The tornado that struck Moore, OK yesterday was determined to be an EF5, according to National Weather Service survey teams. These are very violent tornadoes, with winds over 200 mph. Winds of 210mph were estimated based on damage at or near Moore. The tornado was up to two miles wide at times and stayed on the ground for almost 45 minutes. EF5 tornadoes are very rare. Less than 1/10 of 1% of tornadoes are this strong.
It’s been wetter and cooler than normal along the Gulf Coast beaches recently. Record low temperatures over the weekend caused water temperatures to drop into the middle 60′s in places by Tuesday. We began to see a rebound today, with a water temperature of 70 degrees reported. Lighter winds have also lowered the threat of rip currents through Thursday. Surf conditions are generally in the 1-2 feet range. It looks like we will get one more decent day in tomorrow, before the the rain moves back in for the weekend.
A unique cold core low pressure system over Tennessee is bring us some cool nights for early May. This mornings low was 45 degrees in Mobile, breaking the old record of 47 set in 2011. We also broke a record in Pensacola with a temperature of 50 degrees. The old record was 51, set in 1944. The coldest morning of all was Saturday when Mobile Regional recorded 43 degrees! The low will continue to weaken and pull away from the area on Tuesday and Wednesday. We expect a warming trend with readings in the 80′s again by mid week.
Record lows have been falling across the Gulf Coast! A powerful upper-level low over Arkansas is funneling a frigid Canadian air-mass directly to the Gulf Coast. Saturday morning Mobile Regional set a new daily record with 43°, but get this, 43° also ties the all-time record low for the entire month of May! It was also a record-breaker in Pensacola with a low of 48° on Saturday morning.
We can expect quite a few records to be broken or tied Sunday morning as well, with widespread 40s to start the day. We will also stay a bit cooler for Sunday afternoon as well with highs only topping out in the upper 60s (Low 80s is the average for this time of year).
Our temps will stay below average for the first half of the week as things slowly warm up. By the second half of the week we will be back in the 80s as we head towards next weekend.
An upper low over s’west Louisiana moves slowly east towards the Central Gulf Coast into Thursday. This feature is combining with abundant Gulf moisture to produce impressive rains. Doppler Radar estimates show up to 6″ have fallen over parts of George County in the last 24hrs. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for parts of our area through Thursday. Flood warnings have also been issued this evening for George County. While heavy rain is a threat, widespread severe weather is not expected. Several tornado warnings were issued this evening, with no confirmation of tornadoes in the warned area. Nickle to quarter size hail was reported in Daphne around 2pm. Expect rain chances to remain very high until the surface cold front clears the area early Saturday morning.
Rain chances continue this week, as we remain in moist southerly flow. Afternoon heating helped spark a few heavier downpours on this Monday. We expect a similar situation Tuesday, with even higher rain chances Wednesday and Thursday. A slow moving cold front should move through the area on Friday, finally bringing an end to the shower activity by the weekend. Look for slightly cooler temperatures at night by the weekend too, with unusually colder weather to our north over the Tennessee Valley.
A large high pressure ridge over the Canadian Maritimes will weaken a bit over the next two days. This pattern has kept us dry so far this week. Weaker ridging will remain in place ahead of the next front expected to bring a few isolated showers late Wednesday and early Thursday. Rain chances are only 20%. Temperatures will improve quite a bit at night. After seeing a chilly weekend (lows of 41 Sat AM, and 45 Sun AM), expect readings more into the lower 60′s at night this week.