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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Rain Ends Later Today; Arctic Front Arrives Thursday

| December 6, 2016 @ 6:21 am

RADAR CHECK: We have lingering showers across Alabama early this morning…

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This rain will continue to end from west to east, and most of it will be out of the state by late morning. Clouds linger through the afternoon, and the high today will be in the mid 60s.

Tomorrow looks cool and dry, although we will see more clouds than sun…the high will be in about ten degrees cooler, in the mid 50s.

COLDEST SO FAR: An Arctic front will blow into Alabama Thursday morning; ahead of the front a band of rain showers is likely, but moisture will be limited, and amounts should be 1/4″ or less. The big story is the cold air; following the front’s passage north winds will increase to 15-25 mph with higher gusts, and temperatures won’t get past the low 40s.

Friday will be a sunny but very cold day. The low early Friday morning will be in the 20-25 degree range, and most communities across North/Central Alabama won’t make it out of the 30s during the afternoon. Some places over the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama could stay below freezing all day.

By early Saturday morning, temperatures will drop into the 18-22 degree range. Looks like the record low for December 10, 13 degrees set in 1995, is safe.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be a sunny day with a high in the upper 40s as a warming trend begins, but clouds move in Sunday, and some rain could reach North and Central Alabama by Sunday night. The high Sunday will be in the upper 50s.

The European model (ECMWF) holds the rain off until Monday; one way or another this looks like a system that will bring about 1/2″ of rain to the state. And, toward the end of next week there seems to be potential for another shot of cold, Arctic air. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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We note there is NO sign of any snow or ice issues for Alabama for the next ten days based on current model output.

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.

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

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…

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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…

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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.

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

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…

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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…

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

Rain,Storms, Then Very Cold

| December 4, 2016 @ 6:36 am

Here is a quick look at the three banner weather events for Alabama over the next week…

RAIN CONTINUES: Today will be a cool, wet day for Alabama with periods of rain. A warm front is over South Alabama, and will move only slowly northward today; the northern counties will stay in a cool airmass with temperatures struggling to get out of the 40s.

We should mention strong storms are possible today over far South Alabama, south of the warm front, where the air is unstable. SPC has a “marginal” risk of severe storms defined there…

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Rain continues at times into the day tomorrow as the unsettled pattern continues.

UNSTABLE AIR ADVANCES NORTHWARD: As the warm front lifts northward in response to low pressure developing just west of Alabama, strong storms will be possible deeper into our state tomorrow night into Tuesday morning. We have the standard “slight risk” of severe weather defined for areas south of a line from Grove Hill to Dothan, with a “marginal risk” up to Moundville, Verbena, and Auburn.

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For the moment it looks like the risk of severe weather for the northern half of the state tomorrow night is rather low, but but zero. All a matter of how far north the “warm sector” moves. The main window for the stronger storms over the southern counties will come from about 10:00 tomorrow night through 10:00 Tuesday morning. A few storms over South Alabama could produce damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes.

RAIN AMOUNTS: Storm totals (counting the rain that came down yesterday) will be in the 3-4″ range for most of Alabama by Tuesday, when the rain will end from west to east. This won’t end the drought, but we are moving in the right direction. Birmingham’s rain deficit for the year is 11.71″ as of late last night.

ARCTIC BLAST: The coldest air so far this season invades the state late this week; by Friday the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama could stay below freezing all day, with highs only in the mid 30s for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden…

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There could be a few sprinkles or flurries as the cold air rushes in Thursday, but nothing significant with a very dry airmass in place.

No sign of any winter weather woes (snow, ice, etc) for Alabama for the next 10 days…

Cool, Soaking Rain Begins Tomorrow

| December 2, 2016 @ 3:27 pm

VERY BENEFICIAL RAIN AHEAD: Clouds increase across Alabama tonight, and rain will move in from the west during the day. Rain should reach the I-65 corridor by midday, and on into East Alabama by mid-afternoon. Then, a soaking, chilly rain will fall tomorrow night and Sunday. The high tomorrow will be only in the 50-55 degree range, and many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 40s Sunday with the steady rain continuing to fall.

STRONG STORMS EARLY NEXT WEEK: On Monday a surface low over Louisiana will move northeast, to a position near Nashville by Tuesday morning. A warm front will be moving northward, and there is a chance the “warm sector” moves as far north as I-20 by Monday night, and this could set the stage for strong to severe thunderstorms over the southern two-thirds of Alabama. For now SPC has the severe weather threat confined to the far southwest corner of the state, but that will probably be pulled northward at some point. We will keep a close eye on forecast severe weather parameters over the weekend and we can be more specific about the threat, if one develops.

Rain and storms will end Tuesday morning as a slot of dry air rotates into the state.

Model guidance suggests 4-5 inches of rain is very possible, if not likely between tomorrow and Tuesday. This will take a big chunk out of rain deficiencies statewide; Birmingham still needs 11.51″ to get back to average values and end the drought.

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ARCTIC BLAST LATER NEXT WEEK: An Arctic front will blow in here Wednesday, and most likely it will come through in dry fashion. Then, the coldest air so far this season will settle in here Thursday, when the high will be only in the low 40s with a biting north wind of 15-30 mph. Then, on Friday, some places up in the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama will stay below freezing all day, with highs in the mid to upper 30s for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden. Early morning lows should reach the teens in the December 9-10 time frame.

NO BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT: We received this news release from the Alabama Forestry Commission this afternoon…

“The statewide Drought Emergency ‘No Burn’ Order declared by Governor Robert Bentley in early November will remain in effect until conditions change sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. Despite a nice coverage of rain across much of the state this week, the Governor and officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) remain cautious.

“We are grateful for the rainfall we’ve received, but because of the severe prolonged drought it is just too soon to lift the ‘No Burn’ Order,” explained Interim State Forester Gary Cole. “The winds and lower relative humidity accompanying the cooler temperatures we’re experiencing combine to quickly dry out vegetation, which will increase the probability of dangerous wildfire activity until the next rain event. We’re certainly hoping the weather forecast of additional rain through early next week is correct, and we will re-assess the situation at that time.”

“After seeing the recent devastation in our sister state of Tennessee, we cannot afford to take any risks,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The bottom line is that Alabama is still in an extreme drought. Until the threat of catastrophic wildfires is considerably reduced, we do not want to be too hasty in making a decision. Several recent wildfires across our state have threatened residential areas, and if not for the efforts of the Alabama Forestry Commission firefighters and volunteer fire departments, we would have lost homes. Their commitment to protecting life, property and wildlife is greatly appreciated.”

Year-to-date, a total of 3,644 wildfires have consumed almost 50,000 acres of land in Alabama, with 2,219 of those fires and 29,406 acres just since October 1. “This past Monday 108 active wildfires burned over 3,000 acres across the state, setting a record for one day. This situation was extremely alarming not only because of the unusually high number of fires but also because of their large size,” continued Cole. “It was a nightmarish day and night, stretching the men and women who make up our wildfire suppression resources beyond capacity.”

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 enjoyed seeing all the third graders today at Oak Grove Elementary School… 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 Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Another Big Rain Event Begins Tomorrow

| December 2, 2016 @ 6:35 am

COLD MORNING: Temperatures are below freezing in most places across North/Central Alabama early this morning; we expect another sunny day ahead with a high in the low 60s this afternoon. We stay above freezing tonight as clouds return.

WET, VERY COOL WEEKEND: Models continue to trend faster with the next weather system, and we will need to bring in a chance of rain tomorrow, maybe even starting tomorrow morning over the western counties of the state. The rain will slowly spread eastward during the day, otherwise tomorrow will be cloudy and cool with a high in the 50s.

Widespread rain is likely tomorrow night and Sunday; a warm front will remain over far South Alabama, so we stay in cool air. In fact, many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 40s Sunday with rain falling.

STRONG STORMS EARLY NEXT WEEK? The warm front over South Alabama will lift northward during the day Monday, and there is a chance North Alabama could be in the “warm sector” of the storm by Monday night as a surface low develops and passes just northwest of here. The latest GFS run in house (06Z) shows dew points into the mid 60s as far north as I-20, so we will have potential for strong, maybe severe storms late Monday, Monday night, and very early Tuesday morning.

Rain and storms will end by mid-morning Tuesday as we get into a dry slot; some clearing is possible Tuesday afternoon with a high in the 60s.

Rain totals from tomorrow through Tuesday morning are expected to be in the 3-4 inch range for much of Alabama; some spots could see even more. And, some flooding issues could crop up by Monday night. No, this won’t end the drought, but it will sure continue to put a dent in it. About a third of the state remains in an “exceptional” drought…

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ARCTIC AIR BLAST LATE NEXT WEEK: The “gates to the Yukon” will open up next week, and very cold, Arctic air will flood much of the continental U.S. by Thursday and Friday. Looks like the Arctic front will come through, most likely, in dry fashion Wednesday, and we will go into the deep freeze after its passage.

We won’t get past the low 40s Thursday, and a strong north wind will make it feel much colder. Then, on Friday, the high will only in the upper 30s, and by Saturday morning most places around here have a good chance of dropping into the teens. Birmingham’s record low for December 10 is 13 set in 1995… I don’t think it gets that cold, but we should be within 5 degrees or so.

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

STORM SURVEYS: NWS Birmingham has identified 11 tornadoes so far from the severe weather event Tuesday night and Wednesday… NWS Huntsville survey teams have reported 6 tornadoes, for a total so far statewide of 17. That number could still go higher.

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 will be doing a weather program this morning at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!