Tornado outbreak underway – 235 pm

(Photo credit Garrett Mahan)

The tornado outbreak is underway over central Alabama. The above photo was taken earlier near Autaugaville, AL in the storm that moved into Chilton and Coosa County.

The above image shows radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom). The most unstable air is still struggling to move NE of BHM…but in west and south AL CAPE has gone up to nearly 3,000 J/kg with moderate wind shear of 200-250 m2/s2. This has allowed numerous supercells with tornadoes to form. Right now, potentially tornadic storms are near West Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Moundville, Demopolis, Linden, and Sweet Water. We have already seen a large tornado today, so take Tornado Warnings very seriously. Large hail has also been reported in several locations.

With all the rain and storms and clouds (see white circle), the warm front is still having a hard time moving NE. But, it has made some progress as evidenced by an apparent tornado touchdown along the Warrior River near Franklin Ferry on the Jefferson/Walker County line. With strong SW flow, the front will move very slowly NE, potentially putting much of Tuscaloosa, Walker, Shelby, and Jefferson Counties in the danger zone, with unstable air and high shear, between now and 5 pm. Some of that depends on rain-induced cooling. But heads up Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and west Alabama areas up toward Jasper and Hackleburg.

Dr. Tim Coleman

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