By Tom Hays
— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Forecasters are predicting severe storms for much of Alabama, but the risk of tornadoes will be relatively low.
The National Weather Service says the main threats from the Thursday afternoon and evening storms will be damaging straight-line winds and large hail.
The storms are expected to fire up ahead of a cold front that will enter northern Alabama early Thursday afternoon and push south into most of the state through the evening hours.
The weather service expects the line of storms to be over far northern Alabama around 3 p.m.; in the Tuscaloosa area by around 6 p.m.; and just south of Montgomery by 9 p.m.
"The primary threat will be damaging straight-line winds as there are several parameters that support a fairly high wind threat with this system," the weather service said in an online briefing on the storm threat.
"The potential is there for some wind gusts perhaps as high as 80 mph," the weather service said. "However, we do not anticipate widespread 80 mph winds."
Secondary threats include large hail and frequent, deadly cloud-to-ground lightning, forecasters said.
"There doesn't appear to be a tornado threat with this system, and the flooding threat is rather low," according to the briefing.