What was Hurricane Laura continues to weaken on the storm’s track through Arkansas, eventually shifting eastward toward the Ohio River Valley. After strong thunderstorms tracked across North Alabama Thursday afternoon, most of the area will mainly see showers overnight into early Friday. The strongest storms took down trees and power lines, a threat which picks up again Friday afternoon and continues Friday night. In fact, the risk for tornadoes and flash flooding will also be added to the mix.
Here’s how it goes: Laura’s center of circulation (at this point a tropical depression) will be entering western Kentucky by midday Friday. As the storm shifts eastward to our north, our risk for severe weather increases. Friday morning, a few showers and storms are possible. However, Friday afternoon through the first part of the night will be most active. Clusters and bands of strong storms will pack heavy rain, gusty wind, and the threat for spin-up tornadoes. In addition, it’s going to be a cloudy, breezy day with wind gusts at times exceeding 30 mph.
In regard to storm arrival, the latest data indicates storms reaching the Shoals as early as mid-afternoon into the evening (2 PM through 5 PM). We should see storms really pick up in the Huntsville-Decatur-Athens area by late afternoon into the evening (4 PM through 7 PM). Storms reach Sand Mountain later (6 PM through 9 PM). Keep in mind these are arrival times, not storm duration. We can still be dealing with strong storms and heavy into the early morning hours Saturday.
In locations where the ground is saturated, trees will go down more easily. Persistent, heavy rain will create the risk for standing water and potentially flash flooding. Due to the nature of the storms associated with a tropical system, tornadoes are a threat as well. Tornadoes associated with tropical systems and their remnants can sometimes be difficult to warn for since they typically spin up quickly and only last for a brief time. It’s important to have ways to receive warnings so you can quickly seek shelter in the event you’re under a tornado warning.
Once the remnants of Laura leaves, we’ll still have storms in the forecast. In fact, it stays stormy through the end of the weekend all the way through next week.