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Strong storms predicted for Tuesday; schools to dismiss early

A strong line of storms will move into the area Tuesday night bringing damaging winds and possible large hail, according to the National Weather Service in Huntsville, with tornadoes also a possibility.

Madison City Schools, along with other surrounding school districts, announced it will dismiss students early Tuesday due to the severe weather threat.

Jennifer Saari, NWS of Huntsville meteorologist, said a fast, strong line of storms will move through north Alabama and southern Tennessee on Tuesday night. She said it will hit the Madison County area about 5 p.m. and last until about 8 p.m.

“My confidence is highest for damaging winds,” Saari said Monday. “My secondary threat is large hail, and my lowest confidence is tornadoes.”

Saari said the hail has the potential to be larger than an inch. She said sustained winds are predicted to be 20 to 25 mph. Wind gusts during the storms are expected to be 60 to 70 mph but could reach 80 mph.

Emergency Management officials have encouraged residents to be looking at their properties and looking to see what they can do to prevent wind from destroying anything. They also warn power outages can become more common with damaging winds.

Saari said the rain accumulation from the storm is only expected to be about an inch. She said there is only a low threat of flooding.

The predicted high Tuesday is expected to be 88 degrees with an overnight low of 48. Saari said high winds are predicted Wednesday with wind gusts of 30 to 35 mph. The expected high temperature Wednesday will be 59.

The solar eclipse will take place April 8 and will begin at 12:43 p.m., reach maximum 90% coverage at 2:02 p.m., and end at 3:19 p.m. Geoff Heidelderger, another NWS in Huntsville meteorologist, said the day is still too far off to know for sure what the weather will be like during the eclipse.

“Looking ahead, we do have just a low chance of rain, like 20 to 30% during the day. Obviously, if it rains, we’d have some cloud cover as well associated with that,” he said. “Things could change. Things could slow down, things could speed up, so it’s really tough to predict clouds more than a day or two in advance.”

Heidelderger said high temperatures predicted for April 8 are in the low to mid 70s. The temperature will reach a high for the day during the eclipse, he said. Heidelderger said the currently forecast chance of rain will also take place during the eclipse.

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