A collective laugh in the direction of the famous prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil, can be heard as winter continues to ravage much of the country. The 2013 forecast of the weather forecasting groundhog called for an early spring this year.
Throughout the country, many have dealt with some part of a parade of winter storms. Today, the 22nd storm of the season assaults any hopes of an on-time spring. Unseasonably cold temperatures greeted the arrival of spring this year on March 20. Today, only two days into the start of spring, and there are reports of snow and sleet in Georgia.
As spring fights to arrive, a severe weather brawl between the unseasonably cold and the much anticipated warmer temperatures is expected. As a complex low pressure system interacts with the coast to generate a warm frontal boundary which will approach the atypically cool southeast tomorrow, it will bring with it a chance for damaging winds, large hail, heavy rains and isolated tornadoes.
Yesterday, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) identified much of the northern Gulf coast, including parts of Georgia, as areas within a slight risk for severe weather on Saturday. It is rare that the SPC identifies such a risk in a Day-3 Convective Outlook. Today, that area of slight risk on the Day-2 Convective Outlook (tomorrow's stormy weather outlook) has been expanded. Tomorrow is expected to be a significantly severe weather day, and I would not be surprised to see an upgrade of the risk to moderate.
In the tri-state area of Florida, Alabama and Georgia, the greatest tornadic threat exists Saturday afternoon and evening as the warm frontal boundary approaches. A secondary threat of severe weather exists later Saturday night as a squall line is expected to form along the cold front, bringing a threat of dangerous winds and large hail, though isolated tornadoes could be a threat throughout the weather event. Heavy rains are also expected with the arrival of a moist low pressure system, with isolated rainfall totals up to 4 inches.
Everyone in the areas identified in today's Day-2 Convective Outlook and Saturday's Day-1 Convective Outlook should be mindful tomorrow of rapidly changing conditions and take action to protect life and property.