Details soon - does include Cullman County.
2:36 - I don't know why this is, but the Storm Prediction Center site is not showing this latest watch yet. It is on Twitter, while Daryl Herzmann's IEM accounts are not anymore. I'm seeing if I can use his direct website to keep up with stuff in a less convenient way. We take things and folks who set them up for granted sometimes, and he really has done the meteorological community a great service by maintaining that. And he kept it on social media as long as some goofball didn't foul it up. Who would have thought the inventor of Tesla cars could wreak havoc in the world of meteorology, just because he had his head too far up his own keister? I say stuff like that because I'm not popular and beloved to begin with. I have a total of four followers on social media. And all sarcasm aside, I do appreciate each of them.
Anyway to get to the important part, we've got scattered showers and thunderstorms forming in the heat and humidity as this cold front sags southward. It is actually expected to move through the region, even though this is July, been a sort of weird summer, and some of the storms may reach severe limits today and tonight around here. The really organized storms that are producing damaging winds right now are back in Southwest Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. But we have other activity forming ahead of it. So this watch is just to let everyone in North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee know that through about 9 PM tonight, there is a risk for some of these thunderstorms producing strong winds that could do damage, perhaps even reaching hurricane force in some cases. And we could also have some large hail, unfortunately could also be more significant than usual, they are estimating that golfball size will be possible.
So if you live in a mobile home, you might consider spending this evening with a friend who has a sturdier house, especially if you've got trees around. Try not to get caught driving through any severe thunderstorms. We already had some flooding in Huntsville and Harvest earlier this morning, talk about rough driving conditions. So don't cross any water covering the road, of course.
But seriously, it would be wise to pay attention if you get a Severe Thunderstorm Warning this afternoon or evening. At least stay inside, away from windows, away from anything electrical. But if you really want to be safe, I'd get into something like a hallway on the lowest floor. And as I say, it's better if you can be in a site-built home anchored to the ground, rather than a mobile home. You don't have to go full tornado-level shelter today necessarily, but since we do have some risk of at least isolated instances of winds that could get up to hurricane force, combined with a risk of hail that could get to golfball size, I'm not going to discourage anyone who wants to play it safe and take any extra precautions. That's probably the smart thing to do. I'm just saying for average people, this doesn't have to be a total drag where it shoots the whole day.
Will probably post radar updates here roughly every hour depending on how things trend.
3:13 PM - Well the Storm Prediction Center still hasn't posted the actual text of this watch, so I'm giving up on that and just going to post radar updates or warnings as needed.
The severe thunderstorms with a history of producing wind damage (hail is actually under severe limits for now in these storms) are getting ready to move into Wayne County, Tennessee within the next 30 minutes. Already producing damaging winds in McNairy County just West of there. And we've got issues in Northern Mississippi as well. Those storms should maintain strength as they move into Alabama over about the next hour. Given the time of day, they may even intensify somewhat.
3:19 - Saw on Twitter that the North Carolina tornado from a day or two ago was rated an F-3, the first time that's ever happened there in July. That storm made history, injured 16 people, and two of those injuries were life-threatening. When it gets to that level of wind, that's when you really start to need a basement if you can get to one, or a storm shelter. Because with the poor construction practices we've got in even very tornado-prone places (like here), sometimes, a tornado that strong can blow the whole house up. It does not take a rare F-5, or E/F-5. But you don't really expect that in July anyway. Crazy weather this summer.
3:25 - People in places like Muscle Shoals or Hamilton also want to be monitoring these storms in Mississippi and getting ready to get to a safe-enough place before they move in.
The storms in Alabama as of right now are staying under severe limits, the only thing to watch is the lightning, stay inside if you can hear thunder, common sense.
3:33 - And you know what . . . we've got Rock the South going on in Cullman. Some people may be travelling to it as we speak. So here is a look at the storms moving through the county. These are not severe at this point, but they are still producing a good bit of rain and a good bit of lightning. So people need to be cautious about that.
3:37 - A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has come out for Wayne County, Tennessee.
Estimating 60 mph wind gusts and quarter sized hail with these storms. So far we're not seeing those extra-damaging winds or hail, but from past experience this very summer, we know things can escalate quickly. Any of the warnings are worth paying attention to and at least staying inside, away from windows.
3:43 - I had totally forgotten about that Rock the South festival until I heard some noise last night that sounded like a concert in town. The timing is unfortunate for these storms, but you know, sometimes it happens.
Tomorrow night looks great. I think Jo Dee Messina and Chris Stapleton are the headliners then.
3:49 - I'd have already gotten back in my car if I was down there.
Or maybe they have a place people can get inside. Though I kind of doubt that on a farm . . . really wide open land. I only saw the show one year when they were still at the park.
3:54 - Okay now a severe thunderstorm warning for Southern Colbert, Franklin, and Western Lawrence Counties for potential of 60 mile per hour wind gusts, maybe a little hail but not severe hail.
This includes communities like Russellville, Red Bay, over to Phil Campbell, and clips places like Town Creek and Moulton. Anywhere within that polygon, I'd get to a good safe place and stay there until the storms pass.
3:57 - And we actually do have a Special Weather Statement for the storms moving through Cullman right now. These winds are just under severe limits and may affect other places like Eva, Arab, Guntersville, down to Albertville or even Boaz.
4:01 PM - And here is the broad view. Not all of these storms are becoming severe. The lightning sure is fierce in some of the sub-severe ones though, especially where a music festival is going on unfortunately.
4:03 - If there is a silver lining for Cullman, it is that with this much rain-cooled air, and then the dark hours falling, plus the atmosphere kind of worked over by all the lightning, the risk of any storms becoming severe later tonight may be lessened quite a bit. Never say never, but hopefully this is the worst the concertgoers will have to deal with.
Though there will likely be more rain at least, if not more storms later. Since we didn't get a hailstorm out of this, yeah, those other storms will probably produce a decent amount of lightning later. I'm just thinking the rain-cooling right now could help them out from any problems with severe level winds later, which really would be more of a problem to deal with at a big outdoor concert like that. With lightning they can just send people inside somewhere, even back to their cars. They did that in the park one year.
And like James Spann shared on the tweeter, it looks like they are being smart and doing a weather delay. Maybe people were mostly traveling to the event and not out in the open concert grounds yet. I really have not kept up with the schedule, had a rough month, where going to a concert never crossed my mind as a remote possibility. I did hear Alabama from a distance last year, and they were incredible.
Rock the South in Cullman in a weather delay; a strong storm loaded with lightning is right over the venue… pic.twitter.com/02wbHsZK58— James Spann (@spann) July 21, 2023
5:06 - Doesn't look like the folks at the farm are letting the weather bother them a bit. I was just thinking of it from a big picture, public safety standpoint, especially from the flooding. But it looks like on the actual concert grounds, people just see a chance to play in the mud.
Scenes from Rock The South in Cullman this afternoon… photos from Anna Stanley pic.twitter.com/WDymWqV7AL— James Spann (@spann) July 21, 2023