Heavy rains expected over Labor Day weekend

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NOAA warns that heavy rains and some flooding is possible late in the Labor Day weekend through midweek next week.

Tropical storm Lee has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and will slowly track northward over the weekend, making landfall along the Louisiana coast Sunday morning.

This tropical system will slowly move toward Central Alabama with some of the rain bands potentially affecting southwestern areas as early as Saturday evening.

Rain coverage will increase and spread across all of central Alabama Sunday into Monday.
Tropical system Lee’s influence may last through midweek. A cold front will approach central Alabama from the northwest on Sunday.

This front will allow deep tropical moisture to pool across central Alabama. The combination of these two features will potentially produce widespread rain amounts of two to eight inches with locally higher amounts possible through midweek.

Drought conditions have plagued central Alabama for the past several months. A large part of central Alabama remains in a moderate to extreme drought.

This beneficial rainfall will be quickly absorbed by the dry soils and vegetation over central Alabama, however, any prolonged duration of heavy rainfall in one particular area (especially in urban areas) may cause some excessive runoff and minor flooding.

It is not out of the question for some areas over coastal Alabama and northwest Florida to receive as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain with locally higher isolated amounts possible where tropical rainbands become established.

Some uncertainty remains on the track of this complex system. Look out for additional updates heading into next week.

Forecasts can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov or www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx.