Monday, June 19, 2023

New Tornado Watch For Walker and Winston Counties


 

Details forthcoming . . . looks like they cancelled the rest of it early. 



The earlier tornado watch has been cancelled for everyone else. If you live in Cullman County, you are close enough to this new watch that if you really want to play it safe, I'd go to bed with a NOAA Weather Radio on alert. Or at least make sure your phone will go off for a WEA alert if you need to wake up. A lot of this activity may stay in Mississippi or just past the Alabama border, but between now and 8 AM there could be a few severe thunderstorms in this vicinity that could produce a few tornadoes in addition to large hail and damaging winds. These would likely be supercells if they happen, and counties like Lamar, Marion, Fayette, as well as Walker and Winston are included in this new watch. The rest of North Alabama is not, and Tennessee is in the clear tonight. 

Remember though, we had some storms go severe outside of the watch earlier tonight, at least that one storm that started near Vinemont, hit Owens Crossroads, then fizzled soon after passing Skyline. And by definition a Tornado Watch means conditions favor severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes in AND CLOSE TO the watch area. So if you live somewhere like Cullman or Moulton, or anywhere near the watch area, good idea to make sure that your alert system will wake you up just in case of something. 

1:50 AM - All right, I've had some time to cool off from a humbling severe weather threat we had tonight. The most damage seems to have occurred at Owens Crossroads, a good couple counties away from the Tornado Watch. And while there was structural damage, it is most likely from damaging straight-line winds and unusually large hail blowing around in those winds. This was not a typical mesoscale convective system as expected, and it really did not follow the short-term forecasts of some supercells merging into a squall line. It was a really messy, unusual situation. And it is an unusual setup for this time of year to begin with. 

Let's do a radar check.


Unfortunately these storms moving from Mississippi do have the potential to become severe over about the next 4-6 hours. The tornado watch is showing up on this map further south than what I'm seeing from official government sources online. As far as I know, the counties of Walker, Winston, Marion, Lamar, and Fayette in Northwest Alabama are still included in this Tornado Watch. Which goes until 8 AM. The risk of storms going severe or producing significant tornado damage is marked as "moderate" if you go to the SPC website, 50% chance of having a tornado, 30% chance of it doing significant damage somewhere in this broad area. 

It might have been overkill for me to be warning people in places like Franklin, Lawrence, and Cullman Counties to consider they could get a nasty surprise overnight too. Not trying to be overly alarmist here. But a Tornado Watch means conditions are right for severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes in and close to the watch area. And perhaps I was rattled by how we had the worst damage around here outside of the watch area earlier. Cullman, Morgan, Madison, Marshall, and Jackson Counties were never under any type of watch tonight. And those were the counties affected by that storm that produced the hail, maybe golfball or even baseball sized at times, plus several trees down and even structural damage reported. 

I'm not saying you need to stay up all night worrying about it. But if you are in or near this watch, you need to get your sleep, but with at least one way to wake you up if a Tornado Warning comes out. Wireless emergency alerts on a cell phone will wake you up for a Tornado Warning, and once in a while, it'll tone for a Severe Thunderstorm Warning if it's a really bad one with a Particularly Dangerous Situation tag on it. It also does Flash Flood Warnings and Amber Alerts. A NOAA Weather Radio with battery backup or a service like Weathercall is even better in the long-term. You get more a range of watches and warnings, and depending on what you buy and how you set things up, you may have more choices as to what alerts you get. I think NOAA Weather Radio is still the best source. 

And usually by June, we don't have to worry about this, unless we have a hurricane moving far inland. But this is a very unusual pattern we've been in lately. And even though it is not spring-time, we are getting a reminder of why every home really needs a weather radio. 

If you get bothered by it going off too often, there is a way to program it now so that is only alerts for one county - uses something called a SAME code. In the future, I think they will improve it to where it can detect your location more precisely within a county. I think the WeatherCall service already does that, but you'd have to check. I've never bought a phone service for weather alerts because I'm usually paying attention or am at home with a weather radio that's got batteries in it. 

If you're nervous about the phone alerts failing you and on a tight budget, one thing you could do is tune to a radio station as you go to sleep. (Now this I have done in the past.) One that you can stand the music or news/talk shows as you snooze, and that you know cuts in for severe weather. If they sound that EAS alert noise, it is just about impossible to sleep through. The key is that around here, too many people think they'll hear a siren, an outdoor siren. And you just can't count on that. Especially at night, there have actually been people who lost their lives from tornadoes because they didn't know anything was going on, and wrongly expected an outdoor siren to wake them up indoors in the middle of the night. So that's all I was saying is to go on to bed if you need to, but have a way to wake up if you need to, in enough time to get to a proper shelter. 

And that's a small room or hallway on the lowest floor of a sturdy house (not a mobile home), somewhere near the center of the structure, away from windows. 

It is weird to be going back over this in the early summer-time. Maybe we won't have any problems the rest of the night. But some low-end potential is there, mainly in Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, and Winston Counties. If you are in or near those counties, it might pay to be ready to wake up and do what you need to do, just in case something else does happen somewhere. 



2:11 AM - Well, make a fool of me again . . . after I finished typing that up, I saw that the National Weather Service in Birmingham has removed Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, and Winston Counties from the Tornado Watch. The severe weather threat is expected to stay further to the South the rest of the night and into the early dawn hours, through about 8 AM. It's basically Tuscaloosa, Reform, and points South of there, well outside the scope of this blog. 

So if you're in North Alabama, I wish you a good night's rest and a better day tomorrow, or you know, Monday, Juneteenth. If you're lucky enough to have the day off work, hope you get a chance to enjoy it. If you're working for the public, take a deep breath or two whenever you get a lunch or snack break, and remember that holiday Mondays always pass. 

SEL8


   URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED

   Tornado Watch Number 338

   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK

   1255 AM CDT Mon Jun 19 2023


   The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a


   * Tornado Watch for portions of 

     Western Alabama

     Northeastern Louisiana

     Central Mississippi


   * Effective this Monday morning from 1255 AM until 800 AM CDT.


   * Primary threats include...

     A few tornadoes and a couple intense tornadoes possible

     Scattered damaging wind gusts to 70 mph possible

     Isolated large hail events to 1.5 inches in diameter possible


   SUMMARY...Existing clusters of strong-severe thunderstorms over the

   watch area -- as well as any additional convection that may develop

   along/ahead of the front/wind-shift boundary in northern LA/MS --

   poses a threat of a few tornadoes, as well as isolated hail and

   damaging wind, through the reminder of the night.


   The tornado watch area is approximately along and 65 statute miles

   north and south of a line from 30 miles west of Natchez MS to 45

   miles southeast of Tuscaloosa AL. For a complete depiction of the

   watch see the associated watch outline update (WOUS64 KWNS WOU8).


   PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...


   REMEMBER...A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for

   tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch

   area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for

   threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements

   and possible warnings.


   &&


   OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...This tornado watch replaces tornado

   watch number 335...tornado watch number 337. Watch number 335 337

   will not be in effect after 1255 AM CDT. CONTINUE...WW 336...


   AVIATION...Tornadoes and a few severe thunderstorms with hail

   surface and aloft to 1.5 inches. Extreme turbulence and surface wind

   gusts to 60 knots. A few cumulonimbi with maximum tops to 550. Mean

   storm motion vector 28025.


   ...Edwards


WOUS64 KWNS 190555

   WOU8


   BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED

   TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 338

   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK

   1255 AM CDT MON JUN 19 2023


   TORNADO WATCH 338 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 800 AM CDT FOR THE

    FOLLOWING LOCATIONS


   ALC007-023-025-047-057-063-065-075-091-093-105-107-119-125-127-

   129-131-133-191300-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0338.230619T0555Z-230619T1300Z/


   AL 

   .    ALABAMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE


   BIBB                 CHOCTAW             CLARKE              

   DALLAS               FAYETTE             GREENE              

   HALE                 LAMAR               MARENGO             

   MARION               PERRY               PICKENS             

   SUMTER               TUSCALOOSA          WALKER              

   WASHINGTON           WILCOX              WINSTON             



   LAC025-029-041-065-107-191300-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0338.230619T0555Z-230619T1300Z/


   LA 

   .    LOUISIANA PARISHES INCLUDED ARE


   CATAHOULA            CONCORDIA           FRANKLIN            

   MADISON              TENSAS              



   MSC001-007-021-023-029-031-037-049-051-061-063-065-067-069-075-

   077-079-085-087-089-099-101-103-121-123-127-129-149-153-159-163-

   191300-

   /O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0338.230619T0555Z-230619T1300Z/


   MS 

   .    MISSISSIPPI COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE


   ADAMS                ATTALA              CLAIBORNE           

   CLARKE               COPIAH              COVINGTON           

   FRANKLIN             HINDS               HOLMES              

   JASPER               JEFFERSON           JEFFERSON DAVIS     

   JONES                KEMPER              LAUDERDALE          

   LAWRENCE             LEAKE               LINCOLN             

   LOWNDES              MADISON             NESHOBA             

   NEWTON               NOXUBEE             RANKIN              

   SCOTT                SIMPSON             SMITH               

   WARREN               WAYNE               WINSTON             

   YAZOO                



   ATTN...WFO...BMX...JAN...MOB...

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