Tornado Watch In Effect For Portions of Alabama

By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

CLANTON – Thursday 315 pm, February 17, 2022

A tornado watch has been issued until 8 pm for portions of western and northern Alabama.  This watch may be expanded eastward later this afternoon or evening.  Thunderstorms will be moving into the western sections of the state by 3:30 pm.  Some of these may be severe producing damaging straight-line winds and tornadoes.

The highest threat for severe weather remains in the Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) Enhanced and Slight Risk areas.  The risk areas and timing for severe weather is shown in the graphic below.  As the storms progress eastward, they will begin to lose intensity.  But, one or two could be severe even in the Marginal Risk (dark green) region.

Strong southerly winds with gusts from 25-45 mph will continue into this evening ahead of the storms.  Around 12 pm, a 47 mph wind gust was reported at Muscle Shoals airport and a 54 mph gust occurred at the Huntsville airport.

You should have secured all loose outdoor objects and have your safety plan in place right now.  Make sure you have at least two methods to receive severe weather warnings, NOT including an outdoor warning siren.  Know where your safe place is before severe weather strikes.

For those living around the Birmingham area, the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is transmitting in degraded mode due to an antenna issue.  If you have poor reception, use one of the other (NWR) sites as shown in the graphic below.