We've certainly seen enough rain lately to make up much of the deficit we had through March, though officially Columbus is still more than two inches below average on the year. More than halfway through April we've had about 4 inches of rain, with more on the way. It's almost as if our "wet" season has been delayed a month - normally March is our wettest month, but this year March was 3 inches below normal and now we're evidently making up for it. A similar thing happened last year, and in case you forgot, 2014 gave us the 4th wettest April on record with nearly 10 inches of rain!
You could almost say the same thing about our severe weather season. That usually peaks in March, but this March was unusually quiet. Last year April was more stormy and active than March, culminating in an early morning tornado on April 29 in Lee County, Alabama. This weekend we have a potent weather system moving through, setting us up for a low-end threat of severe storms.
The way it looks now, we could be dealing with three rounds of storms of varying strengths. Round 1: overnight tonight and early Sunday. A complex of storms is expected to lift northeast from the Gulf coast through south Alabama and on up into our area during the morning hours of Sunday. Heavy rain is almost a sure bet with this, and a few storms could produce damaging winds and hail. The Storm Prediction Center has put our area within a Marginal Risk for severe storms late tonight.
Forecast map for Sunday afternoon
Round 2 would be later Sunday evening, but it's going to be dependent on how much the atmosphere can recover and become unstable after the early rain. The greater severe threat would be well off to our west Sunday, centered around Arkansas, but SPC has us in a slight risk (for Rounds 1 and 2 combined) in its Day 2 outlook (shown here) taking into account the possibility of new development that might occur in the afternoon.
Round 3 wouldn't happen until early Monday as the actual cold front makes its push east through the area, and that one is rather iffy - storms would be quick-moving and isolated with only a low severe threat.
And Monday should be the last rain we'll see for awhile. The cold front passage will be followed by a nice surge of drier, more stable air that should bring us several sunny days beginning Tuesday, featuring cool mornings and warm afternoons. After our recent rainy spell, this week will be worth the wait!
On Sunday, keep in touch with the First Alert weather team through our various outlets on the air and online just in case something severe develops, and make sure your NOAA Weather Radio is set for the nighttime hours tonight and during the afternoon Sunday.