The threat for severe weather, especially damaging straight-line winds has increased overnight, according to officials with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. A line of thunderstorms will arrive ahead of a strong cold front, entering northwest Alabama before moving eastward and exiting the southeastern sections by 7:00pm.
Storms entered the northwest portion of the state around 6 a.m. and will linger until after 10 a.m. Places like Huntsville to the north and Tuscaloosa to the south could see storms starting at 8 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m. The central part of the state, including the region under an enhanced risk, will see storms from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Storms will progress across the state before exiting around 7 p.m.
Non-thunderstorm winds will significantly increase today – and a wind advisory is in effect statewide throughout the afternoon. Sustained winds of 15-25 mph with gusts from 30-40 mph – strong enough to down limbs and weaken trees will occur ahead of the line of storms.
Some thunderstorm straight-line wind gusts could reach 70 mph in places, especially across the area of Alabama in the enhanced region, including places like Gadsden, Talladega, Birmingham, Montgomery and Auburn. Large hail and a few tornadoes are also possible statewide, but less of a threat than straight-line winds; total rainfall will generally be one inch or less with no flooding concerns.
Due to very cold air and residual moisture behind the front, scattered snow flurries or snow showers could develop across the northern half of the state from pre-dawn Friday into the rest of the morning, lasting until very early Saturday morning in the far northern sections of the state. Although most locations will have no impact from the snow, temperatures will be near freezing north of I-20 early Friday morning and remain mainly in the 30’s during the rest of the day. Temperatures will then drop below freezing between 8 p.m. Friday and midnight Saturday.
Some locations in Madison, Marshall, Jackson, and De Kalb counties could receive up to a half-inch of accumulation with potential issues on bridges and roads, especially well protected roads, into Saturday morning.