Whew! A line of storms came in during the early morning and strengthened beyond all expectations, leading to a good bit of wind, lightning, heavy rain, and at least two tornadic storms that produced touchdowns in East Alabama.
This was not really anticipated. Indications even late last night called for a low severe threat centered in the Florida panhandle and along the Gulf coast, possibly easing its way into South Georgia for a brief while today but not this far north. What happened is that the warm front was swept more than 100 miles north of where it was expected to be, and faster. That put areas even as far north as Columbus in the "warm sector" where the necessary temperatures, dew points, and instability were available for strong storms.
Two storms in the line have apparently produced tornado touchdowns as of early reports: One in Pike County, Alabama and the other near Ala 165 ear Cottonton in Russell County. Damage appears to be minor. The good side of all this is that most spots got some substantial rain, for many the first in a month.
Up next: it turns to winter! Part of this complex system is the cold front trailing from the surface low, which has put an end to the rain and is about to usher in the really cold stuff. If you think it got cold last week, we're going to outdo it this time.
Winds kicking up behind the cold front tonight will give us a wind chill to go along with temperatures that bottom out in the upper 20s. A cold, blustery Tuesday awaits us as temperatures will struggle into the mid-40s even with sunshine. The coldest night this week should be Tuesday night, as we're likely to break a record low (the record for November 19 is an old one: 25º back in 1949).
That kind of cold this early is not unprecedented; back on November 22, 2008 we saw a low of 24º, but it is unusual to be this cold this early.
We will get a warming trend going after Wednesday, but it will be a slow process as temperatures struggle to get back to average readings for mid-November. The weekend could bring another chance for rain - and yes, maybe some storms, but hopefully not any more of the rough stuff.