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Forecasters’ models see storm risk for Alabama on Saturday

NWS storm graphic

Saturday is likely to bring severe storms to a wide swath of Alabama including Calhoun, Talladega and surrounding counties, the National Weather Service announced Tuesday. 

Multiple computer models show conditions favorable for thunderstorms, winds up to 70 mph and possible tornadoes, said Gary Goggins, a forecaster at the weather service’s office in Calera. 

“We want to let everyone know that there’s the possibility of severe weather,” Goggins said.

The weather service declared Tuesday morning that all of central Alabama is at an “enhanced” risk of severe weather Saturday. “Enhanced” is halfway up the weather service’s warning scale, which runs from “marginal” to “high” risk. 

The weather service only occasionally issues advisories so far in advance, typically when computer models are in strong agreement about future conditions. Goggins said forecasters predicted a rough day for storms about a week in advance of the April 2011 tornado outbreak. A similar early advisory went out before the March 2018 tornado that hit Jacksonville. 

“When everything lines up just right it can lead to an increase in lead time,” Goggins said. 

Goggins said all the weather service’s models are in agreement about the conditions expected Saturday, with instability and wind shear likely to produce storms.

“It’s too early to pinpont what we’re going to see and exactly where,” he said.

Goggins said the weather service is currently advising people to simply keep an eye on weather forecasts and think about their plans for action in the event of a severe storm. He said people who follow weather closely should share the news with people they know. 

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.