large, violent tornadoes in Slight Risk areas.
No, the words don’t carry the right meaning. That’s not something we can change; this is a product issued by NOAA, and that’s why we’ve stopped using it on TV and only elect to share it here online occasionally. It’s confusing, and we get that.
So what do you do with this information?
- Be prepared in case a warning is issued for your area.
- Be alert so you can receive said warning.
- Go about your day as usual; this is not like the threat we had on Thursday, but one or two storms could have some impact! Take them seriously if they are nearby.