More showers and thunderstorms today, especially by the afternoon. A few possibly severe.
Thunderstorms from the overnight have shifted southward into central Alabama early this Wednesday morning, and all is quiet across the Tennessee Valley for now. Temperatures are in the upper 60s and lower 70s before sunrise this morning, and dewpoints are running in the upper 60s to lower 70s, making for a humid and unstable atmosphere once we get some daytime heating later this morning. Looking upstream to the northwest, one thunderstorm complex is tracking through central Missouri this morning. That will stay north of our immediate area. Of interest for us is the activity just starting to fire between Tulsa and Ft. Smith early this morning, as of the time of this blog post in the 4:00 AM hour.
The Storm Prediction Center maintains a Level 2 of 5 risk of severe weather for all of our viewing area today, and this is covers a broad area from the Ohio Valley down to south and central Alabama/Mississippi and then back into eastern Oklahoma. The main threats with storms today will be most of them capable of 30-50 mph wind gusts, but a few storms may be capable of 50-70 mph wind gusts. The potential for 60-70+ mph winds would increase a bit if we have an organized complex of storms along a line move into the area. There is some potential for that to happen, but details are still a bit unclear. If storms are a bit more clustered or cellular in nature, a few of them may also produce hail to the size of quarters. With the recent heavy rain, flooding will be a possible issue with any additional heavy rain that moves in later today. We also can't rule out a couple of short-lived, spin-up type tornadoes if we have an organized line or cells interacting with any boundaries either, but the overall tornado risk is low (but not zero). The tornado risk is low enough today that, if we are placed in a watch, it is almost certain to be a Severe Thunderstorm Watch instead of a Tornado Watch. We just can't 100% rule out a Tornado Warning or two.
Models have not been in very good agreement overnight with the exact evolution or timing of the storms for later today, but there has been an overall trend in the data for this to be more of an afternoon-centered event instead of the late morning to early afternoon thinking we previously had. The high-resolution Futurecast model from Baron may not be a perfect exact depiction of the storm timing and evolution for today, but it seems to be doing a decent job of showing an overall idea of what to expect, one that we can use as a jumping off point so that we can trend in a direction we may need to as storms develop to our northwest on radar this morning.
Futurecast continues to shift the overnight activity south and east of our area into the daybreak hours, but we may have a pop-up shower or two across the area. We may stay mostly quiet for much of the morning, or possibly even into midday, but if Futurecast is right, the thunderstorm complex will be near the Mississippi River as we approach midday. From there, it looks to move eastward across either southwest Tennessee and north Mississippi OR across north Mississippi with more isolated activity extending up into Tennessee. There has also been some bit of a trend for the more organized complex of storms to be more of a Mississippi/Alabama ordeal, with Tennessee seeing more scattered activity that could still be severe but not as widespread. Regardless, it looks like the storms move through our area during the early to mid afternoon, before shifting out during the 4-5PM timeframe. A few models are even slower, having this moving in during the late afternoon; so, there is some room for error with the timing. The main idea is that the afternoon hours look wet and stormy, and there may be a few warnings for storms with damaging winds.
The storms today help shift the boundary southward, and we take a break from the storms for Thursday. Another storm system moves through Friday into Friday night with rain and thunderstorms likely in our area again. However, with the southward trend with the frontal boundary, the risk of severe storms for Friday has been shifting south as well. The latest outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Friday has shifted the risk of severe storms south and southwest of our area. We will watch to see if there are any changes, but this is certainly good news!
Make sure that you stay in touch with weather information today. Ben Luna will be along later this morning on social media and the Tennessee Valley Weather Channel with an updated morning weathercast video. One of the best ways you can stay in touch with us today is by downloading the FREE Tennessee Valley Weather App if you have not already. Just scan the QR Code in the image or head over to the Apple App Store or Google Play and search for "Tennessee Valley Weather". Our FREE app gives you interactive real-time radar, an hourly and 7 day forecast produced manually by our weather team, push notifications for watches and warnings, and a live streaming link to our 24/7 all local digital weather channel. That means you also have a way of watching our live severe weather coverage if we have warnings later today. Our radio partners across southern middle Tennessee, northwest Alabama, and northeast Mississippi are also on stand-by to carry our live coverage on the radio later today should any warnings be issued across our area!