It's a threat we've had in our sights since early this week. As Saturday draws near, not much has changed in regard to the forecast for significant storms in the Tennessee Valley. The strongest storms develop much farther to the southwest, mainly in Louisiana and Texas. Those individual storms, capable of producing large hail and violent tornadoes, track eastward into Mississippi Saturday evening.
As the night progresses, the characteristics of the storms evolve. Expect individual storms to merge into a line, leading to the main threat we're expecting - damaging straight line winds with gusts between 60 and 70 mph. Embedded, isolated tornadoes will be possible along the line as well. In regard to hail, damaging hail cannot be ruled out, but it's a fairly low threat at this point.
That line of storms arrives in the Shoals by 11 PM at the earliest. We are focusing on the earliest possible arrival time so you are not caught off guard Saturday night. Keep in mind, storms can arrive as late as 2 AM in the Shoals Sunday morning. They track eastward into Huntsville between 2 AM and 5 AM, then Sand Mountain between 5 AM and 8 AM. The rain diminishes through the day, but a shower or storm isn't impossible later in the afternoon as the actual cold front passes. We catch a break and for those with damage, get a chance to clean up, Monday and Tuesday before the rain returns Wednesday and the storms are back Thursday.