Yesterday, Brian posted about the Birmingham NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter being off the air. Today we received an update from Jim Stefkovich, the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Birmingham. Jim believes it is important for everyone to know about the situation, and has asked all media partners spread the word on the issue. Here is the latest information on this situation.
Initial issues with the Birmingham NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) transmitter occurred during the late afternoon on Saturday 4/19. Technicians determined on 4/20 that equipment on the tower, as well as cable from the transmitter to the antenna needed to be replaced. There are limited personnel available to make repairs and certified to make the approximate 450 foot climb on the antenna. We have received estimates that the transmitter may not be repaired until on or around 5/3.
They have provided a link to allow people the opportunity to switch transmitter sites and determine if they can in fact pick up broadcasts from surrounding transmitters. Map of nearby transmitters.
The last NWR weekly test occurred on 4/19. For some NWR receivers, if a weekly test does not occur within 10 days, the receiver will begin to beep constantly. This means that if not repaired by 4/29-30, these receivers will begin to beep until a weekly test is performed. It is their intention to perform a weekly test immediately if the outage lasts this long.
Another fascinating look at the storm system to our southeast today. The surface low and upper-level low are both located on the Georgia/Florida line this afternoon. Clouds and rain continue to fall in many areas to our east with this system. The last few satellite images it appears to look like the clouds are bubbling up over southeastern Georgia. These are actually thunderstorms that have developed in the area and the strong updrafts in the storms are allowing the cloud tops to make it higher than the lower cumulus and stratus clouds affecting most areas.
For us in Alabama, if you are west of Interstate 65, there is hardly a cloud in the sky as beautiful blues skies are allowing an abundance of sunshine through. East of Interstate 65, there is a mix of sun and clouds, which becomes more overcast the farther east you go. There are still a few very light showers showing up on radar this afternoon east of I-65 and south of I-20.
Where the clouds and rain are, it is quite a cool and raw day. Temps are staying in the 50s across much of Georgia and the Carolinas, with even some 40s in North Carolina. Where the sun is out over most of Alabama, temps are well into the 70s and it has turned out to be a beautiful spring Saturday. At last check I noticed the temperature at Auburn was 59 degrees verses the 77 in Tuscaloosa.
For the rest of today, these lows will continue to slowly shift off to the east and will gradually allow skies to clear over eastern portions of the state later this evening.
Many areas of Alabama are seeing a mix of sun and clouds late this morning thanks to the upper-level low that is currently over Georgia. There is quite a bit of sunshine across much of Central Alabama this morning as well as a brisk north wind in most locations.
Up and down the western side of the state, there is nearly full sunshine along Highway 43 from Muscle Shoals to Mobile. Along the Interstate 65 corridor in Central Alabama, clouds are moving towards the south and are thinning out slowly. The main area of clouds over the state is confined to the southeastern corner of the state. Locations in and around Dothan, Eufaula, Phenix City, Troy, Hartford, and Fort Rucker continue to see mostly cloudy and overcast conditions.
As we head through the rest of today, we will continue to see the clouds slowly clearing out of the state as the upper-level low pulls away from the region. Most locations will see mostly sunny skies later today. Then for Easter Sunday, nothing but sunshine and blue skies are expected. .
An interesting looking radar across Central Alabama this morning. With an area of low pressure over the north-central Gulf of Mexico, we are seeing moisture move north from the Gulf in all levels of the atmosphere. The upper-level flow over the region is also enhancing this moisture transport. In the lower-levels, the low pressure is having more of an influence and we can see that on the radar.
A look below shows the rain showers over Central Alabama are moving in different directions depending on where you are located and also the height of the radar beam above the surface. Areas between Interstate 20 and Interstate 85 in Central Alabama are seeing the showers move from east to west. South of the Montgomery area, it seems the dominant flow is to the north. North of the Birmingham Metro, we are seeing a more southwesterly movement of the showers. Finally over western portions of the state, in the upper levels the showers are moving north, but the lower levels it appears the majority of the activity is moving to the south.
What does all this mean? It shows that in every level of the atmosphere there is an abundance of moisture thanks to the area of low pressure in the Gulf spreading moisture north. It also means the clouds and rain will hang around throughout the day and that many areas of the state will have a nice, soaking rain today.
Little change in the drought situation across the West. We continue to see a lot of dry areas across the Plains, Texas, the Southwest, and along the West Coast, with those exceptional drought conditions persisting in portions of California, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
For Alabama, another soaking rain earlier this week has allowed many locations to continue to avoid abnormally dry or drought conditions.
The only part of the state that is still experiencing drought and abnormally dry conditions is in the northwestern part of the state. Moderate drought conditions are occurring in portions of Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin Counties, where it amounts to 1.32% of the state being affected. That is the same percentage that was being affected last week.
The abnormally dry conditions continue to impact locations in Lauderdale, Limestone, Lawrence, Colbert, and Franklin Counties. These conditions covered 3.82% of the state last week. This week, it has increased only slightly by 0.16% to now cover 3.98% of the state.
Here comes the late season freeze. A very cold night is ahead, as all of Alabama will fall into the the 30s tonight, and that includes areas along the Gulf Coast. Across much of Central Alabama, most locations will go below freezing, and several areas will drop into the 20s. For this reason, the National Weather Service has placed nearly all of Alabama under a freeze warning for tonight and tomorrow morning. Take any and all precautions needed to protect sensitive vegetation as well as pets.
This will be a one night event for most us. Tomorrow, highs will climb into the mid-60s before cooling back-off into the upper 30s for Wednesday night. For the rest of the week, our temperatures will slowly moderate back to those pleasantly warm spring temperatures we have become so accustomed too lately.
…A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL BRING BELOW FREEZING TEMPERATURES
TONIGHT FOR ALL OF CENTRAL ALABAMA…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A FREEZE
WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 8 AM CDT WEDNESDAY.
* TIMING…TEMPERATURES WILL FALL BELOW FREEZING BETWEEN 1 AM
AND 4 AM LATE TONIGHT ACROSS THE MAJORITY OF CENTRAL ALABAMA.
TEMPERATURES SHOULD WARM ABOVE FREEZING BY 8 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES…WILL RANGE FROM THE UPPER 20S NORTH TO THE LOWER
* IMPACTS…THE FREEZING TEMPERATURES MAY DAMAGE OR KILL VEGETATION
THAT HAS ALREADY BLOOMED OR BUDDED OUT FOR THE SPRING.
A FREEZE WARNING MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE IMMINENT OR
HIGHLY LIKELY. THESE CONDITIONS WILL KILL CROPS AND OTHER
A very chilly, windy, and cloudy day is ongoing across Alabama. The winds will continue the rest of today as they help advect a much colder and drier air mass into the state.
As the dry air moves in, we will begin to see our clouds mix out and sunshine return. The sun’s return will occur from northwest to southeast across the state. Looking at the latest satellite image, we are beginning to see breaks in the clouds over western portions of the state, and actually severe clear over northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. During the next few hours we will see the skies clearing over Alabama, which will allow us to see a lot of sunshine this afternoon. The sun will not help much with our temps though, as highs this afternoon will struggle to reach the 50s, with many locations remaining in the 40s.
The winds will subside later this evening, and under a clear sky, we will have ideal radiational cooling conditions. This will allow our temps to drop like a rock later tonight and give us all a very cold and freezing night across the state.
Moderate to heavy rain is moving into western portions of state. The rain will continue to spread east across the state the next few hours. No storms are currently severe in Mississippi, and we are not expecting severe weather in Central Alabama. Storms could produce gusty winds, lightning, perhaps some small hail, and very heavy rainfall.
The bulk of the rainfall is between Interstate 65 in Alabama and Interstate 55 in Central Mississippi. There have been several flash flood warnings back in Mississippi and we certainly could see some flash flooding throughout the area as the rain moves through. Expect several hours of rain before the rain begins to taper off from west to east across the state later tonight.