‘It’s critical for folks not to let their guard down’

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Cullman County facing severe weather threat from Wednesday morning through early Thursday 

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – National Weather Service (NWS) Huntsville office Senior Meteorologist Andrew Pritchett told Cullman County Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and local law enforcement staff in a web briefing Tuesday afternoon that Cullman County could see severe weather- including events of long-track tornadoes that could remain on the ground for extended periods, large hail, high winds and flash flooding-from 5 a.m. Wednesday through 3 a.m. Thursday. 

While Pritchett advised that time frames are flexible and the types of storms coming are somewhat unpredictable in their specific effects, NWS is confident that a high risk of the listed significant weather events does exist for the time period.  

Changes from earlier NWS briefings included: 

  • Severe weather in the form of damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail and flash flooding will impact our entire area though the day Wednesday and Wednesday night. 
  • NWS now has higher confidence in the potential for a few intense tornadoes. 
  • Three rounds of severe weather will be possible, throughout the day Wednesday into early Thursday. 
  • The window for the most significant severe weather has trended a little bit later than previously predicted. The greatest risk may occur with the third round of storms from late Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday morning. 

 

In graphics posted during the briefing, NWS noted: 

  • First round of storms along the initial warm front 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday 
  • A few storms could be strong to severe and be capable of producing localized damaging wind gusts, small hail and a tornado or two. 
  • Second round of storms ahead of a secondary warm front 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday 
  • Scattered strong to severe storms will be possible during this window with large hail, damaging winds and a tornado or two. 
  • Important folks not let their guard down during the period. Main event will be arriving later in the evening and overnight. 
  • Third round of storms late Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday morning 
  • Greatest potential for strong, long track tornadoes and more significant severe weather threats for storms that can develop within this air mass along and ahead of a cold front that will sweep through the region overnight. 
  • Could evolve into a flash flooding threat by early Thursday morning as severe storms exit the area. 

 

Said Pritchett, “It’s critical for folks not to let their guard down during this period. There’ll be several storms out there, but the main event will be arriving kind of later on in the evening–late afternoon, evening and overnight period, as I mentioned. So, just because there may or may not be a watch out during this period, but it’s critical for folks not to let their guard down. There’s going to be more storms to come, especially later on in the day and the overnight hours.” 

The meteorologist also noted that, on Thursday, the potential for flooding will continue even after the worst storms have passed. Heavy rains will continue into the morning, and the ground is already saturated by Tuesday’s rain, so rising water must be expected both Wednesday and Thursday. 

Pritchett concluded, “This is an event that everybody in the Tennessee Valley needs to be aware of and be preparing for right now. We’ve got to take it seriously because the threats are definitely greater for this one.” 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com