Bainbridge in for wet winter, stormy spring, according to meteorologist

Published 4:55 pm Friday, January 12, 2024

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Following Tuesday’s severe weather that left thousands without power across southern Georgia and caused severe damage across the Southeast, Friday was predicted to see a similar bout of bad weather. Fortunately, that has yet to materialize, with only some showers and thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon.

The Post-Searchlight spoke with WCTV meteorologist Austin Lowe about the recent severe winter weather, and what locals should expect going forward. For the afternoon and remainder of the day, Lowe said, “We don’t have nearly as much energy in the atmosphere in terms of the wind, and so that’s going to limit the severity of the storms,” he said. “We also don’t have quite as intense turning with the winds, which is what led to the tornadoes in Panama City and Jackson County.” Lowe did add that there was still an “outside chance” of a tornado, albeit a lower chance than Tuesday.

Lowe explained that part of the reason for an early start to severe weather season was the El Niño weather pattern. This pattern is affected by the warming of air currents at the Equatorial Pacific, which can strengthen the subtropical jet stream and subsequent weather systems.

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“That’s the expectation through much of this winter,” he said, “it’s going to be an active subtropical jet, and likely an active severe weather season, on top of a wet winter as well.”

That said, Lowe stated that the next week was looking to have much calmer weather than Tuesday, though the worst may be yet to come. “I anticipate as we get farther down the road, into February, March and April, that’s probably when we’re going to see the peak of severe weather season here, as we head into spring.”

To conclude, Lowe emphasized the importance of being aware of the weather during times like this, especially at night. “Have multiple ways to get weather alerts,” he said.