…Tornado outbreak still underway…more to come this evening…
It appears that we have already had tornadoes in the following locations in Alabama: Autaugaville, Demopolis, Weogufka, Moundville, and near Howton’s Camp on the Warrior River.
The above visible satellite picture, with temperatures I added on, shows a good idea of where the cold wedge remains. Because of all the rain and storms keeping the air north of it cool (see radar picture below), it hasn’t moved very far north during the day. But with some daytime heating and moderate wind shear over south-central and west-central Alabama, those storms got going in a hurry around noon. We still have several intense supercells with possible tornadoes in the western BHM metro, and also near Selma, Orrville, and west of Thomasville.
Note that, in the warmer areas over Mississippi and northwest Alabama, there is less heavy rain and the storms are more surrounded by drier air. There is less wind shear in those areas right now (SRH < 150 m2/s2). However, as the main low-level jet overspreads the area between 5 pm and 9 pm, expect those storms to intensify and possibly become tornadic as they move into Alabama. These storms could affect areas like Aliceville, Jasper, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Cullman, Moulton, Florence, and Decatur. Also the two UAH VORTEX-SE observing platforms in Courtland, AL and Hackleburg, AL. It is unclear how much all the rain over northern and central Alabama will help to weaken these storms as they move east; the atmosphere is worked over from storms and stabilized by rain, but with 70 mph south winds at 5,000 feet coming in from areas where it is currently near 80 degrees, it will likely recharge the atmosphere at least somewhat. The storms will likely merge into an intense line of storms late this evening, with tornadoes still possible, in addition to damaging straight-line winds and hail.
This is a rapidly developing and complex weather situation. But, no people should let their guard down, whether tornadoes have gone near you in this first round, or if they haven’t. Keep a plan in mind for sheltering through the evening, as night tornadoes are even more dangerous because we can’t see them to confirm them.
Dr. Tim Coleman