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Tornado watch issued for south Alabama; enhanced risk for severe storms today - AL.com
Forecasters say a few strong tornadoes will be possible.
Severe storms were already rolling across parts of Alabama on Thursday morning -- and more may be coming this afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for all of south Alabama that will be in effect until 1 p.m. Forecasters said a few tornadoes will be likely and a couple of intense tornadoes" will be possible. Wind gusts up to 70 mph and large hail will also be possible with storms. There have already been several severe storms this morning as well as tornado warnings, all in south Alabama. Trees and power lines have been reported in the Coffeeville area in Clarke County after storms moved through earlier this morning. The Alabama counties in the watch are Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Mobile, Monroe, Pike, Washington and Wilcox. Meanwhile rain with embedded storms continues farther north across parts of central and north Alabama. Those storms have remained under severe limits. However some of the storms this morning have contained damaging winds. The National Weather Service in Birmingham has gotten a report of significant tree damage in southern Hale County from Gallion to Newbern. Many roads in that area are reportedly impassable because of downed trees. There are also gusty winds on the backside of this mornings rain farther north. Some downed trees and power lines have also been reported in Marshall County, according to the weather service in Huntsville. The weather service cautioned that with the ground saturated from this mornings rain it wont take especially high winds to take down trees and power lines. This is Round 1 of todays storms. Another round will be possible this afternoon starting around lunchtime ahead of a cold front and will again bring the potential for tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and heavy rain. The higher potential for severe storms with Round 2 will again be in south Alabama, but strong storms will be possible statewide. Widespread severe weather with Round 2 is not a sure thing and will depend on how much the atmosphere can recover from this mornings storms. The Storm Prediction Center has nearly all of south Alabama in an enhanced risk for severe weather today, which is Level 3 out of 5. It means that numerous severe storms will be possible. All of Alabama could have to deal with severe storms today, but most of south Alabama has an enhanced risk, which is Level 3 out of 5. Severe weather could be possible statewide today as well. The SPC has all of Alabama in some sort of severe weather risk, with a slight risk for central and part of north Alabama and a marginal risk for the northwest corner of the state. In addition to the storms there could be heavy rain and gusty winds. A wind advisory is in effect for all of north (until 9 a.m.) and central Alabama (extended until 4 p.m.). Winds could gust up to 35 mph away from storms today. A flash flood watch also continues for parts of central Alabama, including Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Hale, Perry, Bibb, Chilton, Marengo, Dallas, Autauga and Lowndes counties. The weather service said 2 to 3 inches of rain will be possible through tonight. A drier day is expected on Friday, with another chance for rain and storms on Saturday.