Area readying for severe weather Saturday

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CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County is already under a Wind Advisory from midnight Friday to 9 p.m. Saturday, ahead of what forecasters are predicting to be a stormy Saturday.

WHNT 19 Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson reported, “Friday looks breezy and warm with some occasional rain. It will not ‘rain all day long,’ but some spotty showers are possible throughout the day. The heavy rain and severe weather threat (are) west of Alabama and Tennessee Friday, but it moves in here on Saturday; be ready for strong winds, heavy rain and a risk of very high wind gusts and/or tornadoes within a squall line Saturday from late morning to late afternoon.”

Simpson reported, “There are really two threats in play here: severe storms and flooding.  The risk of severe weather comes ahead of a cold front that arrives sometime Saturday.  Timing is still somewhat uncertain, but the general idea is that severe storms are possible from as early as 10 a.m. in the Shoals to as late as 6 PM near the Alabama/Georgia border.”

The severe weather, as of Thursday evening, is expected to affect Cullman County between noon-4 p.m. Saturday.

Simpson said this is what can be expected Saturday:

  • Strong, gusty winds outside of the risk of severe weather: 40 mph+ gusts possible even with no storms in the area. (power outages, tree damage, patio furniture/garbage cans moved)
  • Heavy rainfall: around 1-2″ on average, a few spots could go higher creating some potential for flooding
  • Severe storms could produce intense wind gusts (70-80 mph+), hail and tornadoes

“It would not be surprising if the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch Saturday morning,” said Cullman County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Phyllis Little.

In the event a tornado watch is issued, all Cullman County storm shelters will be open.

“There’s a possibility of flooding because the ground’s already saturated,” said Little. “If we get a lot of wind then it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to have some trees down and power outages. My suggestion to people is to have more than one way to receive alerts. The outdoor warning system is the ‘outdoor’ warning system. If you’re in an area where one’s (a tornado) at, it’s to warn you if you’re outside doing something and alert you to go inside and check what’s going on. Of course, as always, we recommend that everyone have a NOAA weather radio, if at all possible, but you’re walking around with a computer in your pocket, 9 out of 10 people are, and they can get alerts several different ways, and that’s a very good thing to have.”


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Wendy Sack