Unseasonably warm temperatures have set the stage for severe storms; a high impact severe weather event is expected to impact Alabama tomorrow and Christmas Eve.

All modes of severe weather will be possible, including tornadoes. The following forecast map from the National Weather Service shows most of Alabama in a limited threat area, while areas north of I 20/59 are in an elevated risk area, and northwest Alabama is in a significant threat area.

That means most our listening area is under the highest threat. Bibb, Greene, Hale, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa Counties are all in the significant risk area. 

NWS Birmingham
NWS Birmingham

ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann stresses the significance of this severe weather event in his latest post on the ABC 33/40 Weather Blog:

HIGH IMPACT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT POSSIBLE TOMORROW AFTERNOON AND TOMORROW NIGHT: Dewpoints surge into the 67-70 degree range tomorrow, wind fields increase, and a dynamic trough approaches from the west, setting the stage for potential trouble. Let’s go through the details.

TIMING: I think the core window for severe weather across Alabama will come from 3:00 p.m. tomorrow through 12:00 midnight tomorrow night. Understand there could be a few severe storms before 3:00 and after midnight, but that is the primary nine hour window. It is impossible to give you start/stop times for storms at any given location since they will be cellular and rather random. Just understand a severe storm is possible at any time during that threat window.

PLACEMENT: SPC has put parts of North and Northwest Alabama under an “enhanced” severe weather risk for tomorrow and tomorrow night, with the standard “slight” risk for the rest of the state.

MODES OF SEVERE WEATHER: A few tornadoes are possible with the severe storms that form tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, with the higher probability of a tornado across the enhanced risk area. But, the threat of a tornado exists statewide, even near the coast. Also, storms will be capable of producing damaging winds, and some hail is possible.

RAIN: Rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely between now and tomorrow night, probably not enough for major flooding problems, but localized issues could develop with the heavier storms.

CONFIDENCE LEVEL: Pretty high for this event. The one factor that could mitigate the risk is a big mass of rain and storms on the coast, which could block the inflow of moisture up into the northern part of Alabama, but no model is showing anything like that for now.

WILL THIS BE LIKE APRIL 27, 2011? I actually choose not to answer that question any more. Of course, the answer is no; April 27, 2011 was a generational event. But please understand this; if all we have is one tornado in the entire state, and if that one tornado happens to come down your street, then that day is YOUR April 27.

CALL TO ACTION: If you are reading this, then you are aware of the situation and stay informed. My concern is for those who don’t pay attention; please tell your friends and neighbors about this threat. So many people are traveling this time of the year, making it harder to reach the masses.

For a more in-depth look at the forecast, watch the latest Weather Xtreme Video from James Spann above.

We encourage all our listeners to prepare for this severe weather event. We will do our best to keep you informed with the latest forecast details and, should a tornado warning be issued in our listening area, live wall-to-wall coverage. Take time today and tomorrow morning to go over your family's severe weather plan and ensure that you have all the necessary supplies.