Severe weather possible this weekend (highest threat on Saturday)

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Severe weather is no stranger to the winter season, and powerful storms are possible even in the first month of the year.

Although it is too soon to know exactly when and where severe storms will develop, continue to monitor the forecast over the next few days as a potential storm system develops over the Southern Plains and Southeast.

What we know right now: A potent upper level system will move across the central and southern US later this week. This, and an accompanying cold front at the surface, will trigger storms, some of which will be strong to severe. 

Southerly winds  through the second half of the week will usher in a warmer, humid airmass across the area. Surface dewpoints will be in the low to mid 60s Saturday as storms move through, with temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.

Wind shear across the southern US, including here in the Tennessee Valley, will be enough to support organized strong to severe storms, and low level shear will be supportive of rotating thunderstorms that could be capable of producing tornadoes.

What we don’t know right now: 

  • Exact timing: We think Saturday looks like the busy day, but exactly when on Saturday is still up in the air.
  • How much do we destabilize: How much instability we deal with Saturday will have a significant impact on how big our severe weather and tornado threat are. With ongoing rain and cloud cover before storms get here, how unstable we get is still unclear.
  • How big is the tornado threat: Determining tornado threat is all about the details. Those details are fuzzy 6 days out.
  • How big is the overall severe weather threat: We know the pattern will support severe storms across the south. The odds are, we deal with some severe weather here in the Tennessee Valley. Exactly how bad it’s going to be is still something we’ve got to work to figure out. Remember, the details of this event are still fuzzy.


What can you take away from this information?

  • Severe weather can take place during every month of the year, including January
  • Always review severe weather safety plans well ahead of the forecast day for severe weather — this includes reviewing closest tornado shelter locations, directions/time needed to get there, who opens them, and if pets are allowed. You’ll also want to review your storm supplies in the event that power is out for numerous hours if not for a few days
  • Always have at least three different sources for weather information: TV, Weather Radio, Weather App. Double check the batteries in your weather radio. Double check that you have “current location on” set to your Weather App so that it notifies you at the spot you are located (you may work in one county and live in another, “current location” works no matter where you may be). Build in redundancy in case the power goes out, your cellphone battery runs out, etc.
  • With this particular storm situation occurring AT NIGHT, designate someone in your family/friends group to be your “weather watcher” and to call you in the event that severe storms get close. If you have to go to bed early, make sure your phone and radio are set to a volume that will wake you from slumber.

The WHNT News 19 Weather Authority will continue to monitor this situation for you. In the meantime, continue to check in daily for updates on this forecast.

Looking for the rest of the forecast? It’s always online at and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

Christina Edwards
Facebook: Christina Edwards, WHNT
Twitter: @christinawhntwx

Alex Puckett

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