Storms on the Horizon

Posted on: 4:30 pm, April 2, 2014, by

Numerous factors are coming together for a significant severe weather outbreak WEST of the Tennessee Valley on Thursday; the storms that form west of us tomorrow will move east into Alabama and Middle Tennessee by daybreak on Friday. While our severe weather threat is lower than it is over Mississippi, West Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri, we still have some potential for strong and severe storms. Watch how the SPC’s outlooks follow the advancing storm system:

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Those outlooks are guidelines; they don’t require action on your part like a watch or warning. Their purpose is to alert you that stormy weather is on the way.

Note that the Tennessee Valley, Middle Tennessee, and Central Alabama are in the “SLIGHT RISK” area – not the MODERATE. The basic idea here in going from MODERATE on Thursday to SLIGHT on Friday is that the over-all intensity of storms will be diminishing as they move into this area after midnight into Friday morning. It does not exclude us from a threat of strong winds, hail, and even short-lived tornadoes, but it does mean the odds of something like that impacting you are less than the odds of our neighbors to the west getting it.

The midday NAM looks to have a good handle on this situation; much of the red (heavy rain) fades as storms move into The Shoals before dawn. Much of the activity dries up before reaching Sand and Lookout Mountains in eastern Alabama:

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  • NAM "Forecast" Radar Reflectivity at 4 AM Friday

  • NAM "Forecast" Radar Reflectivity at 7 AM Friday

  • NAM "Forecast" Radar Reflectivity at 10 AM Friday

  • NAM "Forecast" Radar Reflectivity at 1 PM Friday

  • NAM "Forecast" Radar Reflectivity at 4 PM Friday

That’s great news if it holds out to be true: severe weather may not be “extreme” here this time around. It’s very plausible given the fact that most of the strong dynamics lift into the Tennessee and Kentucky away from the higher instability by Friday morning.

There are always some surprises with storms. Thunderstorms form on a level smaller than our models can accurately portray, so the uncertainty factor forces me to leave you with this:

Don’t turn your back on this event. It’s always good to be prepared. There’s no reason to get worried and panic about tornadoes right now. Be on alert, have your weather radio or mobile app programmed and ready to go just in case a warning is issued for your area early Friday.

If you don’t have a NOAA weather radio or you’d like a back-up of that technology on your mobile device, see this link for some information about what WHNT News 19 offers (free) and recommends (other vendors).

-Jason
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