A mix of sun and clouds can be seen on our Skycam Network this afternoon, including our newest Skycam location at the city hall in Lexington, Alabama. Despite the clouds, we are still seeing plenty of sunshine across the Tennessee Valley area today, but it is filtered. Clouds will continue to increase as we go through the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Temperatures outside across the area are mostly in the low to mid 70s, but our northeast Mississippi areas have gotten as warm as the upper 70s today. We expect temperatures to warm yet a couple more degrees as we continue through the afternoon. We have a few light radar echoes out there, but most of this is evaporating before reaching the ground. The bulk of our rain comes later tonight when a disturbance from the north moves into the area.
The Storm Prediction Center maintains a Level 1 of 5 risk of severe storms across our area for the overnight hours tonight through the predawn hours of Saturday morning. This is for a low but not completely zero potential for one or two storms overnight having 40-60 mph wind gusts or maybe small hail. It is more likely that we WON'T have any severe storms than we will, but we can't 100% rule out a stray severe thunderstorm warning or two. While the tornado risk is never zero with any severe thunderstorm, in this situation, it is as close to zero as possible. This is because of a stable layer of air from the surface to around 5,000 ft above the ground. This will make it extremely hard for any rotation to reach the ground, and it will also make it hard for any damaging wind gusts to reach the ground.
Futurecast above shows the timing and evolution of the storms. Rain and thunderstorms become more widespread from 10:00 PM to midnight as the disturbance moves in from the north. From there, the complex of rain and storms gradually sags southward through the area during the early morning hours before mostly shifting to our south going into the daybreak hours of Saturday. Lingering rain and rumbles of thunder will carry into the morning, however. Because of that stable layer we mentioned above, this is also likely to be one of those nights where the thunder reverberates loudly, because that temperature inversion acts like a lid in the lower atmosphere, and it causes the sound waves to reverberate closer to the ground instead of carrying out into the upper atmosphere. Don't be shocked if you are awakened by thunder overnight.
The Easter weekend overall looks to be a somewhat wet one, but it won't be an all-day washout any particular day. Showers become more hit and miss by the afternoon on Saturday, and at least the morning and midday hours of Easter Sunday feature only scattered activity, before more widespread rain and storms move in during the evening and overnight. By Monday and Tuesday, that front is pushing through the area and bringing a return to cooler and drier air. If there is one silver lining to all the rain the next day or two, it will be for allergy sufferers, as this will help to lower those tree pollen levels across our area, at least through the Easter weekend.