Tropical Storm Lee to hit Alabama

Published 4:40 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

Weather forecasts for Alabama and surrounding states for Labor Day weekend are filled with the predicted backlash of Tropical Storm Lee barreling toward the Gulf Coast.

According to the National Weather Service in Calera, Saturday temperatures in the Birmingham area may reach a high of 92 degrees, with an increasing chance of rainfall and 5- to 10-mph winds at night.

A 70-percent chance of rain is predicted for Sunday and Monday, with possible thunderstorms and 5- to 15-mph winds. A diminishing percentage of rain is predicted for Tuesday.

“Watch out for lightning and heavy rainfall, and strong to moderate winds,” said Rocky Baer, a hydrometeorological technician at the National Weather Service in Calera.

Forecasts for the Mobile area, including the Florida Panhandle and Alabama beaches, show higher chances of thunderstorms and flash flooding over the weekend.

Showers and heavier thunderstorms are predicted for Mobile on Saturday, with a high of 89 degrees and a low of 71. Tropical storm weather is possible on Sunday and Monday, with chances of showers and thunderstorms extending through Tuesday.

Baer said a flash flood watch has been issued for Mobile from 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 5, with prolonged periods of heavy rain and possible ocean rip tides.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines rip tides, or rip currents, as channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, which can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

“We should probably expect that to develop,” Baer said of rip tides. “That would be a hazard to look out for.”

Baer said families traveling by car should obey speed limits and watch out for heavy rainfall and slick roadways.