“Most of the threat from this is north of you,” said Mark Linhares, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. “We can’t rule out a tornado, but it looks like your biggest problem will be damaging straight-line winds.”
A line of storms advancing southeast wreaked havoc through the Midwest and upper Southeast Wednesday morning, according to Associated Press reports. Several people were killed by storms in Illinois, the AP reports, and a twister hit Branson, Mo. AP reports that the storm system was entering Kentucky this morning and is expected to descend into Alabama this evening.
Linhares said that while a tornado watch is possible this afternoon, the wind shear conditions within the storms are changing, which may reduce the tornado threat from the storms.
“You probably won’t see much until after 4 p.m.,” Linhares said. “Around 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., you may see thunderstorms, damaging wind and hail. I would expect some kind of watch today. It may be a tornado watch or it may be for something less severe.”
Linhares said the line of storms will likely stall south of I-20 overnight.
People should keep an eye out for watches and warnings in case conditions worsen, he said.
Feb. 29 is not too early to be on the lookout for severe weather. January and February tornadoes are not unheard-of in Alabama, Linhares said, and the peak storm season is March through May.
Linhares said the weather service is already looking ahead to Friday, when similar conditions could create another line of storms through the area.
“You may see more severe weather Friday night,” he said.
Assistant Metro Editor Tim Lockette: 256-235-3560. On Twitter: TLockette_Star