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Wake Low Giving Us Gusty Winds; Severe Threat Over

| 8:27 pm April 30, 2016

LATE REPORT:
Trees have been reported down in Sumter County because of this event that are not associated with thunderstorms, but with a wake low.

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Tonight’s marginal and slight severe weather threat is over for Central Alabama as the area of thunderstorms has weakened as it lifted northeast into our part of the state.

Right behind it, what appears to be a wake low has developed. This feature is causing winds to gust to nearly 30 mph in spots.

Winds gusted to 28mph at Tuscaloosa and Birmingham just before 8 p.m.

Areas along and south of I-59 will see the best chance of the gusty winds.

Wake lows are caused by sinking air which descends in the wake of the weakening of a complex of storms. They often cause heat bursts in the Plains, which are characterized by strong winds, rapid drops in dewpoints and substantial rises in temperatures.

Nothing like that here tonight, but some gusty winds.

It looks like rain will be limited to areas south of areas from Selma to Montgomery.

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An Afternoon Update on the Alabama Weather Situation

| 5:53 pm April 30, 2016

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It has been a muggy and warm spring afternoon across North and Central Alabama. Skies have been partly to mostly cloudy, with the most sunshine over East Central Alabama,

The airmass is slightly to moderately unstable with CAPE values running some 1,000-2,000 joules/kg, except over East Central Alabama, where values are over 2,000 joules. There are some values over 3,000 joules in places like Talladega, Wedowee, Alex City and Rockford.

So the atmosphere is primed for storms and they have formed over North Alabama, down through East Central Alabama into much of Georgia. Some are starting to percolate in northeastern Mississippi as well.

There actually was a tornado warning for Limestone and Madison counties in North Alabama into Lincoln County, Tennessee, but the warning has been canceled. The tornadic thunderstorm has moved from near Athens to Elkmont and will soon exit the state. It still has a severe thunderstorm warning on it. That storm has showed signs of rotation but no reports of tornadoes or damage so far.

The atmosphere is not really conducive for tornadoes across Alabama, with low 0-1 km helicity values. But with spring storms in Alabama we always say to expect the unexpected.

To the southwest, there is a big MCS (mesoscale convective system) moving into southwestern Alabama from southeastern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. The storms have been severe in the New Orleans area. There is currently a severe thunderstorm warning for Kemper County in eastern Mississippi, where Meridian is located. This storm will eventually affect Sumter County.

The whole MCS will lift northeastward into West Central Alabama, reaching Tuscaloosa between 6-7 p.m. and Birmingham by 7-8 p.m. But it will be weakening as it goes, leaving the better shear over Mississippi. The SPC has West Central and Southwest Alabama outlooked for a slight risk of severe weather, meaning scattered severe storms possible. The severe weather will be short lived and not widespread. Further east, most of the rest of the state is in a marginal risk outlook, meaning isolated severe storms are possible. There could be a few reports of damaging winds and hail, with the best chance over areas from Pickens down through Sumter and Hale Counties.

There is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect for coastal Mississippi and SE Louisiana. A new watch could be issued into Coastal Alabama and Northwest Florida.

We are sort of locked into this pattern through Monday it seems, when a cold front will finally push through the area, ending the rain. But expect more showers and storms Sunday and Monday. It looks like most of tomorrow’ rain may come in the morning for Central Alabama, hopefully leaving room for a decent afternoon.

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More Showers and Storms

| 1:25 pm April 30, 2016

Most of the day has been rather decent with with a mix of sun and clouds, but clouds are on the increase once again, as a complex of showers and storms is moving across Mississippi and will be arriving in Alabama later today. Also, additional showers and storms are developing ahead of the main complex.

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The SPC has much of West & Southwest Alabama highlighted in their standard “slight risk” of severe weather today. This risk area is essentially along the U.S. 43 corridor from Fayette and Tuscaloosa counties, south through Demopolis, all the way down to Mobile. East of this area, a “marginal risk” covers much of the rest of Alabama.

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Much like we saw yesterday, storms that impact Alabama could produce damaging wind gusts, and large hail. The tornado threat if very low, but not zero. The main impact from storms will be over western portions of the state. Timing on the storms will be later this afternoon, and through the evening hours, but storms should be weakening after the sun sets.

FOR SUNDAY: May looks to start off the way April ends with the threat of showers and storms. The SPC has a “marginal risk” covering the northwestern half of the state. This risk area includes Gadsden, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Cullman, and Muscle Shoals.

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Sunday will be a rather warm and muggy with showers and storms once again a possibility. Tomorrow will be very similar today, with most of the day expected to be dry, but showers and storms will occur. Due to the unstable air mass, specific start and stop times are nearly impossible to pin point, but have the rain gear close to hand tomorrow. The race out at Talladega, should be able to be completed tomorrow, but of course a weather delay cannot be ruled out.

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Wet, Wild, and Changing!

| 7:35 am April 30, 2016

It looks like the next week or so is going to see some wet, wild, and changing weather for us in Central Alabama. It was wild yesterday afternoon and evening as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) rolled through Central Alabama producing a number of hail and wind damage reports along with numerous lightning strikes knocking out power and causing several house fires. The picture below is just one example of such a fire provided to us by the Alabaster Fire Department.

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And the present pattern appears likely to stay unsettled for the next several days and that unsettled weather will be followed by a remarkably big change in the overall pattern.

This morning we’re covered with a lot of clouds with the primary weather system located at the surface over the Central Plains of the US. The upper air pattern features a large closed low just east of Denver. That low will move eastward today with more thunderstorms forecast for Central Alabama. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has the western half of Alabama in the standard slight risk for severe weather today with damaging wind the biggest threat but isolated tornadoes will also be possible.

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For the racing this weekend at Talladega, expect a mix of sun and clouds both days with the risk of a passing shower or storm from time to time. Unfortunately with showers and storm, we aren’t able to give specific times when one will pass through, but we don’t expect a big rain mass to set in for hours. A very good chance they get the Sparks Energy 300 in today, and the GEICO 500 in tomorrow, but a delay is possible either day. Keep an eye on radar. Please remember the 8 mile lightning rule. Lightning within 8 miles, you should get inside a substantial building or inside your car or truck. Don’t mess around with it! Lightning kills – don’t be a statistic.

If your plans call for heading to the beach, scattered showers and storms are possible for the next several days. Highs will be around 80 on the immediate coast with 80s inland. Low temperatures will be around 70. You will find a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

As the upper closed low works eastward in the flow it will weaken substantially, but it will also leave behind a trough over the Southwest US. At the surface, the surface low works across the Ohio River Valley with a front slowly dragging down into the Southeast US. By Monday and Tuesday, the upper trough over the Southwest US comes out across the Plains States and we begin to see a major change in the overall upper air pattern. We stay fairly warm with highs in the 80s but continued potential for showers and storms.

By Tuesday and Wednesday, a big ridge develops over the western US while a substantial trough develops over the eastern US. This will sweep the unsettled weather out of the area Tuesday with Wednesday becoming sunny and dry once again. Temperatures will gradually come down. By Thursday and Friday, the upper trough is forecast to really dig south with a pattern that will be more representative of one we see in the winter. Friday morning appears to be the chilliest according to the latest model data and we could well see morning lows well down into the 40s. This values could be 10 degrees colder than we typically see for early May.

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The weather stays nice into the weekend as the upper ridge gradually weakens somewhat and moves eastward. Saturday we could still see some morning lows into the 40s with most places around 50 with the afternoon high in the mid 70s, the potential for a gorgeous early May weekend.

Looking further out into voodoo country, the pattern definitely stays active. The ridge keeps our weather good through May 9th. A strong trough comes across the Mississippi River around the 10th that promises some wet weather for the Southeast US. Another trough takes shape over the eastern US around the 12th of May and then the pattern begins to flatten somewhat around the 14th of May.

Looking forward to being out with other ABC 3340 staff members at Celebrate Hoover today. Be sure to come out to Veterans Park off Valleydale Road in Hoover and say hello. Lots of activities and things to see plus some great food choices. The event is free. I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 8 am or so on Sunday morning.

-Brian-

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Radar Check at 9:40 PM CDT

| 9:45 pm April 29, 2016

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Showers and thunderstorms have now pushed into the eastern half of the state. Places such as Cullman, Birmingham, Centerville, Marion, and Selma will have rain coming to and end within the next hour. Stronger storms have pushed to the southeast, with the strongest one located over Tuskegee and Franklin in Macon County. Another strong storm was located just west of downtown Montgomery and passing over Snowden and Sprague in Montgomery County.

There have been multiple reports of damage possibly caused by storms tonight. An apartment fire, possibly caused by lightning, is still being fought in Leeds. Another fire was reportedly caused by lightning at a house in the Castle Pines subdivision in Gardendale. Yet another house fire was reported in Alabaster that possibly was started by lightning.

There were reports of wind damage across the area as well. A tree was downed onto a house in the Margaret community, with an injury reported. A few trees were reported downed in the Liberty Park area in Vestavia Hills. Also 3 miles west-northwest of Wilsonville, a few trees were reported downed by winds. A roof was reported to have been blown off of an empty building next to Jack’s Western Wear in Good Hope.

Multiple reports of dime, nickel, and quarter-size hail from many communities across the area, including Clanton, Moody, Kimberly, Irondale, Margaret, and Hamilton. The largest hail report in the state came from 3 miles east of Lake Tuscaloosa, where hail reached 1.75 inches in diameter.

At this time, Alabama Power is reporting 25,000 power outages statewide; with 17,000 in the Birmingham area, 5,000 in the Tuscaloosa area, and 3,000 in the Anniston area.

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The good news is that all of the storms are currently well below severe limits, and hopefully should be that way for the rest of the evening. Just light to moderate rain is all that is left for those communities east of I-65 and north of I-85. The severe threat for those in the path of the stronger storms is limited. Strong, gusty winds, small hail, and dangerous lightning could still be possible.

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Significant Weather Advisory – Southeastern Elmore & South-Central Tallapoosa Counties Until 9:30 PM CDT

| 8:55 pm April 29, 2016

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SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR CENTRAL MACON…SOUTHEASTERN
ELMORE AND SOUTH CENTRAL TALLAPOOSA COUNTIES UNTIL 930 PM CDT…

AT 845 PM CDT…DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A STRONG THUNDERSTORM OVER
MILSTEAD…MOVING EAST AT 10 MPH.

NICKEL SIZE HAIL AND WINDS IN EXCESS OF 40 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH
THIS STORM.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
TUSKEGEE…TALLASSEE…NOTASULGA…MILSTEAD…ECLECTIC…SHORTER…
FRANKLIN…EMERALD MOUNTAIN…LAKE TUSKEGEE…DAVISVILLE…TALLAPOOSA
CITY…LIVERPOOL…REEVES AIRPORT…VICTORYLAND…TYSONVILLE…SANTUCK…
LIBERTY CITY…DEXTER…YATES RESERVOIR AND MOTON FIELD MUNICIPAL
AIRPORT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM.
LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE 10 MILES AWAY FROM A THUNDERSTORM. SEEK A SAFE
SHELTER INSIDE A BUILDING OR VEHICLE.

THIS STORM MAY INTENSIFY…SO BE CERTAIN TO MONITOR LOCAL RADIO
STATIONS AND AVAILABLE TELEVISION STATIONS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

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