The weather service issued the watch at 1:20 this afternoon for the following Alabama counties: Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Jackson, Lee, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, Randolph, Russell, St. Clair, Talladega and Tallapoosa.
The watch is set to expire at 8 p.m.
A hazardous weather outlook issued by the weather service earlier today said that tornadoes could be a threat for extreme eastern Alabama, generally and east of a line from Centre to Ashland to Alexander City to Tuskegee to Troy.
Areas west of there could see severe thunderstorms, the weather outlook said.
The threat of damaging winds follows a period of heavy rain in the state. Showers dropped 1.5 inches of rain on Anniston and surrounding areas from Sunday afternoon through early this morning, with some isolated areas getting as many as 2 inches.
The rainfall was the result of a line of heavy showers and thunderstorms that developed in the southwestern part of state ahead of a main cold front, said Jody Aaron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
As the cold front began to enter
western Alabama before 9 a.m. today, Aaron said showers and thunderstorms will continue intermittently throughout the day. Until the cold front passes through the state Tuesday, a chance of severe thunderstorms will remain. Even after that time, there will be a chance of showers, possibly through Tuesday afternoon, Aaron said.
Although temperatures will remain in the 70s today, with a high of between 72 and 77 degrees, depending on cloud cover, Aaron said tonight’s temperatures will dip to a mild 63-64 degrees and Tuesday’s high is expected to be between 69 and 70 degrees.
Star Staff Writer Paige Rentz and Metro Editor Ben Cunningham contributed to this report.