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Northwest Florida braces for more storms

National Weather Service

March appears to be reversing itself this year, coming in like a lamb and going out like a lion at least in Northwest Florida and south Alabama.

Another squall line of thunderstorms will barrel through the central Gulf Coast during Wednesday hitting Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Directly in our area, Mobile Bay, it looks like those storms aren’t really going to approach until about 11 [p.m.] or midnight on Thursday morning,” said Megan Borowski, a meteorologist at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

“We’re looking at the same hazards that we’ve seen the past couple of weeks.”

Borowski adds that the dynamics of the approaching front look a bit stronger than the last round of storms earlier this month.

“It the rating of the potential of damaging straight-line wind gusts ahead of these storms arriving tonight and Thursday morning,” Borowski said. “And then within that squall line — as the thunderstorms arrive — if it looks like they could be rotating. And that means it could spawn tornadoes.”

The best chance for possible twisters will be farther north in central and northern Alabama, she says, but she cannot rule them out for the Panhandle. There’s also the chance for possibly heavy rainfall, but at this point, it’s hit-or-miss.

“Depending on where the strong thunderstorm cells track, we could get an additional two to four inches in those heaviest downpours, and of course, we’ve gotten so much rain over the past couple of weeks,” Borowski said. “The waterways are already swelling, so flooding is going to be a concern, too.”

Since the brunt of the storm is expected to move in Wednesday night and early Thursday, That’s an extra element of danger. Borowski says it’s important that people stay informed, and be ready to take any necessary action.

“You want to make sure that before you go to bed, check the forecast and make sure that you know if there’s alerts in effect for your area; and also have a way to get weather alerts,” said Borowski. “The best way to do that is have an emergency alert radio system, that has that loud siren. That will wake you up.”

Wednesday and Thursday are the crucial days. After that, FPREN’s Megan Borowski says a nice weekend is on tap.

“For our area we should be in the clear – it looks like the front is going to stall over central Florida; so that part of the state is going to be dealing with on-and-off showers,” she said. “But it looks like our area should generally settle down for the weekend. Once again, a stormy week — and we settle down as we go further out.”

More information on weather preparedness is available at www.floridastorms.org.