Strong to severe storm threat remains for tonight, greatest threat after 6 p.m. – Feb. 2

The Weather Authority
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
A risk of some strong to severe storms exists on Tuesday over a broad area; around here, the greatest chance of stormy weather comes after 6 PM Tuesday evening. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 3 AM Wednesday; wind gusts away from storms may exceed 35 MPH. SPC Severe Weather Outlook  (Outlook as of 10:30 a.m. CST/CDT Tuesday)
A strong cold front will bring the chance of strong to severe thunderstorms beginning by late this afternoon over northwest Alabama then spreading across the rest of the Tennessee Valley by this evening and during the overnight hours. There are showers and storms popping up around 8am. Don’t be surprised to see some strong downpours this morning. Damaging wind gusts, hail and a few tornadoes will be possible later on. The cold front will eventually slow down as it moves into northeast Alabama by late tonight. Heavy rainfall and localized flooding is a possibility. The threat of severe weather will taper off by early Wednesday morning as the cold front moves east of the area. So to the normal questions: What does this mean to you?   We are to the point now where you don’t need to worry about whether you’re in the SLIGHT or the ENHANCED. We all have a risk of some severe storms tonight. The most common issue will be strong wind gusts over 60 MPH within the strongest storms; tornadoes are possible, and it is conceivable that one or two strong ones could occur in the yellow hatched areas outlined by the Storm Prediction Center (Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama). Any threat of severe weather is going to get our attention, and it deserves to be taken seriously.  Your county/town/community/neighborhood/street has some risk of severe weather if you live in Alabama, most of Tennessee or most of Mississippi.  The only time that the answer to “what about my town” comes into play is when a watch or warning is issued.  Watches detail a “threat” for specific area over a specific time.  A Warning is local to a county or even a part of a county; it is an action statement because severe weather is occurring now or in the immediate future. How do you get that critical information? NOAA Weather Radio is still a rock-solid way to get a warning, but don’t let that be the only alert source you have. Live Alert 19 and the Baron Alabama Saf-T-Net are fantastic (and free) resources. If you are using the Saf-T-Net app, be sure you’ve read about it. There are some alerts that are not “warnings” you may receive, and it’s important to know what they mean. (What’s a “dangerous” or “twisting storm?“) If a warning is issued, we cover Tornado Warnings for our market area from the moment they begin until they expire live on WHNT News 19. Depending on the situation, we may expand the coverage to neighboring counties as well. What time will the storms will arrive? Most guidance still points to severe storms after 6 PM today. Some heavy storms develop before that, but our atmosphere won’t be ready to produce those stronger storms until the evening hours. Expect some downpours in Northwest Alabama as early as 3-4 PM; however, the strongest storms will still be several hours away. Storms should weaken slightly as they move east of I-65; the severe weather threat will still exist even with slight weakening.
What do I really think? Be ready for whatever these storms throw at us tonight. The vast majority of us will not be directly impacted by severe weather, but there is no accurate way to pinpoint who will and who definitely won’t be impacted hours in advance. We take this on a storm-by-storm basis, so listen for watches and warnings later tonight. One of the clearest descriptions of risk I’ve ever heard comes from Dr. David Cleveland at Children’s of Alabama: “a small but very real risk.” That means the chance of something going wrong is low, but if the unlikely scenario does happen, it could be very impactful. We will stay on top of it for you. It’s not April 27, 2011 and it’s not even rising to the level of April 28, 2014 or the pre-Christmas outbreak in Mississippi and Tennessee. Even though it doesn’t fit in that class, you should be prepared for whatever comes your way tonight. This post may contain dated information.  Please check the post date and time to be sure you are not reading old ideas.  Our latest forecast discussion is always posted at WHNT.com and you can find it on Live Alert 19 along with videos and other blog posts. -Jason Connect with me! Facebook: Jason Simpson’s Fan Page Twitter: @simpsonwhnt

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