Thanksgiving weekend weather: Alabama faces severe storms on Saturday

Active weather is expected through Thanksgiving holiday weekend – including the possibility of some strong storms on Saturday.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center added a Level 1 of 5 risk for severe weather for a portion of southwest Alabama for Saturday.

A level 1 risk is marginal and means isolated severe storms are possible.

The chance of rain will increase throughout Alabama today (Thanksgiving Day) with rainy conditions expected for much of the state on Friday. A thunderstorm or two is possible, but no severe weather is expected today and Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

But that could change on Saturday if another weather system moves into the region.

The Storm Prediction Center said scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are possible Saturday afternoon through into the night hours for southwest Alabama, including the Mobile region. The strongest storms could bring damaging gusts of wind, and “perhaps a tornado is possible with this activity,” forecasters said.

Hopefully the tornado potential doesn’t materialize, but the days leading up to Thanksgiving have historically been busy when it comes to tornadoes in Alabama.

In fact, according to the Weather Service, Alabama ranks #1 in the nation for the number of tornadoes during Thanksgiving week.

From 1950 to 2019, there were 153 tornadoes in the state during the period November 20-30, according to the Weather Service.

Thanksgiving week tornadoes

Alabama tops the list for the number of Thanksgiving tornadoes.

That’s far more than other tornado-prone states, including No. 2, Mississippi (124) and No. 3, Texas (104).

The other states rounding out the top eight are Louisiana (99), Arkansas (81), Georgia (48), Kansas (32), and Florida (29).

Why so many? November is typically a big part of Alabama’s so-called “secondary” severe weather season, which runs from the winter through the spring months.

In fact, November is the third most common month for tornadoes in Alabama, according to the Weather Service, looking at data from 1950 through 2021.

Alabama tornadoes by month

November has historically been the third busiest month in Alabama for tornadoes.

Most of the tornadoes came in April, thanks in large part to the 2011 superoutbreak. From 1950 to 2021, there were 555 confirmed tornadoes in April. The second busiest month is March with 368. Then comes November with 280, according to weather service data.

The weather across Alabama is expected to improve through Sunday, with drier weather expected for the first part of next week. However, forecasters will be watching trends mid-week when another storm system could bring the possibility of rain and storms back to the state.