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Showers/Storms Increasing Across Alabama

| 3:21 pm May 2, 2016

RADAR CHECK: As expected, we have scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms across Alabama this afternoon…

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SPC maintains a “marginal risk” of severe weather for pretty much all of the state tonight; heavier storms will be capable of producing small hail and gusty winds, but a big severe weather problem is not expected. Some communities will also see heavy rain with potential for temporary flooding issues, but I doubt if we see 3 and 4 inch amounts like yesterday in cities like Clanton and Oxford.

TOMORROW: Drier air works into the state, and it looks like best chance of showers and storms will be over South Alabama. For north/central counties, we will forecast a partly sunny sky with a high in the mid 70s.

WEDNESDAY: The morning will be mostly sunny with a high in the 70s, but a clipper moving in from the north will bring clouds during the afternoon, and the risk of showers Wednesday evening. Looks like the best chance of showers will come from 5:00 until 10:00 p.m., and rain amounts should be under 1/4 inch for most places.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Sunny pleasant days, clear cool nights with dry air in place. We drop down into the mid 40s early Friday morning; some of the traditionally colder spots might even reach the upper 30s at daybreak Friday. Not many mornings like that left before the long, hot summer gets here.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Dry weather continues; lots of sun Saturday and Sunday with warming trend. We reach the low 80s Saturday, and mid 80s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: We stay dry Monday… looks like the best chance of showers and storms will come around Wednesday. And, for now the severe weather threat looks low. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.


AT THE BEACH: Showers and storms are likely on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach tonight and tomorrow, but expect dry, sunny weather Wednesday through the weekend. Highs will be in the 70s along the immediate coast, with upper 70s and low 80s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it live here.

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

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I had a great time today visiting with the kids at Central Elementary in Tuscaloosa… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…


Monday Midday Nowcast for North/Central Alabama

| 11:57 am May 2, 2016


Most of the rain activity in the United States is located in Central Kentucky, West/Central Tennessee, Northern Mississippi, Southeastern Arkansas, much of Louisiana, and West/Central Texas. Other areas of rain across the country are located in the northeastern U.S., and on the state line of the Dakotas. No severe watches or warning were in effect at this time.

Much of North/Central Alabama is covered with mostly cloudy skies, with less coverage in clouds over parts of East/Central Alabama stretching back to the southwest. Rainfall has already started pushing into northwestern corner of the state, with thunder associated with the same rain mass back into northeastern Mississippi. A heavier shower is over extreme Northwestern Limestone County and much of Northern Madison County. Both are moving off to the northeast at 25-30 MPH.

More showers have developed across the central and southwestern parts of the state. A heavy shower is moving into southwestern Shelby County and moving over Montebello and Wilton. A small shower has developed in Southern Talladega County just northeast of Sylacauga. More spotty showers have developed over parts of Sumter, Choctaw, and Washington Counties.

Even with the cloud cover, temperatures across much of the area are up into the 70s. Here is a list of temperature readings from across the state at this time:

Birmingham 73
Tuscaloosa 70
Huntsville 74
Anniston 77
Alexander City 78
Montgomery 79
Dothan 79
Mobile 80

TODAY & TONIGHT: With another Omega Block Pattern that has set up over the country, the cold front will take a little longer moving across the state. A good chance of showers and thunderstorms will persist throughout the day as the cold front starts to slowly make its way into the state. With the heating of the day, some of the storms could become strong, with dangerous lightning and gusty winds being the main threats.


The SPC has much of the state in the “Marginal Risk” for severe storms for today, except for the extreme northwest corner of the state. Instability values (CAPE) will be at or just over 2,000 J/kg, and lapse rates over 7 C/km, but chances for severe development will be low due to low shear and mid-level lapse rates. After the sun sets, instability rates will drop rapidly and rain will be the only issue. Afternoon highs will reach the upper 70s, with overnight lows at or near 60.

TUESDAY: As the cold front starts to make its exit out of Alabama, we’ll keep rain chances in the forecast until the mid-afternoon hours. Otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds for the remainder of the day. Afternoon highs will reach the mid 70s.

WEATHERBRAINS: 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. You can find it here.


The Alpha and the Omega from Satellite Sheldon

| 9:26 am May 2, 2016

Thank goodness Alabama will be on the right side of this omega block for the later half of the week and on into Mother’s Day weekend.

– Sheldon

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge


Wet Weather Continues

| 5:42 am May 2, 2016

AT DAYBREAK: All is calm across the great state of Alabama early this morning; the sky is mostly cloudy, but we have no rain on radar.

A surface front remains west of the state, and a wave of low pressure should move along that front today, and will bring widespread rain back to the state this afternoon and tonight. A few thunderstorms could be involved; SPC has defined a “marginal risk” of severe weather for about the northern third of Alabama…


A few storms could produce hail and gusty winds, but the overall severe weather risk is pretty low due to marginal instability and weak dynamics. Additional rain amounts of around 1 inch are likely; we will need to watch for flooding issues since we saw a few pockets of 3-4″ rain amounts yesterday… some signifiant flooding was reported in places like Clanton and Oxford.

We won’t get out of the 70s today due to clouds and rain.

TOMORROW: Lingering showers will end early in the day, and the sky becomes partly sunny by afternoon as drier air works into North Alabama. Showers and storms will be confined to the southern half by then. The high tomorrow should be in the mid to upper 70s.

WEDNESDAY: The day should be mostly sunny and pleasant with a high in the 70s, but we will need to mention a chance of showers Wednesday night thanks a clipper approaching from the north. Rain won’t be too heavy; generally 1/4 inch or less for most places.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days will be cool and dry with sunny days and clear nights. Early morning lows will be in the 40s, and some of the traditionally colder spots across North/Central Alabama could reach the upper 30s early Friday morning (some people call it “Blackberry Winter”). The high Thursday will be around 70, with mid 70s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Could not be better. Sunny warm days, clear cool nights. The high Saturday will be close to 80, followed by low 80s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: Looks like the next chance of showers and storms will come around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.


AT THE BEACH: Showers and storms are likely on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach late today, tonight, and tomorrow, but expect dry, sunny weather Wednesday through the weekend. Highs will be in the 70s along the immediate coast, with upper 70s and low 80s inland. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 76 degrees. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it live here.

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

Google Plus

I am speaking this morning at Central Elementary School in Tuscaloosa… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!


40 Laps To Go

| 2:44 pm May 1, 2016

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Well, they have avoided the rain successfully throughout the race at Talladega today. Hopefully, the race will be finished before it arrives.

Right now, there is less than 50 laps to go and the nearest shower looks like it will miss the track. Heavy will not arrive until after 4 30 p.m. unless there is new development.

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A large area of showers and thunderstorms is pushing east and northeast across areas west of I-65 this afternoon. The strongest storms are:

…over the intersection of Fayette, Marion, Winston Counties near Nauvoo.
…over Bibb, southern Tuscaloosa, western Chilton and Autauga Counties.

In the Birmingham area, a strong storm is approaching Lake View, and another is west of Alabaster. The Metro will experience lots of lightning and some heavy rain and gusty winds

A new storm is forming on the Talladega/Shelby County line between Columbiana and Sylacauga.


Welcome to May!

| 2:00 pm May 1, 2016
Infographic by AlabamaWX Meteorologist Scott Martin - Click to Enlarge

Infographic by AlabamaWX Meteorologist Scott Martin – Click to Enlarge

The fifth month of the year is one of my favorites in Central Alabama. We see some of the finest weather of the year, with runs of fine, warm and sunshine filled days. It reminds me a lot of October, its closest cousin, but generally warmer and somewhat stormier. The average percentage of possible sunshine is 66 percent, equal to October, which is the other sunniest month of the year.

The average high and low for the month in Birmingham is 81.5F and 59.7F respectively. At the start of the month, the average high is 78F, but it rises to 85F by the end of the month. Overnight lows really warm, rising from 55F on May 1st to 64F on the 31st. The coldest May reading ever in the Magic City is 36F on May 4, 1971. The warmest reading ever in May was 99F on May 28, 1962 and May 29, 1898. It generally reaches 90F or warmer 1.9 days in the month.

Heating degree days are nearly zero in May, but cooling degree days start to really rise as we head toward the unrelenting heat of summer.

May used to be a drier month than April. Until 2003 that is. 5.71 inches of rain fell on the 7th that month, which skewed the average higher. The average May rainfall at the Birmingham Airport jumped from 4.4 inches to 4.99 inches because of that single event. A tremendous flash flooding event occurred across Central Alabama that day, with higher amounts reported just northeast of the Airport. 10.50 inches of rain fell on Edwards Lake Road and JB Elliott recorded 9.82 inches just northeast of Trussville. Not surprisingly, May 2003 went on to become the wettest fifth month with 17.22 inches of rain. The driest May on record occurred in 2000, when 0.88 inches fell.

It usually rains on 9.1 days on average, and rains more than 1 inch on 1.4 days. Thunderstorms occur on 9 days. The average dewpoint is starting to climb, rising from 49F in April to 58F in May.


Turning Wet for West Alabama

| 1:29 pm May 1, 2016

There is a lot of weather and events going on across Alabama, so plenty to talk about at 1:25 pm.

First, Talladega. Looks like the GEICO 500 got off to a good start and they are really living right at the super speedway. Showers have developed just to the west and southwest of the speedway. There is some lightning being reported by the lightning detection system just 15 miles west of the track. The storms are new, so a good motion on them is hard to establish, but it does look like they will impact the speedway during the next 30 minutes, by 1:45 pm or so. Looks like heavy rain will occur for a brief time, probably 20 minutes or less.


Second, looking west, the weather is really turning wet for West Alabama. That large cluster we’ve been noting across southern Mississippi has moved into West Alabama covering parts or all of Fayette, Lamar, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Hale, Sumter, and Marengo counties. This cluster was accompanied by lots of lightning as well has heavy rain. Rainfall has been estimated by radar to be as much as 2 inches in the southern portion of Lamar County along Highway 96 and just west of Millport.

While there are no flash flood warnings in effect at this time, people on the highway should be extra safe in heavy rain areas and be sure not to run into areas where water covers the roadway to an unknown depth. Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Take extra time to get to your destination and don’t take any chances.

The large cluster continued to move steadily toward the northeast at about 20 mph. Walker, Jefferson, Bibb, and Shelby counties are definitely in the path to see this cluster during the afternoon.

Other smaller showers had developed over southern portions of Cleburne County along and just south of I-20.



Storms Heating Up around Birmingham, Heads Up Lamar and Pickens

| 12:34 pm May 1, 2016

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An area of rain and storms is pushing northeastward across East Central Mississippi early this afternoon. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Winston Counties in eastern Mississippi. No reports of damage so far, and the NWS Birmingham is not planning on issuing severe thunderstorm warnings unless they intensify.

Tons of lightning in the storms between Columbus MS and Brooksville down to Scooba.

There is a threat for severe thunderstorms with winds to 60 mph with storms today. The threat of tornadoes is very very small, if not zero.

They will push into Alabama’s northern Pickens and Lamar Counties by 1 p.m. There are already storms over southern Lamar County around Millport and Kennedy.

In the Birmingham Metro, storms are forming from Homewood to Hoover and back to Bessemer. Just saw the first lightning stroke near Vestavia.

There is a storm northwest of Oxford. This storm brought a shower to the Talladega Superspeedway right befor ethe green flag at the Geico 500.

Showers along highway 280 in northern Shelby County may threaten the track within the hour.


Weather Update at 11:05 am

| 11:03 am May 1, 2016

The weather continued to be wet for some and dry for others this morning. The Columbus, MS, Doppler radar continued to show thunderstorms moving into Alabama across portions of Lamar, Pickens, Fayette, Walker, and Marion counties. The motion of the storms was toward the northeast at 20 to 25 mph.


For those at the Talladega Superspeedway, the radar remained clear for the speedway itself, but several small showers have developed in the last hour and quickly dissipated, a couple of those near the super speedway. Unless additional showers develop in the vicinity of the track, the GEICO 500 should get off to a dry start at noon today. The race may get completed without any rain delays, but we’ll need to keep a close eye on radar since the atmosphere is quite moist and relatively unstable, conditions that could see additional showers develop at any time.

A large mass of thunderstorms was located across much of southern Mississippi at 11 am and continue to move northeast. The NWS in Jackson, MS, had issued several severe thunderstorm warnings along the leading edge of this large cluster. It should take at least two hours for this cluster to move into Alabama. When it does, it will affect the counties of Sumter, Greene, Pickens, and Choctaw counties.

All areas of thunderstorms were showing a tremendous amount of lightning. Please don’t take any chances when lightning is occurring. Heed the rule – when thunder roars, go indoors! We don’t want anyone to become a statistic as a lightning fatality. Automobiles also offer safe places to be, just keep your hands away from all metal.



Showers Developing

| 9:37 am May 1, 2016

The air mass over Alabama remains unstable and quite moist as evidenced by dew points running in the upper 60s in Central Alabama and middle 60s in North Alabama. The morning sounding at the Shelby County Airport this morning showed precipitable water values around 1.30 inches.

Radar as seen below showed a small cluster of showers over northern Walker County and southern Winston County moving toward Cullman County. Other showers were occurring from just east of Columbus, MS, southwestward into Southwest Mississippi. A large area of storms was also shown over Southwest Mississippi and a large portion of southern Louisiana. All of these storms were moving northeastward around 25 mph.


As James noted below, rain delays at Talladega Superspeedway today are possible. The GEICO 500 is scheduled to get underway at noon, and based on current radar and the anticipated trends for the next several hours, it’s very likely that the race will be able to start on time. There is also a very good chance that the race will be able to run to the finish unless additional showers develop well ahead of the rain areas we already have on radar. Staying up on the latest radar information will be the best way to stay ahead of any developing weather.