James Spann: High-impact wind event for Alabama tonight


ZETA NEAR LANDFALL: Hurricane Zeta does not want to weaken this afternoon despite cooler shelf water and strong winds. Sustained winds are 110 miles per hour, and landing comes briefly over southeast Louisiana. The core of the remainder of the circulation will be racing through Alabama tonight.

ON THE COAST: Winds could blow up to 90 miles an hour over parts of Mobile County tonight; Gusts up to 75 miles per hour are possible over Baldwin County. The storm surge on Dauphin Island is expected to be 6-9 feet; Mobile Bay is expected to rise 4 to 6 feet and the beaches of southern Baldwin County (Fort Morgan to Orange Beach) 3 to 5 feet.

A tornado clock is in effect for Southwest Alabama until midnight. A few isolated tornadoes and gargoyles are possible.

Rainfall levels of 2-3 inches are likely on the Alabama Gulf Coast through Thursday; A flash flood watch is in place.

INLAND ALABAMA: A tropical storm warning covers much of Alabama tonight as Zeta speeds through the state. There is a possibility of a strong wind event with widespread tree and power line damage. Expect numerous power outages tonight.

For those in the tropical storm warning, expect sustained winds of 25-45 mph with gusts up to 65 mph.

For most of central and eastern Alabama, the highest winds will come after midnight.

  • For each point, the highest winds last around two to three hours.
  • The biggest concern will come from falling trees in the late evening and before Thursday morning. If you live in a mobile home surrounded by pine trees, I would consider spending the night somewhere else tonight.
  • Start planning power outages now. Secure loose items on your property.
  • Some short, isolated tornadoes are possible over eastern and southern Alabama.

  • The amount of rain for the next 24 hours is between 1 and 3 inches. A flash flood watch applies to much of Alabama.
  • The wind and rain decrease early Thursday morning and the sky becomes partly sunny during the day.

FRIDAY AND WEEKEND: Friday will be mostly sunny and cooler, with a high in the 60s; The dry weather lasts until Halloween weekend and offers good sun exposure on both Saturday and Sunday. The high on both days is between 68 and 72 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Colder air arrives early in the week; Highs will fall into the upper 50s on Monday, and lows will be in the 30s on both Monday and Tuesday mornings. Widespread frost seems likely by early Tuesday, with the possibility of freezing in the colder spots. We’re warming up again in the low 70s by Thursday and Friday and the week looks rain free for the time being.

ON THIS DATE 1999: A super typhoon known as Cyclone 05B reached the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. This storm is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean. Cyclone 05B hit the Indian state of Odisha near the city of Bhubaneswar on October 29. An estimated 10,000 people would die from the cyclone and 1.67 million were left homeless.

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