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WeatherBrains 568: Calling the Ambulance Now

| December 6, 2016 @ 5:20 am

WeatherBrains Episode 568 is now online (December 5, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Brian CosgroveTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a Research Hydrologist for the National Weather Service (NWS). He is the National Water Model Lead. He has been responsible for the implementation of the groundbreaking and gamechanging technology for the National Weather Service. Brian Cosgrove, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 88 at Tampa (Vandenburg), FL, and -9 at Stanley, ID;
  • Slight risk of severe weather over extreme SE US;
  • National snow analysis shows 32 percent snow cover across Lower 48;
  • Going to get cold across the eastern half of the country;
  • Nice rains over Southeast US but more flood issue in SE Texas; and
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer encounters a bunch of technical problems, so the email bag will be summarized next week.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101:

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 568:

Office of Water Prediction

To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

Picks of the Week:

Brian Cosgrove – Office of Water Prediction

Bill Murray – Gets the fog horn!

Brian Peters – BloomSky weather station

Kevin Selle – Fog time lapse from Wichita Falls

James Spann – SPC Storm-Scale Ensemble of Opportunity

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Fog dome caught on camera

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Rick Smith, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather. graphic


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A Brief Update For Tonight’s Weather

| December 5, 2016 @ 9:10 pm


Well there is two bits of good news for tonight’s weather. The first good news is that we will receive even more beneficial rainfall to help bring our deficits down. Even though there is a lull in the rainfall across much of the area at this moment, more rain is expected to move in from the west and southwest.


The second bit of good news is that the SPC has cut the risk areas down a bit from earlier today. Only the southern parts of Barbour, Bullock, and Pike Counties in the southeastern corner of the area remain in the “Slight Risk” for severe storms, with locations in our area south of a line from Auburn to Montgomery to just south of Demopolis in the “Marginal Risk.”

The boundary that is expected to move north as a warm front has not started its move as of yet. With that staying in place, that has kept the convection down near the Gulf Coast, and has allowed temperatures and dew points north of that boundary to be way lower than expected, especially with the amount of precipitation that has fallen already in Central Alabama. There still may be a few thunderstorms with moderate to heavy rainfall, but for nearly the entire Central Alabama area, there will be no severe weather threat through the rest of the evening and the overnight hours.

So bring on the rain, and a few claps of thunder. That will only help me sleep better.


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Soaking Rain Tonight; Arctic Blast By Thursday

| December 5, 2016 @ 3:23 pm

RADAR CHECK: Yet another large mass of rain is moving up into North/Central Alabama this afternoon…


The air is cool and stable with temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s, meaning we expect no severe weather problems over the northern half of the state tonight.

However, to the south, the air is unstable near the Gulf Coast, and a tornado watch remains in effect until 8:00 p.m. for the broad zone from Mobile Bay to Panama City. In Alabama, only three counties are included… Baldwin, Geneva, and Houston.

SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe storms for South Alabama tonight…


Additional rain amounts of at least one inch are likely tonight; rain ends early tomorrow morning as a surface low pulls away to the northeast. Clouds linger much of the day tomorrow, however, with a high in the upper 50s.

Wednesday looks cool and dry with a mix of sun and clouds along with a high between 55 and 59 degrees.

ARCTIC BLAST THURSDAY/FRIDAY: An Arctic front invades Alabama Thursday. Moisture will be limited, but some light rain is possible ahead of the front. The big story is the cold air; the high Thursday will be only in the low 40s with a biting north wind of 15-30 mph, making it feel much colder. By Friday morning, temperatures will be down in the 19-22 degree range. And, during the day Friday, we won’t make it out of the 30s despite sunshine in full supply. Some communities up in the Tennessee Valley will stay below freezing all day Friday.

Despite what the rumor mill is producing, there is no risk of any winter weather mischief Thursday and Friday. I guess it is possible somebody might see a few light snow flurries over Northeast Alabama Thursday evening, but it won’t amount to anything, and there is no impact.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The low Saturday morning will be down in the 17-21 degree range; Birmingham’s record low for December 10 is 13 (set in 1995)… most likely that is safe despite the cold air intrusion. The say Saturday will be sunny with a high in the upper 40s. Then, clouds return Sunday, and some light rain could move in from the west Sunday afternoon ahead of the next wave aloft. Moisture will be limited, so rain amounts should be light through Sunday night.

NEXT WEEK: Some light rain could linger on Monday, followed by drier weather through mid-week. Then, global models show another Arctic blast toward the end of next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

“NO BURN” ORDER LIFTED: Here is a release from the Alabama Forestry Commission…

“Effective immediately, Governor Robert Bentley and Interim State Forester Gary Cole have rescinded the statewide Drought Emergency ‘No Burn’ Order which has been in effect since early November. Officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) say the state has received enough rainfall over the last few days to reduce the threat of dangerous wildfires.

“In recent days we have seen significant rainfall across our state and the Alabama Forestry Commission now believes the worst of the drought has ended,” Governor Bentley said. “I want to thank the Forestry Commission and the dozens of local fire departments that have worked so hard to ensure the thousands of wildfires didn’t get out of hand. These men and women have worked long hours under intense conditions to prevent as much damage as possible. We will continue to work with stake holders across the state to help everyone recover from the drought.”

According to Cole, “Although all counties in the state will return to having burn permits available, we should bear in mind that Alabama like much of the South is still experiencing extreme drought conditions this fall. The AFC will continue to monitor ground moisture levels throughout the state. If ground fuels become exceptionally dry again, it may be necessary to re-issue a Fire Alert or No Burn Order in affected areas.”

The AFC advises anyone conducting any type of outdoor burning to follow safety precautions such as not leaving a fire unattended until it is completely out, having the necessary equipment and personnel to control the fire, and having a garden hose or other water supply on hand for smaller debris burns. Any fire more than a quarter-acre in size or within 25 feet of a forested area requires a permit from the AFC.”

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Google Plus

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…


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Rain In The North At Midday, More Will Develop Later

| December 5, 2016 @ 1:17 pm


A Cloudy And Rainy Midday Out There In Central Alabama
Cloudy skies cover all of Central Alabama at this midday hour, with areas along and north of I-20 and I-20/59 receiving decent amounts of rainfall, and boy do we need it. So far at the Birmingham Airport, the total rainfall since midnight is at 0.43 inches (12:20 PM), but more is on its way as more showers and storms are expected to develop later today.


Temperatures are still rather cool at this time, with mostly 50s across Central Alabama, with a few spots in the upper 40s in the northern parts of the area. Cool spots are Cullman and Gadsden both at 48 degrees, with the warm spot being Troy at 59 degrees.

Birmingham’s Climatology And Records
The normal high for December 5th is 59, while the normal low is 37. The record high for today was set back in 1988 at 79. The record low was set back in 1907 at 21.

Latest HRRR Run: Simulated Radar at 2AM Tuesday

Latest HRRR Run: Simulated Radar at 2AM Tuesday

For The Rest Of Today
More showers are expected to develop across the western parts of the area and will spread northward and eastward through the day, as a warm front will move to the north ahead of a short wave moving northeastward out of northern Mexico and into Texas. There will probably be enough instability for a few flashes of lightning, but there will not be any surface-based convection during the day. Daytime highs will not be reached until midnight tonight, and they will be in the mid 50s to mid 60s from north to south.

That short wave will move rapidly to the northeast into the area during the late night and overnight hours, but depending on where the warm front makes it at that time, will determine where any strong to severe weather would happen. Any rain that falls north of the warm front should reinforce the cooler airmass, and keep instability levels lower, even though shear values will be high enough to support rotation. Also, an easterly flow will start to strengthen ahead of the warm front, as cold air damming will start to take place as ridging moves into the mid-Atlantic states.


At this time, it looks like the threat of any severe weather will be located in the southern-most counties of the area, especially south of a line from Auburn to Montgomery to Coffeeville in Clarke County. The SPC have put that area in a “Slight Risk” for severe weather, with the areas north of that to a line from Wedowee to Calera to Moundville in a “Marginal Risk” for severe weather. The main threats will be from damaging winds and an isolated brief tornado due to shear and weak instability in place. Main action for stronger storms will be from about 10PM through 6AM on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s Outlook
Drying will start to take place for the western parts of the area early on Tuesday morning, as rainfall should come to an end by 9AM, as the short wave quickly moves to the north of the state. The rest of Central Alabama should dry out by midday. After that, skies will partly to mostly cloudy throughout the remainder of the daytime and evening hours for most of the area, with some sun possibly returning to the area south of the I-20 corridor. Afternoon highs will be in the 60s for much of the area, with a few 70s down in the southeastern part of the area. Overnight lows will mostly be in the 40s.

Number Of The Day: 15
There were 15 actual named storms in the Atlantic Basin for the 2016 Hurricane Season. Out of those 15 named storms, 7 became hurricanes, and out of those that became hurricanes, 3 became major hurricanes. Even though Matthew caused damage and major flooding in the southeastern states, we have not had a landfall from a major hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005.

On This Day In 1886
A big snowstorm in the southeastern U.S. produced 11 inches at Montgomery AL, 18.5 inches at Rome GA, and 22.5 inches at Knoxville TN.

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This is the weekly netcast that’s all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists at ABC 33/40. This week, the panel will be talking about water, something that we have learned to appreciate even more in the past few weeks. You can listen anytime on the web, or on iTunes. You can find it here.

Forecaster: Scott Martin (Twitter: @scottmartinwx)


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Strong Storms Tonight; Much Colder Thursday

| December 5, 2016 @ 6:28 am

COOL, DREARY, DAMP DAY: We begin this Monday with low clouds, fog, and drizzle across much of North/Central Alabama; temperatures are mostly between 46 and 51 degrees… they really haven’t changed much over the past 24 hours.

Showers will increase later today as a surface low forms west of the state; that low will move from near Lake Charles, Louisiana this morning to Muscle Shoals late tonight. A warm front, extending eastward from the low, will lift northward later today and tonight, putting the southern half of the state in a warm, unstable airmass. And, that will set the stage for active thunderstorms tonight.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT TONIGHT: SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather defined for areas south of a line from Demopolis to Verbena to Demopolis… with a “marginal risk” to just north of Birmingham…


All modes of severe weather will be possible over the southern half of the state tonight, including storms with large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes. The risk is much more limited along the I-20 corridor (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston) as the most unstable air remains just to the south, and for now we don’t expect any severe weather issues for the northern third of the state.

The main window for severe storms over South Alabama will come from about 10:00 tonight through 6:00 tomorrow morning; be sure you have a way of getting warnings (NOAA Weather Radio, good smart phone warning app like WeatherRadio by WDT) since this will come during the late night and pre-dawn hours.

TOMORROW/WEDNESDAY: Rain and storms will end early tomorrow morning as the surface low pulls away; clouds will linger much of the day, although we could see late afternoon clearing. The high tomorrow will be in the low 60s. Then, on Wednesday, the day will be cool and dry, but only a limited amount of sun is expected. Wednesday’s high will be in the mid to upper 50s.

ARCTIC AIR BLAST ARRIVES THURSDAY: An Arctic front will blow through Alabama Thursday. Moisture will be limited, but some light rain could accompany the front… then after its passage strong north winds will kick in and usher in the coldest air so far this season. We will have a hard time getting past the low 40s Thursday afternoon, and a north wind of 15-30 mph will make it feel colder. By Friday morning we should reach the low 20s, and during the day Friday we won’t get out of the 30s despite sunshine in full supply. Some communities up in the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama could stay below freezing all day Friday.

By Saturday morning, expect a low between 18 and 22 degrees across North/Central Alabama.

THE WEEKEND: Saturday will be sunny with a high in the upper 40s; clouds will begin to increase Sunday, but for now the weather looks dry with a high back in the 50s.

NEXT WEEK: Another rain event should unfold Monday, with potential for a few storms Tuesday as the air becomes unstable. Then, more cold air is due in here over the latter half of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Google Plus

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…


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A Quick Sunday Afternoon Update

| December 4, 2016 @ 4:37 pm


Clouds are thick across Central Alabama on this Sunday afternoon. There is some fog as well as low level moisture is starting to seep into the area from the south, warming those dewpoints. We will be in the upper 40s overnight.

There is a surface low along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, sliding east. The main surface low is building to the east of Brownsville this afternoon. It will bring the main rain and storms tomorrow night.

In between, we remain in a strong southwesterly flow aloft. It is shaking out a few showers from time to time.

There is a confluence zone right along I-59 that is leading to some enhanced enhanced showers along I-59 near and northeast of Meridian. These heavier showers will move across areas along and south of I-20 over the next few hours.

As the surface low moves northeast, additional moisture will surge into Alabama from the south and more showers will start arriving later tonight. Expect waves of rain tomorrow, with thunder eventually being mixed in.

if the warm front comes far enough north, storms could be strong tomorrow night with a few reports of damaging winds or even isolated tornadoes. The main severe weather threat is from Moundville to Clanton to Auburn and back to the south.

Rainfall amounts should be around 1.25 inches through Tuesday morning.

An arctic surge will arrive Thursday with a chance of a few showers, but not much beneficial rain. Highs on Friday will remain in the 30s mostly with a few spots across North Alabama not getting above freezing. We will be in the lower 20s by Saturday morning.


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