By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON – 3 pm May 25, 2018. As you can see from the graphic above, Alberto is the first named storm of the year, and the official start of Hurricane season is still a week away! This has occurred several times over the years, so this is not completely unexpected.
Landfall will occur likely as a Tropical Storm Monday afternoon or evening somewhere between the central LA coast and the western FL panhandle. The cone represents where the center of the storm may go, NOT where the impacts will occur. The impacts will occur well outside the cone, and the worst impacts are near and east of the center of circulation.
At this time, winds near the center at landfall may be 35-45 mph with higher gusts, but the main impacts to our state will be from torrential rain and tornadoes within the rain bands. If you look again at the graphic above, notice the system will be near Alabama through at least Wednesday afternoon. This is not good news, as the slow movement and low pressure area will lead to enhanced rainfall and prolonged period of potential tornadoes.
Several inches of rain have already fallen this past week over areas generally east of I65 and south of I85. The graphic below is forecast rainfall from this Friday morning through next Thursday night. Widespread 3-7 inches of rain is forecast, but there could be areas where double these amounts (or more) occur. If it does, extremely serious flash and river flooding will affect Alabama, especially over the southern sections of the state.
In summary, coastal flooding will likely begin Saturday afternoon and continue into Tuesday evening. The heaviest rain bands and associated tornado threat will start near the coast on Sunday, move inland Monday and continue into Wednesday. Significant river flooding could occur into the first week of June.
Everyone in Alabama needs to pay attention to this developing situation, as flooding and tornadoes could occur anywhere at some point well into next week.