Author Archive: James Spann

James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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Unsettled Weather For The Rest Of The Week

| January 16, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

THIS AFTERNOON: Another warm January day with temperatures mostly in the upper 60s and low 70s; just a few isolated showers are over North Alabama. Clouds will thicken tonight with a weakening surface front approaching from the west.

MID-WEEK: We will mention a chance of showers tomorrow and tomorrow night as the front gets close, but there will be little upper support, and rain amounts should be on the light side, generally 1/4″ or less for the places that do see rain. Otherwise, the sky will remain mostly cloudy and tomorrow’s high will be in the low 70s.

The front will wash out Wednesday, and while we will still mention a chance of widely scattered showers, a decent part of the day should be dry. The high Wednesday will be in the 65-70 degree range, and the sky will feature more clouds than sun.

The next wave from the west will bring rain into the state Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. This one will have better dynamics, and we could see some strong thunderstorms Thursday night. But, at the moment it looks like the best instability will be a little west of Alabama, and for now the overall severe weather threat looks fairly low. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch look likely with this system.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Rain and storms should end early in the day Friday, and the sun should break out with temperatures rising back into the low to mid 70s as the warm January a pattern continues. Then, over the weekend, a rather robust weather system will approach from the west. We will mention a chance of showers during the day Saturday as the Gulf of Mexico will be “wide open”, but the main event will come Saturday night and Sunday with rain and thunderstorms. The latest GFS is trending a little slower, suggesting the main threat of strong storms will come Sunday. And, with much better instability, severe storms could certainly be a possibility. Still a little too early to be specific about timing and the overall magnitude of the threat.

On the positive side, rain amounts over the weekend could approach 2 inches… don’t forget the northern half of the state is still in a drought.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: Monday looks cloudy and much cooler with a chance of some light rain; the high will drop back into the low to mid 50s, where we should be in January. And, the pattern will favor even colder air toward the end of the month.

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

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

Increasing Rain Chances Later This Week

| January 16, 2017 @ 5:19 am

STILL WARM FOR JANUARY: An upper low lifted out of the Southwest U.S. over the weekend, and brought severe storms to parts of Texas last night, but the main energy from that feature will remain well to the west and north of Alabama today, and accordingly our weather won’t change much. A mix of sun and clouds, and a high in the low 70s this afternoon, about 20 degrees above average for January. Very cold air continues over the northern U.S… but the upper air pattern won’t allow it to move southward in the short term.

MID-WEEK: A weakening surface front will bring the chance of showers to the state tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, but with little dynamic support rain amounts should be on the light side, and I doubt if we hear much thunder. Slightly drier air works into the state Wednesday with generally dry conditions and only a few scattered showers. The high will drop back slightly into the mid to upper 60s Wednesday.

The next wave approaching from the west will bring more rain to Alabama Thursday afternoon and especially Thursday night; we could deal with a few strong thunderstorms with some unstable air involved, but for now the overall severe weather threat looks low.

FRIDAY: Showers and storms should end Friday morning with drier air working into the state Friday afternoon. Still warm with a high in the 70s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A rather robust system will bring rain and storms back to the state, and it looks like we could very well have a risk of severe storms Saturday night. SPC has put the southern half of the state in a severe weather risk on the “Day 6” outlook, and that will probably be pulled northward later this week as a strong upper trough will support a deepening surface low to the west of Alabama. Too early to be really specific on the threat; just something to watch for now.

On the positive side, some beneficial rain is likely over the next seven days, with potential for over three inches in many places. Keep in mind the northern half of Alabama remains in a drought.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: Cooler air returns to the state next week, and evidence highs will drop into the 40s, with lows below freezing by the end of the month as the pattern flips.

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…

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Spring Preview Continues Over The Weekend

| January 13, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

WARM JANUARY WEATHER: Temperatures are in the mid 70s across North Central Alabama this afternoon… almost 25 degrees above average for mid January in Alabama. And, Birmingham has tied the record high of 77 degrees set on this date in 1932. Just one week ago we were under a winter storm warning, and snow and ice could shut down many major highways around the Birmingham metro.

Interesting to note the high has reached or exceeded 70 degrees on 285 January days since 1900 in Birmingham (counting today). January warmth happens more often that you might think across the Deep South.

We do have a few showers on radar over the northwest counties of the state this afternoon, but rain amounts have been light and spotty so far. The rest of Alabama is enjoying a partly sunny sky.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A strong upper high will persist over the Gulf Coast states… meaning warm, dry weather continues. Partly sunny days, fair nights, and highs in the mid 70s.

TO THE NORTH: A southwest flow aloft over a shallow layer of cold air will produce ice storm conditions over parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois over the next 36 hours. Ice storm warnings are in effect for this region.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: The ridge slowly weakens, and a few showers could show up as early as Tuesday. But, global model data suggests the main chance of showers and storms will hold off until the end of the week; too early to know if severe storms will threaten Alabama. And, the pattern still seems to favor a change to such colder weather by the end of the month. 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…

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I had a great time today visiting with the 3rd graders at Vincent Elementary School in Shelby County… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the videos tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Warm January Weather: Some History

| January 13, 2017 @ 12:52 pm

Did a little work in the Birmingham climate data base this morning considering the current “warm spell”… we are in the mid 70s this afternoon…

*The high has reached or exceeded 70 degrees on 284 January days since 1900 in Birmingham.

*Warmest January temperature on record: 81 degrees on January 10, 1949.

*We reached or exceeded 78 degrees on 13 days since 1900…

January 10, 1949 81
January 17, 1943 79
January 20, 1928 78
January 14, 1932 78
January 22, 1937 78
January 23, 1943 78
January 15, 1947 78
January 11, 1949 78
January 24, 1950 78
January 25, 1950 78
January 30, 1950 78
January 1, 1952 78
January 29, 2002 78

*Warmest month of January on record, by far was January 1950 with an average high of 66.65 degrees. Next comes January 1937 at 63.35 degrees, and January 1907 at 61.90 degrees.

As stated many times, in Alabama it doesn’t “get cold and stay cold”… and it sure can be nice and warm in mid-winter. The way it is in a latitude state.

Warm January Weekend Ahead

| January 13, 2017 @ 6:16 am

UPPER HIGH BUILDS: A strong ridge in the upper atmosphere will continue to build across the Southeast U.S. in coming days… producing warm afternoons for January, and keeping the cold and ice issues north of our region.

We will forecast a mix of sun and clouds today, tomorrow, and Sunday with afternoon highs in the 71-75 degree range, just under record levels for mid-January. Here are the record highs for Birmingham…

Today (January 13) 77 (1932)
January 14 78 (1932)
January 15 78 (1947)
January 16 77 (1943)
January 17 79 (1943)
January 18 76 (1929)

A far cry from the snow and ice issues we had a week ago; keep in mind it was as cold as 7 degrees in Alabama this past Saturday (January 7). This is a state where it never “gets cold and stays cold”. Examples…

Birmingham’s coldest temperature on record came on February 13, 1899 when the temperature dropped to 10 degrees below zero. But, only 8 days later on February 21, 1899 the high zoomed to 70 degrees.

In 1982, the low at Birmingham was -1F on January 11 with a crippling ice storm to follow in the days ahead. But, just 8 days later on January 19, the high was a balmy 76 degrees.

FYI…the warmest January temperature on record in Birmingham is 81 degrees… measured on January 10, 1949.

ICE ICE BABY: For travelers we should mention ice storm warnings are up for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois as freezing rain in very cold air has potential to bring very significant ice accumulations.

NEXT WEEK: The ridge holds early in the week, and the weather looks mostly dry and warm Monday and Tuesday. The chance of showers and storms will increase by Wednesday and Thursday as the upper high weakens, and there seems to be some chance of strong storms by Thursday or Thursday night. Too early to know if severe storms will be an issue.

And, still signs of cold air returning to the Deep South toward the end of the month. 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…

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I have a weather program this morning at Vincent Elementary in Shelby County… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Spring Preview Continues

| January 12, 2017 @ 3:29 pm

WARM JANUARY DAYS: A strong upper high continues to build across the Gulf Coast region, and will keep temperatures across Alabama spring-like through early next week.

Lots of clouds are over Alabama this afternoon, but there is little on radar, and temperatures are in the 70-75 degree range for most places.

CLOSE TO RECORD LEVELS: Here are the record highs for the next few days (for Birmingham)…

January 13 77 (1932)
January 14 78 (1932)
January 15 78 (1947)
January 16 77 (1943)
January 17 79 (1943)
January 18 76 (1929)
January 19 76 (1982)
January 20 78 (1928)

Highs will be just under these levels most days, a good 20 degrees above average.

A few showers are possible late tonight and tomorrow over the northern third of the state, but most of Alabama will be dry thanks to the upper high.

THE WEEKEND: Partly sunny, warm days, mostly fair nights. Highs 72-75, lows in the 50s. And, while we enjoy the spring preview, some nasty icing is likely across the nation’s bread basket; ice storm warnings are up for parts of Kansas and Missouri where freezing rain could bring ice accumulation to near one inch. This could easily bring down trees and power lines.

NEXT WEEK: Not much change on Monday and Tuesday, generally warm and dry. But, the ridge weakens by mid-week, allowing rain to return to the state Wednesday and Thursday. A few strong storms could be involved, but it remains to be seen if severe weather will be an issue. We do note long range guidance hints that cold air will return to Alabama toward the end of the month.

See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

WORLD CLASS TENNIS RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM: The BJCC will host the first-round tie against Switzerland February 3rd-5th. Single-day tickets are on sale now. Get them while they last! Buy tickets 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.

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

Facebook
Twitter
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I enjoyed seeing the kindergarten students today at Weaver Elementary… 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…

Warm January Days

| January 12, 2017 @ 6:24 am

CLOUDS, NOT MUCH RAIN: The sky will feature more clouds than sun across much of Alabama through tomorrow, but we don’t expect much rain. Best chance of showers will come across the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama, but even there rain amounts should be fairly light. The big story is the warmth; we expect a high between 70 and 73 degrees both days. The average high for January 12-13 for Birmingham is 52.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The spring preview continues. Afternoon highs should be in the 72-76 degree range Saturday and Sunday with a mix of sun and clouds both days as the upper ridge holds across the region. Record highs for Birmingham…

January 14 (Saturday) 78 (1932)
January 15 (Sunday) 78 (1947)

ACROSS THE CENTRAL U.S.: Potential for some nasty icing conditions due to freezing rain tomorrow through part of the weekend; winter storm watches are up from parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, through Missouri into Illinois (areas south of Chicago).

Freezing rain could set up a serious ice storm for parts of that region. Thankfully, far from Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: Dry and warm weather continues across Alabama Monday and Tuesday, but the ridge breaks down, and rain should return to the state by Wednesday. The latest GFS run shows a new surface low forming over Arkansas with unstable air over Alabama, but it is too early to know if severe storms will be an issue. Looks like rain amounts of about one inch will be likely.

We start to trend back to colder temperatures in about 10-15 days…

WORLD CLASS TENNIS RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM: The BJCC will host the first-round tie against Switzerland February 3rd-5th. Single-day tickets are on sale now. Get them while they last! Buy tickets 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.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I am doing a weather program this morning at Weaver Elementary School… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Warm January Weather Ahead

| January 11, 2017 @ 3:24 pm

RADAR CHECK: Just a few sprinkles/patches of light rain across Alabama this afternoon… the sky is mostly cloudy.

Temperatures have pushed into the 70s in a few spots; Tuscaloosa is a warm 74 degrees this afternoon.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: A strong upper ridge will build across the Southeast U.S., meaning warm and mostly dry weather on these four days. A few showers are possible tomorrow and Friday across the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama, but the rest of the state should be rain-free. The high tomorrow and Friday should be in the 70-73 degree range for most, with 72-75 degree readings this weekend. These values are not too far from record values; the record high for Saturday (January 14) is 78 set in 1932.

FYI, we have seen 80 degree warmth in January in Alabama… the warmest temperature on record for the month is 81 degrees, measured in Birmingham on January 10, 1949.

ICE FOR THE NATION’S MID-SECTION: While we enjoy the warmth, very cold air is over the northern U.S., and that could set the stage for some nasty icing conditions from the Texas Panhandle to Washington D.C. and Baltimore by Friday and Saturday…

NEXT WEEK: A storm system lifting out of the Southwest U.S. will bring rain back to Alabama by Wednesday… for now it looks like about 1/2 to 1 inch of rain with little if any risk of severe storms. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

And, long range data from the CFS model hints cold air returns to Alabama around the last week of the month.

WORLD CLASS TENNIS RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM: The BJCC will host the first-round tie against Switzerland February 3rd-5th. Single-day tickets are on sale now. Get them while they last! Buy tickets 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.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

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