Category Archives: Severe Weather

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Latest On Category 5 Hurricane Irma; Still Maintaining Strength

To say Hurricane Irma is resilient might be the biggest understatement of the year. Irma continues to devastate the eastern islands of the Caribbean with 185 mph winds and will continue to do so in the days to come. Here is the 5 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Warnings in place for all of Puerto Rico, the northern coast of Hispaniola and the central and eastern Bahamas. It is incredible that Irma has maintained 185 mph strength for over 24 hours.

Here is a satellite representation of Irma as it tracks WNW to the north of Puerto Rico. Notice the “buzzsaw” look that Irma possesses… this is indicative of its strength and perfect (or near-perfect) structure. Irma is not expected to weaken much between now and the weekend. It may even strengthen some north of Hispaniola, a notorious hotbed for hurricane intensification.

Below is a snapshot of water temperatures. Note the region of very warm waters (upper 80s) beginning to the north of Hispaniola and becoming even warmer between the Bahamas and Cuba. This could further strengthen Irma as these waters are in its path. Surreal to think, but the possibility cannot be discounted.

WHERE IRMA WILL TRACK: If I would put my money on one particular track over another, I’d be a fool. Model tracks will continue their swaying back-and-forth act so I’ve essentially tossed those in the dumpster long ago. I like to go directly to the source… and that is the upper air pattern. This will always tell us a more comprehensive story of where Irma could go. The upper air pattern tells us we have to continue watching a number of things over the next 24-48 hours. Let’s recap…

  • Guess what tops this list? If you said the trough in the east, you’d be correct. Initial thoughts were that the Irma’s connection with the trough could kick it out to sea, but it will almost certainly miss that scenario. Now we look to how soon Irma begins its northward trough and this will be determined by the timing of that same trough.
  • Irma is continuing its track in a westerly heading as the ridge to its northeast keeps building to the west preventing a turn north, sooner. As soon as Irma distances itself far enough away from the ridge, it will begin its turn north. When that occurs depends on the timing of the trough and how soon it distances itself from the ridge.
  • Thursday into Friday is the timeframe we need to be concerned with as we will almost certainly know if Irma is far along enough from the ridge and whether it can establish a connection with the trough.
  • In the event that Irma misses the trough connection, I suspect we will have to increase the chances of Irma skirting across the west coast of Florida and perhaps the far eastern Gulf. This scenario will be talked more in-depth if it becomes a greater threat.

THOUGHTS: As far as landfall is concerned, regardless of where or IF it makes landfall in Florida, widespread impacts of a major hurricane will be felt. After scouring over the upper air pattern, I’m looking at these scenarios (in order of likeliness)… Yes, I could be wrong, but these are what I suspect for now.

  1. Irma goes into southern Florida
  2. Irma skirts up the East Coast of Florida, then hooks northwest
  3. Irma remains just offshore of eastern Florida and pushes toward the Carolinas.
  4. In the event Irma misses the trough connection, then we have to acknowledge additional Gulf scenarios.

Further, I do not buy the sharp north as models are indicating at this point. I am thinking that the turn will be more gradual, but that is another item to watch closely moving forward over the next day or two. My biggest concern is the potential for Irma to further intensify between Cuba, the Bahamas and Hispaniola.

CALL TO ACTION: We like simplicity, we do not like complicated messages during an extreme weather event. Simply put, those from Florida to the Southeast US Coast, continue to have serious interest and concern with Irma. Florida, I would even go a step farther and say be prepared for conditions characteristic of a major hurricane this weekend.

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Hurricane Matthew: A Concerning, Heightened Threat For East Florida, Southeast Coast.

Hurricane Matthew already has a very lengthy resume and track record as it barrels into the Bahamas, having torn through parts of Haiti and Cuba. Matthew continues to remain a high-end Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph sustained winds. Now that is entering the Bahamas, there is increased water real-estate, water that is very warm will serve as jet fuel for Matthew. Already once a Category 5 storm, Matthew could easily strength back into a Category 4 and could very well impact the east coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm as well.

Here is a look at the latest NHC Advisory as of 5 PM.



Looking at this track, they say “never say never”, and that is something always to keep in mind, especially in meteorology. Does that apply to Matthew’s track concerning the Northeast Coast? Yes. While the threat is significantly less, something tells me not to wave the “all clear flag” just yet, but I would say we’re getting much closer to being able to do so.

What is most concern is the track Matthew is likely to take concerning Florida. Usually a landfall forecast, while it naturally takes time to determine, it can be done and is done often. With Matthew, it will be exponentially more difficult as Matthew is looking like it will slide up much of the length of Florida’s East Coast as a potential Category 4 storm, making it harder to point out one concrete location for landfall, since it will be gliding the coastline or remain just slightly offshore as it tracks up the Southeast US coastline.

Based on what model guidance was showing last night, it seems as though the NHC has adjusted their forecast cone of uncertainty, accordingly. Last night’s runs of the GFS (American) model and ECMWF (European) model had illustrated Matthew sliding up the East Coast of Florida curving out, looping and coming back up to hit Florida for a second time. Insane, right? Well, according to analogs (historical storms with similar location, environmental conditions to Matthew), there have been a number of storms to do this. Such a track is not out of question, unfortunately.

Here is a look at what the GFS is suggesting for Matthew. Keep in mind, this solution has been evident for several runs. Even the historically accurate ECMWF has had a similar solution.gfs_mslp_wind_seus_fh24-138

TIMING: As we head into Thursday, Matthew will continue tracking its way through the Bahamas. By early Friday morning, it should be nearing the East Florida coastline. By Saturday, Mathew should be just off the coast of South Carolina and by Sunday/Monday, Matthew should be beginning its recurve back into the Atlantic. Where it goes from there is still a mystery… whether it does a loop around and come back towards Florida or just continue out to sea remains in questions. I do suspect, though, that Nicole could have some effects on Matthew’s track as it meanders off the Southeast US coast. Keep in mind, that with such an intricate forecast, adjustments in the overall forecast may be and will likely be needed, to some degree.

IMPACTS: It doesn’t take a meteorologist to have to say that impacts along Florida’s east coast, and even points inland, will be significant, devastating and life-threatening with a Category 3/4 system in the forecast, that’s just common sense with such a high-impact storm as Matthew is. A major concern I have is how, while Matthew is expected to restrengthen as it heads from the Bahamas to the east coast of Florida, how much time/real-estate will have to restrengthen. Either way, we can expect hurricane force winds, significant surge, significant and widespread flooding, blinding rains, extreme beach inundation possible and more than likely from a storm the caliber of Matthew. If Matthew continues on its projected course and with its strength (or strengthens back into a Category 4 storm which is likely), expect devastating conditions with threats to life and property. This is a storm you want to take with the utmost seriousness as impacts are very likely to become grave.

With the forecast track taking up Matthew up along the east coast of Florida, wave heights just offshore could get in the range of 30-40+ ft, depending on the strength and location of Matthew, relative to the east Florida coastline.


BOTTOM LINE: Preparations should be underway in advance of Matthew across the Southeast US, especially Florida. Statewide evacuations have been ordered for several states in preparation for Matthew. Unless something changes to drastically alter the forecast, or strength of Matthew, this storm will be a very serious threat to the east Florida coast and areas inland, and for coastal Southeast regions through potions of the coastal Carolinas. There is no need to panic, just think with a clear, concise mindset, make needed preparations and you will be fine.

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Severe Weather The Theme This Week Across The East; Wednesday Looks Concerning

The heat is real, severe weather season is ramping up and today, we officially begin astronomical summer. Over the next several days, we will see several waves of severe weather impact parts of the upper Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

TODAY: Beginning today, strong to severe storms will be possible from northern Missouri to western New York, traversing the Ohio Valley as the standard “slight” risk is in place. The tornado threat appears minimal, as hail and damaging winds appear to be the main threats this afternoon and into the evening hours, the farther east you are in the risk area…


TUESDAY: The threat for severe weather will resurface across parts of the upper Plains, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, as again, the standard “slight” risks are in place. Storms are likely to be isolated in nature, but some could reach severe limits. The main threats for Tuesday will again be from hail and damaging winds while the tornado threat appears minimal.


WEDNESDAY: Off all days this week, Wednesday’s severe weather threat looms largest as the threat could be a doozy. The SPC has placed a Day-3 “enhanced” risk from eastern Iowa to western Ohio with the threat for widespread damaging winds, tornadoes and hail.


We note a 30% hatched risk area from eastern Iowa to western Ohio. This suggests an increased threat for severe weather happening within 10 miles of any given point within that hatched area.


Model output suggest heightened Energy Helicity values across the western Great Lakes around dinner time (6-7pm). Any value above 1, suggest the development of supercells and the threat for tornadoes. The higher the these values are, the greater the threat for significant tornadoes. Energy Helicity values are a combination of CAPE (convective energy – thunderstorm fuel) and Helicity. EHI is a very good determinant for tornado potential.



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Severe Weather Threat Moves To The Great Lakes On Saturday

As we head through the week and as we approach the weekend, particularly, Saturday, all the buzz in the weather world has been centered on the threat for severe weather across parts of the Great Lakes. It’s received a good deal of attention since the forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center had outlined a Day 5 risk two days ago and a Day 4 risk remains in place much of eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, western New York and south of the Mason-Dixon Line. We also note a risk in place across the High Plains.

Here is the convective risk for Saturday coming from the Storm Prediction Center…












WHAT WE KNOW: Model guidance has continued to indicate a dynamic environment supportive of such a severe weather threat. All modes of severe weather is possible: hail, damaging winds and perhaps even isolated, embedded tornadoes. Early indications are hinting at more of a damaging wind event, with the threat for bowing storm complex development. But, with any severe weather threat, dynamics and variables can change with time. We are still several days out, and this is plenty of time for this threat to change, either by decreasing or increasing.

*CAPE values are lofty at 2-3,000 joules/kg (not screaming, but ample for this time of the year and location). This is a measure of the convective energy in the atmosphere that can fuel storms.

*Energy-Helicity values are greater than 2 over a large part of the Great Lakes. This is a composite measure that combines CAPE and Helicity and is a very good indicator for supercell and tornado development.

These are Energy-Helicity values valid on Saturday at 7:00 pm


*There is a good amount of wind shear also across the region… this is the changing wind speed and direction over height and results in turbulent wind profiles through the various levels of the atmosphere.

With any severe weather event, there is always room for the set up to bust or foil. The term “derecho” has resurfaced for the year. Please understand that bow echoes ARE NOT the same as derechos. While bow echos can pack strong, damaging winds, derechos pack an exponentially larger punch and with a wider wind damage field and greater coverage over. The width of a derecho can span 200+ miles while traveling hundreds of miles more. Derechos can produce as much damage as a tornado.

BOTTOM LINE: Be weather aware, keep a watchful on the latest information and be prepared. Most importantly, there is no need to panic or get scared. If you respect the storm and take the necessary safety measures in advance of the storm, you will be fine.


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Severe Weather Event For the Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Seaboard on Sunday; A Few Tornadoes Possible

Before I delve into the details of this article, please note what the last two words of the article headliner states, and understand what they mean… “Tornadoes Possible”. This means that dynamic support is favorable for the threat for tornadoes. It does not state that a major tornado outbreak is expected. The biggest battle in the weather enterprise is clearly and effectively communicating severe weather risks and uncertainties. Are tornadoes possible tomorrow across the Mid-Atlantic region? Yes. That is all we know… tornadoes will be possible, NOT guaranteed.

Let’s dive into the details for tomorrow. I’ll keep this article short as I just want to give an update on the latest information, though not much has changed in thinking since earlier today.

Here is the latest look at the SPC Convective Outlook for Sunday…


A closer look at the greatest threat for severe weather on Sunday centers across the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., across parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the Delmarva Peninsula, southeast Pennsylvania and parts of southern and western New Jersey. The SPC has an “enhanced” risk for severe weather outlined across this region. All modes of severe weather will be possible including hail, damaging winds and some tornadoes. Again, not expected to be a tornado outbreak by any means, but this threat still must be respected.


Hi-resolution model output suggests dynamic support conducive for supercell development and the threat for some tornadoes across the Mid-Atlantic, especially during the Sunday afternoon and evening hours. The graphics below show Energy Helicity values across the region at 4pm and at 7pm.

Energy Helicity is a combination index based on convective energy (CAPE) and helicity and is great index that suggests the best environments favoring supercell and tornado development.


ehi03.us_ma (1)

While tornadoes will be possible tomorrow, especially across the Mid-Atlantic, they will be isolated in nature. I would not be surprised to see anywhere from one or two to a handful, but not nearly an outbreak. Looking at model output, the greatest threat is likely to come from damaging, straightline winds, which can be just a dangerous and damaging as a tornado as this threat still needs respected.


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Significant, Multi-Day Severe Weather Event Likely Tues/Weds; Strong Tornadoes Possible.

We are seeing the overall weather pattern becoming increasingly volatile and supportive of more frequent, intense severe weather episodes. A volatile pattern such as the one we’re heading into is very common in a transition period from an El Nino phase to a La Nina phase, as the overall dynamic support and pattern becomes ripe for such severe weather events. Model output continues to illustrate with greater confidence a multi-day severe weather event, and potentially significant in intensity, Tuesday into Wednesday of the upcoming week across the central and southern Plains (Tuesday)  and into the Midwest (Wednesday).

Here is the part of the SPC forecast discussion notes pertaining to the severe weather situation for Tuesday…


The Storm Prediction Center has an “enhanced” risk outlined from northern Texas to central Kansas, with the standard “slight” risk from Lincoln, Nebraska to around Waco, Texas.


Within the “enhanced” risk outline will come the greatest threat for significant severe weather including large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes, with some strong tornadoes possible. In the “slight” risk outline, all modes of severe weather will be possible, but the threat won’t be as significant, but the threat will absolutely still be there for these areas.


From central Texas to southern Nebraska, the Storm Prediction Center has a hatched risk in place which suggests a 10% or greater probability of severe weather occurring within 25 miles of any given point in that hatched area. While 10% may not seem entirely startling, it is a significant threat indicator which must be respected.

The STP (Significant Tornado Parameter) coming from NAM guidance suggests a significant tornado threat Tuesday night (around 10 PM) across parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Please note that any value of “2” or greater indicates an increased threat for significant tornadoes.


As me move into Wednesday, the threat for severe weather pushes eastward and will impact parts of the Midwest and Mid-Mississippi Valley. All modes of severe weather will be possible, again, particularly along the southern fringe of the storm threat outline.

day4prob (1)

PLAN AHEAD: Have a safety plan in place and ready to go when severe weather transpires. Know your tornado safety plan and know where your tornado safety place is. Heed the warnings. Every second is precious to seek shelter.

STAY CALM: It’s only a human emotion to become panic-stricken during severe weather, but you must remain calm and collective. Think with a clear and concise mind and you will be fine.

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Significant Severe Weather Possible Today From The Southeast To The Ohio Valley

Day two of a multi-day severe weather event and today appears to present a similar setup as yesterday. However, the threat moves east with potential impacts along and east of the lower Mississippi Valley, the Gulf States, the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys and stretching as far north as the lower Great Lakes. While the overall threat is more widespread, the greatest threat for all modes of severe weather will be focused on an area stretching from the lower Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley and far western Georgia. Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes will all be possible today across these areas.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has outlined an “enhanced” risk for severe weather across these regions today, with the standard “slight” risk spread north into the lower Great Lakes, where the threat for severe weather is still possible, albeit the bulk of the threat will be farther south.


The tornado threat is more robust today as dynamic support is more favorable for rotating supercells, especially across the “enhanced” risk area. The SPC notes…



Taking a look at the STP (Significant Tornado Parameter) and we note elevated values across the Southeast and even into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes later today, this evening and overnight. Please note that any STP value of “2” or greater suggests the potential for significant tornadoes.


The bulk of the severe weather threat will come this afternoon, evening and overnight as storms moves eastward into the Carolinas by early Friday morning. There is no need to panic, as during severe weather situations, it is best to think with a clear, concise state of mind. Have a safety plan in place and know your tornado safe place.

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Significant Severe Weather Becoming More Likely Tuesday, Wednesday Across Gulf States

While this week’s storm system will be producing snow and ice scenarios to the north across parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes, to the south in the “warm” sector of the storm system, severe weather will be play a large and potentially significant threat Tuesday, Tuesday night and into Wednesday across much of the Gulf States region.

SEVERE WEATHER: Here is the SPC Convective Outlook for Tuesday. We note a widespread threat for severe weather from eastern Texas to eastern Georgia, reaching all the way up to southern Tennessee. Severe weather will be possible in this region with all modes of severe weather possible. An “enhanced” threat has been outlined across much of the central Gulf States, across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle for an increased threat for severe weather with the likelihood of hail, damaging winds and tornadoes becoming greater.

GREATEST AREA OF CONCERN: A “moderate” risk for severe weather is in place across parts of southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. This is the greatest area of concern for significant severe weather with all modes of severe weather possible and very likely Tuesday, Tuesday night and into Wednesday including damaging winds and tornadoes with a few strong tornadoes possible.


Here is a look at the Significant Tornado Parameter… with this particular index, any value greater than “1” suggests the potential for significant tornadoes.

Here is a series of STP model outputs valid tomorrow around 6 PM, 9PM and Midnight… we note the highest tornado threat shifts from southeast Louisiana across southern Mississippi and southern Alabama and then onto the Florida Panhandle…

stpse (1)  stpse

stpse (2)

PREPAREDNESS: While it is natural to panic and get worked up over these types of severe weather setups, it is always most beneficial to think with a clear, concise mind and to use a level-headed approach. Prepare for this storm system in advance and heed the warnings as they are issued. NEVER wait for the tornado to take shelter, NEVER go outside to see confirmation of a tornado to take shelter. If a tornado warning is issued for your city, town, etc.. take shelter immediately. The lead time on tornado warnings are excellent, overall, and these are minutes that are precious and need to be used to take shelter. Have a safety plan in place, make sure every member of your household knows this safety plan and where your tornado safe place is. No reason to panic or be scared, just be prepared…

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Major Winter Storm To Impact Rockies to The Upper Midwest; Severe Weather Threat To the South

Well, the ingredients are nearly all on the table for a major winter storm across the Rockies, Plains and upper Midwest beginning Monday. I say nearly all because the energy needed to produce this winter storm has yet to reach land, as it is still in the Pacific Ocean. This will all change by tonight as this piece of energy will enter California tonight.

Here is a midday look at radar and you’ll notice some snow and rain out to the west… this is not the winter storm, as that will begin to develop later tonight and into tomorrow.


Here is a look at the 500 mb, upper air pattern which shows that piece of energy, entering California later tonight, that will be the winter storm producer over the next several days…

New Skitch


WINTER STORM IMPACTS: As the low develops Sunday evening across the Southwest, this system will have a dual supply of cold air to work with, which increases the threat for widespread heavy snow. As the systems tracks northeast through Kansas Monday afternoon and into Iowa on Tuesday, the low is expected to deepen, or strengthen, which will allow it to produce its own supply of cold air along the with injection of cold air the system will be receiving from the north. As the low moves up through southern Wisconsin by Tuesday night and into far northern Michigan, the low should begin to gradually broaden as the system begins to move off. With this deepening the low pressure system, not only with this create an ample supply of cold air causing heavy snow, but it will also lead to widespread blizzard conditions from the Rockies through parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

SNOWFALL: This is always the million-dollar question, and a topic that has more questions than answers. This winter storm threat is no different. For days and even the last week, computer snowfall maps have been tossed around social media like the plague. The projected snowfall values showed anywhere from 45″ to 4″ and this is natural for computer models to do as they will teeter back and forth to get an understanding of this system. The biggest issue with these snowfall maps being shared that far in advance is that the energy needed for the winter storm was thousands of miles off the west coast far in the Pacific Ocean. Models struggle mightily with energy off-land and this is why snowfall maps are incredibly inaccurate that far out as they don’t accurately illustrate the big picture.

Here is my current thinking for general snowfall amounts through Wednesday morning with this winter storm threat, and it really hasn’t changed to this point. However, looking at the overall scope of this storm, if the low continues to maintain its strength across Wisconsin, I could see a swath of a foot or more of snow extending into central and northeast Iowa and into central Wisconsin as noted by the “adjusted extension of the dashed-orange zone” into Iowa and Wisconsin. I extended this threat zone because if the low continues to deepen, heavier snow is very possible with snowfall amounts anywhere a 6-12″ or over a foot, depending on how deep the low can sustain itself. This is an area we need to watch for…

TRAVEL IMPACTS: Interstate networks likely to be significantly impacted by this winter storm and potential blizzard will be I-70 through Kansas and I-80 through Nebraska. Heavy snow and blizzard conditions will likely lead to treacherous or impassable interstate corridors and very dangerous travel conditions. Interstate closures are a real possibility as well.


SEVERE WEATHER: With this dynamic storm system, in the warm sector of the system will come the threat for widespread severe weather from the central Gulf states through the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. Damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be possible Tuesday into Tuesday night. Here is the outlook as issued by the folks at the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) for Tuesday. We note an “enhanced” risk over northern Mississippi, far northwest Alabama, western Tennessee, far eastern Arkansas, the boot heel of Missouri and far western Kentucky.


Overall, this has the makings of a major winter storm from the Rockies to the Midwest, with heavy snow and blizzard condition likely, especially across parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa where I suspect the worst of this winter storm will be felt. In the warm sector, a severe weather threat comes into play from the central Gulf to the Ohio Valley where all modes of severe weather will be possible on Tuesday. A lot happening to begin the week… be prepared, stay up to date with the latest information and be aware of any changes or adjustments to the forecast.

To touch on this again, I will be coming out with a February outlook in the week to come that will discuss what will be the return of Arctic air after the first week of February and another volatile pattern on the way, supporting additional snow and cold opportunities across the eastern US, and perhaps the chance the Southeast has been waiting on for their first real taste of winter this year… more on this later…




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Major, Life-Threatening Flooding Situation Across The Southeast Will Continue

As if the Southeast US hasn’t seen enough prolific flooding over the last week, unfortunately, things are going to worsen before they show any signs of improvement. Some of the photos and videos coming in across social media are just horrific as streets are turning into 10 ft deep rivers and carrying houses along with them. Emergency responders continue their tireless rescue efforts transporting folks that are trapped to safety.

This photo was shared on the @fox2now Twitter feed in Eureka, MO along the Meramec River near St. Louis as Eureka Fire Dept aid to a stranded person and their dog on their roof…. and it continues to worsen.


Another photo shared by @buzznewsfeed shows the magnitude of flooding across Fenton, Missouri…


WHAT IS CAUSING THIS FLOODING: There is a well-defined ridge in place over the eastern US… essentially a “camel’s hump” in the jet stream over the eastern US. This produces a southwest to northeast flow where a “firehose” or a “river” of moisture can flow from the Gulf of Mexico and be pumped into the Southeast US causing copious amounts of moisture to be pulled into the Gulf states.

Here is a look at the expected rainfall amounts through next Wednesday morning across the Southeast US and Gulf Coast regions… while this may not be a terribly large amount of rainfall compared to what we’ve seen, recently… this will just make the situation the more grave.


A look at the latest 4-km Hi-Resolution NAM illustrates additional heavy, localized flooding rainfall across parts of southern Alabama, southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle through Friday evening.


SAFETY: Flooding is one of the prominent killers in the US. Turn around… don’t drown! Even if you think you can make it in your vehicle across a flooded area, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! Even tire-deep water, can carry a vehicle off the road and into a dangerous predicament. Stay off the roads under all costs.