Live Blog: Saturday Night Storms
Posted on: 6:57 pm, December 21, 2013, by Brandon Chambers, updated on: 10:41pm, December 21, 2013
Strong to severe storms have made their way into the Tennessee Valley and carry with them the potential for strong winds and have already produced damage in the form of downed trees. The isolated threat for brief tornadoes remains but it’s a lower end threat and secondary to the wind threat.
We will be providing you with frequent updates here on this live blog post as the storms begin affecting the Valley late Saturday evening. Simply leave this page open on your computer or mobile device and our new posts will update automatically.
Go about your business this evening, but make sure you stay tuned. To that end, we offer several apps and online resources to make sure you’re always aware:
7:00 PM Radar: The line of severe storms is continuing slow eastward progress, expected to approach Northwest Alabama within 2 hours. Currently producing severe winds, but has had a history of embedded tornadoes. Straight line wind damage remains the primary threat for the Tennessee Valley.
So far today there have been at least three reported tornadoes in Arkansas; we have unconfirmed tornado reports from Mississippi and Louisiana. There have been 68 reports of wind damage west of us. Gusty winds will be much more common than tornadoes, but we have the risk of both.
Most of the severe weather to our west this afternoon & evening occurred in a very low-CAPE (instability) environment. We are seeing a fairly good amount of instability building over East Mississippi and West Alabama now; combine that with the strong low-level wind shear, and it makes for a rough night ahead for the Valley.
The Storm Prediction Center’s newest Mesoscale Discussion mentions that there is a risk of a “strong tornado” in this destabilized, sheared environment. We still think the most widespread issue will be the wind (already gusting to near 40 MPH), but tornadoes are possible.
Please make sure to have a severe weather plan ahead of time. Here is a list we’ve compiled of storm shelters across north Alabama: http://on.whnt.com/13wCrSt
And here are our radio simulcast partners – These stations will carry WHNT News 19′s signal during severe weather in the Tennessee Valley to bring you the very latest information. (Note: They decide when to carry the signal.) http://on.whnt.com/15rsY0L
Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for Colbert, Lauderdale, and Franklin Counties until 9 PM. Storms in Miss. are intense and moving quickly into Northwest Alabama.
Tornado Watch in effect until 2 AM for the Tennessee Valley. Storms will move across the region through the early hours of Sunday morning.
From Lauderdale Co. EMA via NWS CHAT: “Damage Report Tree down Hwy 157 and CR 85 just reported through 911″
Winds not associated with thunderstorms are gusting over 40mph in the Valley, expect some damage from the environmental winds alone.
Heaviest storms now moving through NW Lauderdale County near Waterloo. Those storms extend down through Cherokee to near Red Bay. Winds up to 70 mph are possible with heavy rain in the next 30 minutes.
New Severe T’storm warning for Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale counties until 9:30PM… winds over 65mph likely.
Severe T’storm warning for Colbert, Franklin(AL), and Lauderdale Counties has been extended to 10:15pm… straight line winds over 70mph will be possible. Damage in the form of downed trees is now beginning to roll in from Lauderdale and Colbert Counties.
Here’s a link to live radar and updates from our meteorologists: http://whnt.com/on-air/live-streaming/
The severe thunderstorm warning for Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin(AL) Counties will be allowed to expire at 10:15.
Recent storm reports include:
Colbert County: Tree down on Snow Road, east of Iuka, tree down on Riverton Rose Trail, multiple trees down approaching Waterloo in the westbound lane.
Hardin County, TN: Trees and power lines down on Riverside Drive in Crump, TN
Lawrence County, TN: Power outages along Highway 64, tree down on residence on 5th Street in Lawrenceburg.
Radar at 10:15…
We continue to stream LIVE ARMOR Storm Vision – and our meteorologists are chiming in with periodic updates: http://whnt.com/on-air/live-streaming/
The latest “mesoscale update” from the NWS Huntsville shows their thoughts about the evolution/decay of this line of storms. The main idea is that barring any surprises, the severe weather threat will be very low through 2 AM and almost zero afterward:
.MESOSCALE UPDATE... THE TORNADO WATCH HAS BEEN CANCELLED FOR LAUDERDALE, COLBERT, AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES IN AL. THE PRE-FRONTAL SQLN HAS BEEN ON A DIMINISHING TREND AS IT ADVANCES EWD. THE STRONGER PORTION OF THE LINE APPEARS TO BE JUST NORTH OF OUR FORECAST AREA. LIGHTNING ACTIVITY HAS BEEN DECREASING AS WELL. AS STATED EARLIER, THE MAIN PRESSURE FALLS HAVE LIFTED INTO OH/KY/WV, SO THE PUSH ALONG THE COLD FRONT ALONG THE MS RIVER HAS VIRTUALLY STOPPED. WE EXPECT THE BAND OF SHRA/TSRA TO CONTINUE EASTWARD AT A MORE SLUGGISH PACE, BUT THE THREAT OF TORNADOES AND DAMAGING WINDS SEEMS TO BE WANING. ANOTHER BAND OF SHRA ALONG THE I-65 CORRIDOR HAS NOT SHOWN SIGNS OF INTENSIFYING AS OF YET EITHER. HOPEFULLY THIS TREND CONTINUES..MESOSCALE UPDATE...
Tornado Watch still in effect in GREEN COUNTIES until 2 AM. The storms are weaker now, but they seem to be maintaining enough intensity to knock some trees down, cause power outages, and blow around Christmas decorations, garbage cans, etc. It is unlikely that the watch will be cancelled before 2 AM, but it will probably not be extended beyond that time.
The rain is really coming down hard in downtown Huntsville.
Very heavy rain, gusty winds, and lightning in Madison County at 12:20 a.m.
Heavy but not severe – that’s the name of the game for the rest of this evening. These storms intensified again over northern Madison, SE Lincoln and W Franklin Counties. Still moving east at about 25-30 MPH with 35-45 MPH wind gusts.
Huntsville Utilities reports a power outage in the area south of Airport Road to Four Mile Post Road between Memorial Parkway and Whitesburg Drive. Crews are en route to restore service as quickly as possible.
Updated timeline for storm progress through 2:30 AM. The complex is moving VERY slowly at about 15-25 miles per hour to the east. Individual storms are moving northeast along the line at about 50 MPH – that’s why there is still a threat of strong winds in excess of 50 MPH.
A TORNADO WATCH remains in effect until 2 AM for Lincoln, Moore, Franklin in Tennessee and Limestone, Madison, Lawrence, Morgan, Winston, Cullman, Marshall, DeKalb, and Jackson. I can tell you the risk of severe weather is over for Lawrence and Limestone as of 12:38 AM.
A few notes at 12:45…
Forward speed with this line is only 15-20 mph. Very heavy rain may cause some flash flooding. Peak wind gust at Monte Sano was 48 mph and 37 at Huntsville International. Power outages have been reported in Fayetteville and South Huntsville. Trees are down in northern Lincoln County. Lightning has increased with these storms over the past 30 minutes. No rotation has been detected with these storms on doppler radar. The heavy rain area is about 6-7 miles wide. Ben Smith reports small hail in North Huntsville.
TORNADO WATCH cancelled for Lincoln and Moore Counties in Tennessee, Limestone and Lawrence Counties in Alabama. A low end threat continues and the watch is still active for all other counties east of there including Madison, Jackson, Franklin (TN), Cullman, Morgan, Marshall, and DeKalb
Storm timeline through 3 AM – severe weather threat is low; however, there is a Tornado Watch in effect for Morgan, Marshall, Cullman, Blount, DeKalb, Jackson, Madison and Franklin County (TN).
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED FLASH FLOOD WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL 122 AM CST SUN DEC 22 2013 THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR... MADISON COUNTY IN NORTH CENTRAL ALABAMA... SOUTHWESTERN FRANKLIN COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE... SOUTHEASTERN LINCOLN COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE... SOUTHEASTERN MOORE COUNTY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE... * UNTIL 415 AM CST * AT 116 AM CST...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED INDICATED A LINE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING HEAVY RAIN ACROSS MOST OF MADISON AND PORTIONS OF LINCOLN...MOORE...FRANKLIN COUNTIES IN TENNESSEE. RAINFALL RATES OF 2-3 INCHES AN HOUR HAVE BEEN INDICATED VIA DOPPLER RADAR. ADDITIONALLY...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED MORE RAINFALL APPROACHING FROM THE SOUTHWEST. * SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE... HUNTSVILLE...MADISON...MOORES MILL...MERIDIANVILLE...REDSTONE ARSENAL...HAZEL GREEN...NEW MARKET...HUNTLAND AND TRIANA.
Heavy storms over Jackson County bringing wind gusts that could be 50 MPH or higher on Cumberland Mountain north of Scottsboro at 1:38 AM.
According to the Storm Prediction Center there have been three reports of tornadoes with this storm system, all in Arkansas. Fortunately there have only been a few reports of trees down in North Alabama. There have been no reports of severe weather here in the last 3 and one-half hours.
SPC considering a new Tornado Watch for eastern Alabama. The NWS Huntsville says they will not place Marshall, DeKalb or Jackson Counties in the watch. It *could* include Etowah, Cherokee, Blount, Calhoun and points south, though.
A lot of intense lightning over Marshall and Cullman Counties in storms moving northeast along this slow line. Line is moving east at 25, storms are moving northeast *along* the line at about 40-50 MPH. Gusty winds, heavy rain likely.
ALL Tennessee Valley Counties have been cleared from the TORNADO WATCH. A Wind Advisory (brown) is still in effect. A new tornado watch may be issued east of I-65 south of Marshall and DeKalb Counties, but the severe threat is over for North Alabama and Southern Tennessee. Storms may continue to be gusty and loud, but that’s it.
Frequent lightning continues in Marshall and Jackson, but the heaviest storms are now moving into DeKalb and Etowah. The watch is over, but we are still watching and updating the situation until it’s all gone.
Received a report that the Eva Fire Department responded to a minor house fire on County Road 1461 in extreme northern Cullman County. It is believed that the fire was caused by lightning.
Update from Huntsville Utilities:
Power has been restored in the area that is south of Airport Road to Four Mile Post Road between Memorial Parkway and Whitesburg Drive in SE Huntsville.
HU crews are still working to restore service in SW Huntsville areas including Airport Road, Drake Avenue, Leeman Ferry, Triana, and surrounding streets.
Strong storm with gusty winds, small hail moving off Sand Mt. over the Wills Valley and on to Lookout Mt. through 3:15 AM. A few trees could be blown down by brief wind gusts to 50 MPH. Sporadic power outages and street flooding possible.
Is it over for your area? If you’re to the left of the white line, yes. If you’re to the right of it (as of 2:58 AM) then you’ve still got a chance of a strong or briefly severe storm.
The leading line of storms has shifted east into northwest Georgia, with the severe threat over for north Alabama and southern Tennessee. Steady, light-to-moderate rain, with a few heavier pockets at times, will linger through mid-to-late morning. Don’t be surprised to hear a few more rumbles of thunder as well. If you have to travel early this morning, use extra caution on the roads, with standing water likely and possibly a few tree branches in the road due to gusty wind.