Severe Weather Threat Now South of I-20

By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

CLANTON –Saturday, 11:30 am December 11, 2021

A number of thunderstorms are forming ahead of the main line of storms south of Hwy 80 – I-85 or south of a Livingston – Montgomery – Phenix City line.  One of these cells prompted a tornado warning for Butler and Crenshaw counties between 10-11 am.  With increasing instability over the southern half of the state and a favorable environment, supercell development is possible in individual storms, including the potential for a couple of tornadoes.  

For the main line of storms, the primary threat will be for a few straight-line wind gusts at or above 60 mph and possibly an embedded tornado.  The severe weather timing is shown above to take into account both the threats of individual storms and the line.

Because of the increased instability in south Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has expanded the Slight Risk area well into the southern sections of the state and at 11 am says there is 40% chance of a Watch issuance.

Do not minimize Severe Thunderstorm Warnings today.  Many people are quite surprised on the amount of damage these types of events produce.  It would be wise to shelter in place if a warning is issued.

Finally, I want to address the SPC outlook graphic like the one above.  They issue these outlooks for the entire country and identify risk “areas” within a state, NOT particular counties.  They should be used with extreme caution when the risk area changes near specific counties. 

Severe weather, including tornadoes, DO occur in Marginal Risk (green color) areas.  An isolated severe storm, if it hits where you are, is just as dangerous whether you are in a Marginal or higher risk area.

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