Update 5 – Severe Weather Threat Georgia / Alabama Thursday / Friday 2/23-2/24/2012

Update #5 – 6:35 AM 2/24/2012

Quick update … The primary threat form any storms that may develop will be damaging winds. As always in a situation such as this, an isolated tornado can not be ruled out, along with hail and lightning.

Showers and some storms are beginning to fire in Alabama around Montgomery extending into West Central Georgia. From this point on, it’s anyone’s guess as to how strong some of the storms today will become.

I’ll continue to watch and will be posting Updates throughout the day on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow along here :: My MAIN accounts: On Twitter @CataulaGaWX where I post relevant information as storms approach the area, and Facebook Cataula Ga Weather where I try and do the same.

Also of interest is my other Twitter and Facebook accounts where All warnings for the local area are posted automatically as they are issued. Facebook Page:Cataula GA Weather Alerts And Twitter Stream @CataulaGaALERTS.


As mentioned in my previous update, Update #4 – 10:59 PM 2/23/2012. the Storm Prediction Center has ‘Shifted’ the areas of concern Eastward.

Here are the latest Graphics from the Storm Prediction Center this morning. Time frame for all Graphics 6 AM EST today thru 6 AM EST Saturday.

Slight Risk [categorical] : The local area is now well within the ‘slight risk’ area as well as much of Georgia.

Tornado Outlook: The local area is withing the 5% risk area of seeing a Tornado. This does not mean a Tornado will form, only the chances are there.

Wind Outlook: The local area is withing the 15% risk area of seeing damaging winds. Like the Tornado outlook above, this does not mean everyone will see this. The chances are only higher in this area.

Hail Outlook: Much of the southeast is in a 5% risk area. As with the other outlooks above, this does not mean everyone will see hail.

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Update #4 – 10:59 PM 2/23/2012

For tonight through the early morning hours Friday.

Everything still on track per my previous updates. Still looking like the stronger storms will be with the approaching cold front. I’m still not sure at this time if any storms will form in ahead of the approaching front.

As mentioned earlier it looks like the storms will hold off in the area until around 6 AM EST. That is still provided none form ahead of the front. Should storms build ahead of the front, they will be capable of producing damaging winds.

The threat remains the same as earlier; “The primary threat form any storms that may develop tonight will be damaging winds. As always in a situation such as this, an isolated tornado can not be ruled out, along with hail and lightning.”

Here’s the latest graphics from the Storm Prediction Center released earlier this evening. All of these cover the time from 7 PM EST Thursday evening thru 6 AM EST Friday morning.

Slight Risk [categorical] : As you can see from this graphic, the slight risk area covers a large area. As for the local area it cuts right through Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama. Close enough to remain aware of the situation. If you scroll down to Update 3 below, You will see where this slight risk area remains through the day Friday until Saturday morning at 6 AM EST.

Tornado Outlook: As with the slight risk area above, the Tornado risk area also cut through the local area. Columbus and Phenix City are on the fringe of the 5% risk area and withing the 2% risk area of seeing a possible Tornado.

Wind Outlook: The local area is once again split, with Columbus and Phenix City being on the fringe of the 15% risk area of seeing possible damaging winds. A larger area is in the 5% risk area.

Hail Outlook: The Columbus and Phenix City area is in a 5% risk of seeing any large hail with much of Alabama in a 15% risk area.

The thing to remember from the above is all of the risk areas will continue to shift east along with the approaching cold front.

I’ll be getting some shuteye and will be back around 3-4 AM EST with any updated information.

While I’m away, you can check my other Twitter and Facebook accounts where All warnings for the local area are posted automatically as they are issued. Facebook Page:Cataula GA Weather Alerts And Twitter Stream @CataulaGaALERTS.

And when I online, My MAIN accounts: On Twitter @CataulaGaWX where I post relevant information as storms approach the area, and Facebook Cataula Ga Weather where I try and do the same.

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Update #3 – 4:40 PM 2/23/2012

Timing is everything … At this time it looks like the chance for severe weather in the local area will be in the morning hours of Friday. Chances increase form around 6 AM EST until about Noon when the cold front ‘should’ clear the area. The best chances for severe weather remain with any storm that forms along or ahead of the cold front.

In my earlier update below, I mentioned the local area was NOT in the Slight Risk area and didn’t expect it to be later. I stand by that for today’s weather. Tomorrow is a different story.

Here’s a couple graphics from the Storm Prediction Center.

This one shows 6 AM EST Friday through 6 AM EST Saturday. The local area is in the Slight Risk area.

This next one shows the local area in a 15% area of seeing severe storms 6 AM EST Friday through 6 AM EST Saturday.

I wish I were a storm whisperer and could tell you exactly what was going to happen, but I’m not and can’t. I’ll have updates until the system passes, so check back.

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Update #2 – 11:45 AM 2/23/2012

Not overly impressed with the current setup for severe storms in the local area. As mentioned yesterday in Update #1 – 12:48 PM 2/22/2012 below, conditions in the local area are not as conducive for severe storms as shown a couple days ago.

My thinking today is much like yesterday. Some areas in and around the local area in the right place at the right time could still see a strong or even severe storm tonight. The main threat from storms tonight will be strong winds from embedded storms within the line of showers and storms expected to form known as straight line winds. There is also the possibility of isolated storms building out ahead of this line. Should this happen, these storms may become severe producing strong damaging winds. The primary threat form any storms that may develop tonight will be damaging winds. As always in a situation such as this, an isolated tornado can not be ruled out, along with hail and lightning.

Current data available to me shows heavier amounts of rain coming in Friday morning around 5 AM EST. Through this evening and up to Friday morning looks like mainly scattered showers and storms. That is not to say some heavier rain will not be seen in areas out and ahead of the front with the strong storms should they develop in the overnight.

The most unstable time for stronger storms at this time [ 11:11 AM 2/23/2012 ] from models are as follows:

RUC shows most instability today, Thursday evening, around 6-7 PM EST

NAM shows most instability today, Thursday evening, around 4-5 PM EST

GFS shows most instability today, Thursday evening, around 4-5 PM EST

This does not mean storms will be firing. It only shows this is the time of the most unstable conditions for storm development.

All in all I’m not expecting any widespread severe storms in the local area. As mentioned though an isolated strong or severe storm can’t be ruled out. Where that might happen is anyone’s guess. I’ll be watching for them.

As is the case when severe weather threatens the area, I will be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter as much as I can and to the best of my ability.

My MAIN accounts: On Twitter @CataulaGaWX where I post relevant information as storms approach the area, and Facebook Cataula Ga Weather where I try and do the same.

Also of interest is my other Twitter and Facebook accounts where All warnings for the local area are posted automatically as they are issued. Facebook Page:Cataula GA Weather Alerts And Twitter Stream @CataulaGaALERTS.

Here are some graphics of interest….

The latest graphic from the Storm Prediction Center this morning:

As you can see below, the local area is NOT included in the Slight Risk area at this time, nor do I expect it to be later. Previously it was.

Here is this mornings outlook from the NWS Peachtree City, GA and associated text:

A strong cold front will interact with a moist and unstable air mass to support the development of scattered thunderstorms tonight. A few storms could become severe. The greater severe storm threat will be along and north of a La Grange to Athens line and generally between the hours of 10 pm this evening and 7 am Friday morning. The severe storm threat should push south of the area before 7 am Friday morning.

Here is this mornings outlook and threat level for Alabama from the NWS out of Birmingham Alabama and associated text:

This graphic shows the relative threat level for each hazard. The primary threat for this event will be damaging straight line winds.

A cold front will push across central Alabama tonight. The front will trigger scattered showers and thunderstorms. A few of the storms may be severe with damaging straight line winds the primary threat. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Here is this mornings outlook from the NWS out of Mobile Alabama

The latest from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center showing predicted rainfall. The local are could see 1 inch through 6 AM Saturday morning. Heavier amounts are possible.

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Update #1 – 12:48 PM 2/22/2012

The threat of severe storms Thursday night into Friday not as high NOW as thought. The timing of arrival is also in question. Looking now as if stronger storms might be from Midnight Thursday thru Noon Friday.

Models are showing a more stable environment limiting convection. While the threat of severe storms has decreased somewhat, some areas of the southeast could still see a few stronger storms embedded within the line of showers that will approach the area. The primary hazards from the isolated embedded stronger thunderstorms would still be isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and lightning.

No new graphics from the Storm Prediction Center to add at the moment as the previous seen below still outline what is expected with ‘ONE EXCEPTION’. That ‘exception’ being on the below Probabilistic Outlook [SPC day3 probabilistic] graphic, the ‘Removal’ of the ‘RED 30% Hatched’ enhanced area of seeing severe storms. The entire area is still in a Slight risk of seeing severe weather.

As with any weather event the closer we get the better we see what to expect. Things change day to day with evolving systems. With that, I’ll continue to look at data and have more information tomorrow or earlier should things take a change for the worse.

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Original Post at 8:06 AM EST 2/21/2012

Much like the storm systems that have pushed through in past weeks, the threat of ‘damaging winds and hail will be the main threats’. However, [ you knew it was coming ] and ‘isolated Tornado’ cant be ruled out. It seems the normal spring severe weather season is getting an early start this year and may prove to be very active for 2012.

Before I get into the specifics of the approaching system I would like to mention the last 2 [ HERE – January 26/27 2012 and HERE – February 18/19 2012 ] that pushed through the local area. Neither of these past systems produced severe weather in the local area. We dodged some rough weather both times with storm reports coming in from areas to our west and south. Will our luck continue ? Perhaps

As always, the timing, placement and strength are up in the air a bit as we are still a couple days out. It’s difficult to tell where severe weather might occur to pinpoint accuracy but we do have a general idea. It looks like the more severe potential will stay north of the local area up towards Birmingham and Atlanta areas, don’t let your guard down locally because of this.

At this time 7:47 AM 2/21/2012 it looks like the weather will start to go downhill around 6:00 PM Thursday [ maybe earlier depending on the timing issue ] and continuing into early Friday morning. Looks like stronger storms my impact the area around 10 or 11 pm est. I can’t be more specific at this time.

As with the last storms to push through we have ample Helicity and Shear at times. Added into the mix this time is something not overly present in the last two frontal passages, that being high values of surface based CAPE. This increases the likelihood of strong to severe storms at some point and time. There will no doubt be some heavy rainfall in some areas as this pushes through.

Here are the latest graphics from the Storm Prediction Center.

Slight Risk [SPC day3 categorical] : Includes most of Alabama and a good portion of Georgia. This are will shift slightly eastward later.

Probabilistic Outlook [SPC day3 probabilistic] : This is concerning. On this particular graphic we see the normal areas of concern. What this has that is different form the previous storms, a ‘Hatched Area’. This ‘Hatched Area’ depicts a more likelihood or enhanced area of seeing severe storms within 25 miles of a given point. This area is likely to shift eastward later.

Of further concern is this graphic for the severe potential continuing into Saturday morning for a large portion of Georgia. Not out of the norm looking out 4 days, but the first I’ve seen this year at 4 days.

As mentioned earlier, Rainfall will be heavy at times with some areas seeing more than others. Generally we can expect 0.75 inches to over 1 Inch in some areas through Sunday.

As with all systems approaching the area, Stay tuned for updated information.

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