NWS: Thunderstorms with high winds, possible tornadoes, expected Monday night into Tuesday

Published 11:00 am Monday, January 8, 2024

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The National Weather Service offices in Mobile and Pensacola are forecasting a significant multi-hazard weather event across the southern part of Alabama and the Florida panhandle beginning Monday evening and continuing through Tuesday.

The NWS said two rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms are possible with the potential for damaging winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and a few strong tornadoes are also possible. There is a higher confidence that the second round of these storms will be more substantial in strength.

The greatest threat will begin around midnight on Monday, continuing through Tuesday morning. The highest potential for damaging weather is along and south of Interstate 10.

While the southwest portion of Covington County is in the “enhanced” area expected to be impacted, the remainder of the county is in the “slight” impact area.

The NWS also states that frequent wind guests between 40 to 50 miles per hour are possible inland while areas closer to the coast could see gusts up to 60 miles per hour. These conditions could lead to power outages and downed trees before any severe storms arrive.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) encourages motorists to avoid driving during severe events and if you find yourself on the roadway during a storm, use extreme caution and monitor local forecasts for updates and changes. ALEA’s Troopers and Special Agents will be on standby to assist before, during and after any significant weather events.

“At any moment, weather conditions can change drastically,” ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said. “Forecasters continue to predict severe weather that could have dramatic impacts across our state, but especially the southern portion over the next 48 hours. Our Agency stands ready to assist with all divisions and units developing and implementing severe weather operation plans for this storm system. However, we strongly encourage and recommend that both citizens and visitors prepare now for the incoming weather. In the event conditions worsen, we urge motorists to adjust travel plans and avoid driving in severe weather if possible.”

In addition, ALEA offers the following safety tips for preparing for inclement weather and driving during hazardous conditions:

  • Monitor local news for information on weather conditions and travel advisories, and check road conditions at https://algotraffic.com/.
  • Report traffic crashes or other emergencies by calling 911.
  • Remain alert for emergency vehicles and obey Alabama’s “move over” law.
  • Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check to ensure windshield wipers are operating and the blades do not need to be replaced, ensure headlights are working properly.
  • Remember weather and roadway conditions can deteriorate quickly. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions and be alerted to changing weather and the possibility of slippery roads.
  • Tornadoes or thunderstorms can pop up in a matter of minutes. Advisories, watches, and warnings are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS). We encourage everyone to know the difference and stay connected with their local news stations, as well as ALEA’s social media pages (@aleaprotects), for updates on weather and road conditions.
  • Keep a blanket, first-aid kit, charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.

Before the Storm Tips:

  • Create a family plan for winter or severe weather emergencies and discuss how to stay safe in all conditions.
  • Stay aware by monitoring the local forecast via radio, TV, internet, and/or smartphone alerts and make sure you have a way to receive alerts that will notify and wake you in the middle of the night.
  • Check both your home and your car’s emergency supply kits to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Update your smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors to versions that have a battery backup.

During the Storm Tips:

  • Avoid being on roadways.
  • Bring in pets who usually stay outside.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If you absolutely must go outside, keep the duration of your trips short.
  • Continue to monitor the weather for updates, check local forecasts for changes.
  • During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
  • If driving, make sure to buckle up, avoid following too close, and avoid actions such as slamming on brakes or using cruise control. When hydroplaning, slamming on brakes can lock your wheels and cause you to lose control. Cruise control can also be hazardous and can cause you to lose control in wet conditions.

After the Storm Tips:

  • Make sure roadways are safe before driving. While precipitation may have stopped, roads can remain dangerous to drive on for days afterward.
  • Stay away from downed lines, and DO NOT pull tree limbs off downed power lines or make repairs to Alabama Power equipment. Call 1-800-888-2726 and wait for help.