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More Stormy Weather On The Way

Levi Cowan

Just over a week after a tornado and high winds inflicted damage on the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama, a repeat performance is on tap.

Damage assessment and cleanup continue in and around Century from last week’s twister, but those efforts may have to be put on hold beginning Tuesday afternoon. Jack Cullen at the National Weather Service in Mobile points to another strong, upper-level storm system.

“It’s going to cause surface low pressure to develop to our west [Monday] night and [Tuesday], and that’s going to track northeast,” said Cullen. “With that low it’s going to bring plenty of energy.”

One dead giveaway is the unseasonably high temperatures and high relative humidity that’s currently blanketing the area. Could this front produce a carbon copy of last week’s stormy weather?

“Yes, actually there’s a little higher risk,” Cullen said. “The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded us here to a moderate risk of severe storms.  That’s even higher than we had with the Century tornado – that was a slight risk.”

Forecasters say this front could be packing winds gusts of up to 60 miles an hour, quarter-sized hail or larger, plus torrential rainfall. While many focus on the threat of tornadoes in severe weather, Cullen says just as much of a threat is a downburst, or straight line winds – such as what hit the Eastgate Shopping Plaza and Walmart in Pensacola last week.

Preparation, says Cullen, begins with keeping abreast of the latest weather information through multiple warning platforms.

“Whether it be a NOAA weather radio, whether it be local radio, TV,” said Cullen. “To make sure that, since this is going to be an overnight event in the Florida Panhandle, to have a way to wake you up in the middle of the night. Stay weather aware; have multiple methods in case one fails.”

A high surf advisory may be issued Tuesday afternoon east of Perdido Pass, as breakers could reach the five to eight foot level. Once the front passes through, forecaster Jack Cullen says it’s back to more seasonable conditions.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.