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A closer look at the New Years Eve thunderstorm threat.


In typical 2020 fashion, the coda to the year will be wet, stormy, and accompanied with non-zero severe weather chances for some of the coverage area. We mentioned in yesterdays post how systems like this are configured, why the threat is higher - or in this case, lower - with certain system formations, and the limiting factors with this particular set-up. Indeed, we are within the 3 day SPC forecast period and there is decent agreement that the highest severe weather chances will be limited to points well south of us.



Dewpoints across the region at 6pm Thursday.

Thanks to the complex of thunderstorms and precipitation along the Gulf Coast, alongside meek surface winds across the area, our the threat for severe weather across the coverage area has consistently been on a considerable down-trend for most points north of U.S. 80. Even southern-central portions of the coverage area (such as Colbert Co., AL, Franklin Co., AL, and points adjacent) sit with dewpoints around 60, but this alone isn't ample for a considerable severe weather threat thanks to the associated winds at the surface, which are simply insufficient for any drastic threat. All and all, the threat just isn't all that substantial when it comes down to severe weather, but with heavy precipitation blanketing the region associated with a warm front and from previous convection moving northward, a flash flooding threat is worth taking into consideration as the front moves northward.



From when the precipitation begins to move into our area late Thursday morning to when it is on it's way out Friday afternoon, models generally agree that, as it stands, widespread 1-2" inches are likely across much of the area. Realistically, rainfall may be much more widespread throughout the night Thursday into Friday, particularly north of U.S. 80, so models may be under-doing totals - by the end of the event, widespread totals of 2-3" across the coverage area could be in place, with isolated lower, more saturated spots totaling slightly higher. As time progresses, the image will become clearer and more specifics can be nailed down. All things being equal, though, the greatest threat of any significant inclement weather seems to lie in that of the threat of scattered flash flooding. After this system is on it's way out, the foreseeable future looks to remain fairly tame for us. While not in our coverage area, it is worth mentioning briefly that the severe weather threat from Lousiana to Mobile is much higher, and models suggest an environment conducive to all modes of severe weather, including tornadoes. If you have family or friends in the area who may be celebrating New Years this week, be sure to let them know of the threat coming their way!

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