By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON – 5 pm September 3, 2018
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for coastal Mobile and Baldwin counties with highest sustained wind speeds near the center between 74 mph and 110 mph when it makes landfall during the early morning hours on Wednesday.
However, tropical storm force winds between 39-73 mph will likely occur ahead of the center by early afternoon on Tuesday. As you can see from the graphic below, you should have all your storm preparations completed by the earliest arrival time, or any time after noon Tuesday. There is a 70-80% chance of these winds along the coast and 30-60% chance further inland in southwest Alabama.
It is dangerous and life threatening to drive or be anywhere outdoors once these high winds and heavy rain occur. In addition, tornadoes are a real possibility, and it is expected that tornado watches will be issued. That’s why its imperative to not wait until the last minute to execute your action plan.
Also, flooding concerns are increasing along the Alabama coast and into the southwest sections of the state. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday night for Mobile, Baldwin and Washington counties, but may be expanded inland with future updates. Widespread 2-5 inches of rain is likely with some areas receiving 6-10 inches close to the center of circulation.
Storm surge of 3-5 feet above ground level is expected on the west end of Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, and Coden, with 2-4 feet of surge in Mobile Bay and areas eastward. The water will be slow to recede on Wednesday due to persistent on-shore flow even with the storm well inland.
Again, for those in south Alabama, make sure you are prepared by noon Tuesday, at the latest. For those more inland, stay up to date with this developing storm. More information on being prepared can be found at https://www.ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit. For more weather information in south Alabama, go to https://www.weather.gov/mob.