Severe weather is back in the forecast for late Friday night through Saturday morning. The storm prediction center has the area under a slight risk for severe weather (a two on the one-to-five scale where five is the most severe). The threat increases northwest of I-20, away from us, so if you are traveling to Louisiana or Arkansas, please keep that in mind.
What to expect:
We'll be watching for a line of storms to move into our area from the north. As it approaches the Pine Belt, the main threats will be heavy rain, localized flash flooding, frequent lightning, damaging wind (up to 65mph) and hail (up to the size of half-dollars). The tornado threat appears to be on the low end, but it isn't zero, so please have a severe weather plan ready.
At this time, we are more concerned about heavy rain, straight-line wind and hail than tornadoes.
Have your NOAA Weather Radio programmed with fully-charged batteries available for it. If you must travel, make sure to check the weather conditions, watches, warnings and advisories before venturing out the door. Review your severe weather plan and know what you should do if a severe storm or tornado is near you. If you don't feel comfortable riding out a storm where you live, make a plan regarding when you should leave your home and where you would go. Also, download the WDAM Weather App so if the power goes out, you still have access to live, streaming coverage of any updates about the weather.
What we know right now:
If a severe storm develops near you, expect heavy rain (with localized flooding), damaging wind (up to 65mph), hail (up to the size of half-dollars) and the possibility of a tornado. If a tornado does develop, the strength of the tornado should be limited to below EF-2 strength, given the atmospheric setup.
Right now, it looks like the first storms could develop as early as 8 p.m. Friday in Simpson, Smith, Jasper and Clarke counties. The line will pass through the area from north to south between 8 p.m. Friday and 4 a. m. Saturday.
A small area of low pressure may develop on the backside of the storms as they pass through the area. If this happens, it may increase the tornado threat for a few hours, and then increase the wind threat after that. But, that also depends on when and if that little area of lower pressure forms. Also, we are still trying to get a handle on just how strong individual storms in the line will be. The atmospheric winds, in general, are not conducive for widespread severe weather, but a few storms may be severe. Figuring out where those will be, and how strong they will be, is still unknown.
Extra Forecast Details:
You can always find extra forecast details, a more in-depth look at the timeline, or a scientific explanation about the setup on Nick's Blog. If you want to know why this time is different than last time or you are curious about what goes into a severe weather forecast, that is the place to go. There are a lot of extra details and meteorological information to learn about on his blog.
The WDAM First Alert Weather App:
Take the same tools the WDAM First Alert Weather team uses with you anywhere you go. Download the WDAM First Alert Weather app today for real-time interactive radar, location-based severe weather alerts and a constantly updated forecast for wherever you are.
Plan your day with an hour-by-hour forecast tailored for home, work or anywhere on-the-go. Our WDAM First Alert Weather app can tell you if a storm near you has hail, strong winds or rotation.
Here are some more features of the WDAM First Alert Weather app:
The WDAM First Alert Weather App is free in the Android and Apple app stores, part of the WDAM First Alert commitment to help keep you safe.
If your home or community is damaged in the storms, contact your county's Emergency Management Agency here.