First Alert Weather Day: The Impacts and Timeline of Today’s Severe Weather Threat

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:27 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - UPDATE: The threat for severe weather has ended tonight. A few showers remain possible overnight and very early Thursday morning.

The rest of Thursday will be quiet with highs in the 60s. Rain chances return late Friday ahead of a warm front. Strong to severe storms will return Saturday afternoon. Stay weather alert into the weekend. Colder weather will move in throughout the day on Sunday.

ORIGINAL: Today is a First Alert Weather Day because of the potential of strong and severe storms. Here is an update on what is going on.

Today's Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center
Today's Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center(WAFF 48)

While you were asleep, the Storm Prediction Center upgraded the threat for severe weather to an Enhanced Risk (Threat 3 of 5), and have now expanded it this morning to include all of North Alabama/Middle Tennessee. We have already seen showers and storms this morning, but a brief break later in the morning will allow for more energy and instability to build across the Valley. Morning temperatures will likely reach the upper 60s and low 70s, which would in fact break our daily high temperature record of 70° in Huntsville. That amount of warmth should provide plenty of energy for storms as they move in.

Our primary threats with these storms remain straight line wind gusts of 60+ mph but we may also see tornadoes, especially if we see individualized supercell storms ahead of the main cluster/wave of storms. On top of the severe wind threat we will have the potential for large hail of 1″+ but I don’t see that to be as big of a threat as the previous two.

The expected impacts and threats from today's severe weather potential.
The expected impacts and threats from today's severe weather potential.(WAFF 48)

In addition to those hazards, we will have the threat of flash flooding. Some spots have already seen 1 to 2 inches of rain this morning and we could add an additional 1 to 3 inches this afternoon. Some communities could see locally heavier amounts as well. The flooding potential will drastically increase if storms train/traverse over the same areas for an extended period of time.

Here is a breakdown of potential rainfall this afternoon alongside the Flash Flooding Risk...
Here is a breakdown of potential rainfall this afternoon alongside the Flash Flooding Risk Outlook from the Weather Prediction Center.(WAFF 48)

The timing does look to be much earlier than originally expected. The first wave of severe weather could be in as early as noon as a cluster of storms moves in from Mississippi. The first area to see the storms will be extreme Northwest Alabama into the Shoals, as well as Giles, Lawrence, and Wayne counties in Middle Tennessee. The Huntsville/Madison Metro areas can expect storms as early as 1 PM. For Sand Mountain and Northeast Alabama the storms will be a bit later in the afternoon. If you are looking for the timing for your city/town, the timeline graphic below shows and breaks down the timing for different sectors of the Tennessee Valley.

Severe Weather Timeline for December 29th, 2021
Severe Weather Timeline for December 29th, 2021(WAFF 48)

Another thing to think about is that there are more outdoor decorations up right now due to the holiday season. If you are a family/household with those yard inflatables today may be a good day to take those down! One thing of note, these storms are coming in during the holidays which makes communication and knowledge of the weather even more imperative. Some of you may be visiting town or may have family from out of town who don’t have knowledge or an understanding of our area and severe weather. You yourself may have just moved to North Alabama. Below are are few tips and reminders on what you need to do on a day like today, as well as a map to help YOU! Knowing which county & city you’re in as well as other cities/counties near you, could help keep you safe today.

Severe weather tips and reminders as well as a map of our coverage area. Knowing where you are...
Severe weather tips and reminders as well as a map of our coverage area. Knowing where you are at or staying will help you if warnings are issued.(WAFF 48)

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but this we are also watching the potential of another threat at severe storms this Saturday. That is still days away and we will monitor that, but we will not have much more information on that threat until we get through today’s round of severe weather.

As always, you can get more information as well as the latest forecast on our 48 First Alert Weather App which is free in your device’s app store. As storms develop this afternoon we will be streaming coverage on our Facebook page as well as our Streaming Apps wherever you stream us. You can find us on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices. Stay safe and alert this afternoon!

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