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Storms Possible Heading Into the Weekend

Storms that hit California on Tuesday are moving to the east, bringing severe weather to a number of states and the chance for such in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama.

A disturbance riding the jet-stream swung into the Plains states at the start of this week. After moving through Texas and Oklahoma Wednesday night, the front is expanding to the South from Arkansas and Mississippi, before reaching the Gulf Coast.

“We’re looking for heavy rainfall, moving in Thursday into Friday; stronger storms, possibly some damaging winds especially in the late hours. Specifically for Pensacola that will be in the later evening on Thursday,” said Meteorologist Deval Johnson at the National Weather Service in Mobile.

“To an extent, most of the energy is going through central Alabama rather than parts of northwest Florida,” said Johnson. “But, that kind of works as a double-edged sword because for Friday, when that warm air pushes back north, you can see some heavier rainfall for Friday afternoon.”

Ahead of the disturbance is warmer and somewhat more humid air being pulled northward from the Gulf of Mexico, eroding the colder air that was in place earlier.

“Yep, that’s our main source of moisture,” Johnson said. “The winds have pretty much shifted southeast, [and] will be switching more southerly and with that brings the moisture back and with that brings back the rainfall. We have generally for the entire coverage area a marginal risk of severe weather going into Friday.”

Damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes are all possible and that, says Johnson, is just round one of what’s expected to be three rounds of unsettled weather moving through the region between now and the start of next week.

“We’ve got one coming in late Thursday into Friday then Friday afternoon; and then Sunday all the way through Monday,” said Johnson. “So it won’t be until after Tuesday that we dry out. That’s when that cold front pushes through sometime on Monday.”

Meteorologist Deval Johnson is urging residents to monitor the very active weather period and be ready to take action if necessary.

“We are looking at some thunderstorms, some of which could be strong to severe,” Johnson said. “Just making sure everyone has multiple ways of receiving warnings and the weather information; and making sure they have a plan in place just in case they do receive one of those severe thunderstorm warnings or tornado warnings.”

On the plus side, says Johnson, overall rain totals are not expected to reach substantial levels, generally around two inches or so through the weekend.