It is a terrific Tuesday of weather across Central Alabama. This midday, we continue to bask under mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures. Looking out the window, there are a few cumulus clouds floating across the baby blue sky. If the weather could stay like this all the time, who could complain?
As we look at the latest satellite image for the Southeast, we do notice off to our southwest, clouds are increasing and these will be lifting towards the northeast during the afternoon hours. We will see our sky go from mostly sunny, to partly sunny, to mostly cloudy as we head into the overnight hours.
Underneath all those clouds, we see rain falling across southern portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. There a some heavy downpours ongoing around the New Orleans area currently, and even more showers and storms out over the Gulf of Mexico. This area of showers will be lifting northeast as well, and will bring us increased rain chances heading into and through the overnight hours.
Until then, take an opportunity and get outside and enjoy this glorious weather. With all the sunshine, most locations in Central Alabama have warmed into the upper 60s and lower 70s. Later this afternoon, 70s should blanket areas from West Alabama, east across the Interstate 65 corridor, and into many locations of East Alabama. Enjoy today’s weather, because a big change arrives overnight and during the day tomorrow.
Throughout the morning, we have seen several areas of clouds work across the state. Through the morning at my location, the sky went from mostly sunny, to overcast, back to mostly sunny, and currently I have a partly sunny sky. For the rest of today, we can expect similar conditions across much of the state as a mix of sun and clouds will persist. It will remain dry as no rain is expected today.
Something you have obviously noticed this weekend, is the return of spring-like weather across the Southeast. Temperatures have warmed-up nicely today and depending where you are in the state, you are either in the 60s or 70s. Along and south of U.S. Highway 80, all locations are reporting temps in the 70s, north of there 60s are the more prevalent numbers. Locations along I-20 are right at the 70 degree mark and I would not be surprised to see Tuscaloosa or a few other locations make it to 70 this afternoon. If you have the chance, try to get out and enjoy this terrific weather this afternoon.
Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before heading to bed tonight. Daylight Saving Time begins at 2AM Sunday Morning, which means that we will spring forward to 3AM. This will give us less daylight in the mornings and more daylight in the evening times, and more of an opportunity to enjoy the warmer temperatures that are now beginning to settle in across the state. You don’t want to miss any of this spring-like weather the next few days, make sure your clocks are set correctly. The amount of daylight hours will continue to increase until the Summer Solstice on June 21.
It is a cloudy and cool day for much of Alabama. A few rays of sunshine making it through the clouds in the Tennessee Valley, but for the most part, most locations remain gray and overcast. There is a very small temperature range across the state as most locations are in the upper 40s or lower 50s. Not expecting these values to change much the rest of today as thick cloud cover will prevent most of the sunshine from making it to the surface.
Underneath all those clouds, we are seeing light to moderate rain falling across portions of Central Alabama. The heaviest rain currently is just to the south of Interstate 59, but it is slowly lifting towards the north and east. Rain is falling in Tuscaloosa and is now reaching into the Birmingham metro. Other locations seeing rain are Clanton, Brent, Greensboro, Selma, and Alabaster. No severe weather in Alabama today as this disturbance moves across the state.
For the next few hours, we expect this area of rain to continue to move eastward. Additional scattered showers are likely to develop throughout the state and many areas can expect a soothing and soaking rain today.
Not much change in the drought conditions across the majority of the U.S. The West, especially California, remain in exceptional drought conditions. This takes into account the heavy rains and storms that affected the area last week, and shows just how bad conditions are out there. Drought conditions continue to embrace many areas west of the Mississippi River, while most locations east of the Mississippi, are fairly unaffected by drought conditions.
For us in Sweet Home Alabama, a bit of an improvement, mostly in southwestern parts of the state. Last week, there were abnormally dry conditions for Mobile and Baldwin counties and then stretching towards the northeast. With recent rains, those areas have gone back to normal with just a small part of Conecuh, Escambia, Crenshaw, and Covington counties still in the abnormally dry conditions. For northwestern portions of the state, little to no change from last week as the same areas of Limestone, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Colbert, Franklin, and Marion counties remain abnormally dry.
Something new for this week, an area of abnormally dry conditions has developed over areas of East Alabama. Portions of Talladega, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Randolph, Cleburne, and much of Clay County have been highlighted with these conditions.
Overall, for the entire state the abnormally dry conditions have decreased in the area they cover. Last week it was at 9.8% of the state, this week it is 8.64%, which is a decrease of 1.16%. With the additional rainfall today, hopefully we will continue to see these conditions improve.
It remains a cold and cloudy day across Alabama as well as much of the Southeast, and it certainly looks and feels like winter out there. With such a dense cloud field in place today, it will be hard for our temperatures in Central Alabama to warm much more above where they are this midday. Expect most areas to see lower to mid-40s for afternoon highs. We could get a few breaks in the clouds this afternoon, especially over northern and eastern portions of the state, but most of us should remain socked in with the clouds.
It is actually colder down towards the Gulf Coast today. Mobile has struggled to warm today and has a current temp of 35, while it is 37 in New Orleans. Not the best of weather for all the Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras Festivities ongoing in that part of the country today.
We are watching an area of unsettled weather to our southwest as some wintry precip as been falling across Texas, Louisiana, and southern Mississippi this morning.
Several reports from NWS Jackson of sleet and freezing rain occurring in some of their southern counties.
From NWS Slidell, numerous reports of an ice coating/glaze in many areas, especially around the Baton Rouge area. In these areas the surface temps are ranging from 29-32, so wintry precip is expected.
We are expecting the rain to continue to spread east throughout the afternoon, and it will be impacting the lower two-thirds of the state, especially areas along and south of Interstate 20. Already light rain is falling in Sumter, Marengo, and Choctaw counties in Southwest Alabama.
The good news for us in Central Alabama is our temperature are well above freezing already. Any precip that falls will be a very cold rain, with perhaps some sleet mixing in, but no issues with ice as surface temps are above freezing. The showers will likely last into the overnight hours, and there is a chance for some scattered showers to hang around into Wednesday morning.
As of this morning, 53.9% of the U.S. had the white stuff on the ground. A year ago on this date, only 41.2% of the country was covered in snow.
There are just a few states with little to no snow on the ground. An interesting note on the map below, you can see the heavy snowfall from the most recent snow storm that tracked from Texas into Arkansas, across Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Virginias.
The winter of 2014 appears it wants to stick around along as possible and this winter will be one that is remember for widespread arctic air outbreaks as well as the numerous winter storms that impacted the country, especially areas of the Deep South. How many more winter storms are ahead for the remainder of this winter and into the spring? Only time will tell, but statistics say a few more winter storms could impact portions of the country before we can finally say so long to this winter.
Though the state of Alabama has already had its own Severe Weather Awareness Week, February 16-21, 2014, there is never a time when you can have too much preparedness for severe weather.
This week, March 2-8, 2014, is the annual National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This a week set aside each year to help prepare the public, government agencies, as well as public and private companies for the upcoming severe weather season. This year’s theme is, Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step. During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, this year, I am taking the time to learn how to prepare for severe weather.
Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. The deadliest and most destructive tornado of 2013, an EF-5 on May 20 in Moore, Oklahoma, caused more than $2 billion in property damage. Even though severe weather was anticipated days in advance, many in the impacted areas said they did not have a plan and were caught unprepared. While spring tends to produce more tornadoes, they’re not uncommon in fall. On Nov. 17, a late season tornado outbreak that struck seven Midwestern states became the most active tornado day of 2013 with a total of 74 tornadoes.
Whether it is spring, summer, fall, or winter, severe weather can and does happen at any time, anywhere. Even though the Oklahoma tornado outbreak was forecasted for days in advance, and warning lead times for the tornado outbreak averaged nearly 20 minutes, there were still many people in the impacted areas that stated they were unprepared. Here are a few simple ways to be better prepared for severe weather.
Know Your Risk: Hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding, thunderstorms-every state in the United States experiences severe weather. No one can ever use this excuse and say they did not know severe weather could impact them where they live. The National Weather Service issues all watches and warnings across the U.S. and you can stay informed by visiting Weather.gov to get the latest on weather threats.
Take Action: Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Find out more about being prepared for severe weather and the Weather-Ready Nation Initiative.