Heavy rain and storms rumbling through, may impact Football Friday

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It is warm and muggy across the Tennessee Valley, and storm clouds are developing throughout the region.

Regional radar imagery shows that a line of scattered showers and storms are moving west from the Mississippi River Valley into the Tennessee Valley, which means heavy rain and storms are developing in north Alabama with more on the way. Use the interactive radar below to track the storms near where you live.

A cold front is marching east across the Mississippi River Valley, and this cold front is responsible for sparking up heavy rain and thunderstorms ahead of it.

The best chance of receiving soaking rains is west of I-65, with more of an isolated chance in northeast Alabama.

Nevertheless, it would be wise to bring rain gear to Football Friday tonight, and keep an eye out for lightning! If you see a flash or hear the rumble of thunder, it’s important to seek shelter in a building or a hard-top vehicle.

Lightning Safety Reminder

Often, football teams, boosters and spectators prep for rain, but not necessarily take the lightning threat seriously. However, it is something to be aware of, whether you are a coach, player or fan.

Lightning strikes near Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field during a weather delay before an NCAA college football game between Florida and Idaho in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Remember that lightning causes thunder — so if you hear thunder, lightning must be present. It is a common misconception that “only lightning is a threat, thunder is not a problem.” No — thunder is your clue that lightning is nearby, and both the field as well as the stadium should be cleared.

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the parent cloud, and it is powerful! Lightning can cause the heart to stop beating or a person to stop breathing, and it can potentially cause death. Even if a lightning strike victim were to recover, significant injury to the body’s nervous system can occur.

So where is the safest place to go in the event that lightning or thunder are detected during the game?

Head to an indoor structure with plumbing or electrical wiring — both features help “ground” the electrical current, preventing a person from being impacted.

However, this is not always practical at a football game. It turns out that busses and cars/vans/trucks with a hard roof (no convertibles!) are the safest places for people to go in the event of lightning. Electricity flows around the outside of the vehicle and exits via a portion of the vehicle where occupants are not sitting.

Weekend cold front?

Additional information about this weekend’s cold front is available on our News 19 Weather Authority forecast discussion page. Click here to read the latest forecast discussion.

~ Christina

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