High clouds will continue to thicken across the area tonight as a storm system to our west moves into the region. A warm front will set up just offshore late Friday into Saturday then move inland as the entire storm moves east across the area Saturday afternoon. Showers and storms will become likely by Saturday morning with chances continuing to remain high into Saturday afternoon. Locally heavy rainfall and hail will be the initial threat from "elevated" thunderstorms north of the warm front. As the atmosphere gets more moist, warm and unstable into the afternoon...the threat for stronger storms will exist. As is always the case with these severe weather events on the Gulf Coast, there will be two threats. Supercell storms....rotating thunderstorms that are isolated and have large spaces in between one another will develop offshore and move inland. These storms will pose a risk of large hail and tornadoes. The second threat will come with the cold front later Saturday into early Sunday in the form of a squall line. This solid line of storms will be capable of damaging wind gusts and brief spin-up tornadoes. This does not appear to be the makings of a major severe weather outbreak like the area experienced back on Christmas Day, but storms will be around and the environment will support any of them producing severe weather. These storms will also produce heavy rainfall which could cause localized flooding in some areas.
By Sunday the front moves east of the region, bringing a return to breezy and dry conditions. Sunday actually looks like a decent day, aside from the gusty winds. Most of next week will be sunny and dry with mild days and chilly nights. Temperatures will be around 5-10 degrees below average highs (70°). The warmest days will be this Saturday and Sunday with temps well into the 70s and nights only dropping into the 60s, but every other night for the next week will see lows in the 30s and 40s. A late season light freeze is possible inland Wednesday and Thursday morning.
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley