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James Spann: Significant severe weather threat for Alabama Sunday

By JAMES SPANN, Alabama News Center

EASTER SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: Weather parameters are falling into place for a significant severe weather threat for Alabama on Sunday. An ejecting short-wave trough is forecast to take on a neutral to somewhat negative tilt by Sunday afternoon as it moves quickly east-northeastward across the Southeast. Rich low-level moisture will be drawn inland from the Gulf of Mexico in advance of a deepening surface low that will move from the mid-Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley by Monday morning.

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We expect a very favorable environment for organized convection, including the potential for long-track supercells and a corresponding strong tornado risk. Very strong low- to mid-level flow fields will also support widespread damaging wind potential. For now it looks like the main window for severe storms will come from noon to midnight across the state; we will be much more specific on timing Friday.

The Storm Prediction Center has defined an enhanced risk of severe storms Sunday for the southern half of the state; that likely will be expanded northward on the outlook issued late tonight.

Sunday’s situation is complex when it comes to messaging; we don’t want to create more anxiety (there is enough of that in the world during these times), but at the same time we have to clearly communicate that Sunday could be a significant severe weather day. Don’t be anxious, but be prepared:

  • Have a reliable way of getting warnings. A NOAA Weather Radio is the baseline; be sure Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone are enabled, and have the free ABC 33/40 app on your phone as well.
  • Know your tornado action plan, and in that safe place have helmets, portable air horns and hard-soled shoes for everyone.
  • If you live in a mobile home, know where you are going and the quickest way of getting there.

NEXT WEEK: The week looks mostly dry, but temperatures should be well below average. I expect multiple mornings with potential for a late-season freeze or frost; growers will need to monitor temperature forecasts closely.

ON THIS DATE IN 1947: An estimated F5 tornado struck Woodward, Oklahoma, during the late evening, killing 95 people and causing $6 million damage. The tornado, one to two miles in width and traveling at a speed of 50 mph, killed 167 people along its 221-mile path from Texas into Kansas, injured 980 others and caused nearly $10 million damage.

WEATHER BRAINS: You can listen to our weekly 90-minute show any time on your favorite podcast app. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including the meteorologists at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks:

Snapchat: spannwx

For more weather news and information from James Spann and his team, visit AlabamaWx.

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