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Potential Winter Storm Wed Night/Thursday

| 6:21 am March 2, 2015

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

ANOTHER WILD WEEK: Strap in for yet another weather roller coaster ride this week, with potential for a high impact winter storm before the week is over.

TODAY: Wet is the word; we will forecast occasional showers today and tonight; temperatures will hold steady in the 50s much of the day. We should note we have dense fog advisory for much of Central and South Alabama as the day begins; visibilities are very restricted in spots.

WARM DAY TOMORROW: A warm front pushes northward tomorrow morning, and we should soar into the low to mid 70s tomorrow afternoon; much of South Alabama can expect low 80s. A shower or two is certainly possible during the day, but I sure get the idea much of the day will be dry, and the sun might even peek out at times. Walk outside tomorrow afternoon and you will think we are a lunatic for forecasting a winter storm Wednesday night into Thursday.

STRONG STORMS? There is no formal risk of severe weather defined by SPC for Alabama, and severe weather parameters are not impressive for tomorrow night. A strong storm is certainly possible, but for now the chance of severe weather is not great.

WRONG WAY WEDNESDAY: A very sharp cold front will move through Alabama Wednesday, making it a nightmare temperature forecast. Temperatures will begin to fall across the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama early in the day. For Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, temperatures will most likely reach the 60s by midday, then falling through the afternoon, with 30s by evening. Rain will fall much of the day; it will be a good soaking for the state.

WINTER STORM THREAT: Post frontal precipitation will bring the threat of a high impact winter storm to North and parts of Central Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday. Understand we are still a few days away from this, but confidence in the forecast is growing.

TIMING: Freezing rain and sleet could begin over the northwest corner of Alabama as early as 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to go below freezing. For Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, the core threat of freezing rain/sleet will come from roughly midnight Wednesday night through 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

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PLACEMENT: Ice accumulation will be possible along and north of a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke. Isolated issues are possible even south of that line.

PRECIPITATION TYPE AND AMOUNT: The cold air initially will be very shallow; warmer air between 5,000 and 10,000 feet will mean the initial precipitation will fall as sleet (ice pellets) and freezing rain (liquid). Then, as the cold air deepens, it changes to snow before ending.

Ice accumulation to 0.25″ is likely; some spots could get more. On top of that, snow totals of 1-3″ are possible, mainly along and west of a line from Sulligent to Cullman to Scottsboro (we do note the GFS is more aggressive with snow totals). Snow amounts to the west and south will be lighter. The greatest concern is the ice accumulation; a long period of freezing rain leads to an ice storm.

IMPACT: This winter storm should severely impact travel Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and there could be enough ice accumulation for power outages. We expect a north wind of 10-20 mph during the event, which will add to the possibility of tree branches and power lines being impacted by the ice.

TEMPERATURES: Most North Alabama communities stay below freezing all day Thursday, and where there is snow and ice accumulation, temperatures early Friday morning will drop into the 10-15 degree range, with even potential for isolated single digit lows. We then warm above freezing by mid-morning Friday.

IMPORTANT: This forecast can, and will change. The event Wednesday night/Thursday could be a minor situation with mostly a cold rain, and brief change to wintry precipitation on the back side, or it could be a high impact ice storm. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

Check the blog often for updates. And, see the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts”.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: These three days will be dry with a warming trend. We reach the upper 40s Friday, mid 50s Saturday, and upper 50s Sunday. Each day should feature a good supply of sunshine.

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

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we will be in Hanceville tomorrow evening. Just drop by anytime from 4:00 until 6:30… you can watch me do weather live on ABC 33/40, get some free stuff to take home, and have a chance to win several NOAA Weather Radios we will be giving away. If you need your weather radio programmed or checked, bring it by and we will be glad to help.

FS FIRST ALERT SCHEDULE MARCH 3

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 on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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

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I have a weather program this morning at Calera Elementary School… and this afternoon I will be reading at Irondale Community School. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Afternoon Look At Mid-Week

| 1:51 pm March 1, 2015

Unfortunately morning model data still supports the POTENTIAL for a high impact winter storm across Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday.

gfs_ptype_slp_birmingham_17

The GFS and ECMWF (Euro) remain in good agreement that temperatures will fall during the day Wednesday, and post-frontal precipitation will develop Wednesday night and Thursday in the cold air. Due to warmer air in the 5,000-10,000 foot region, much of this will fall in the form of freezing rain.

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New data suggests that .25 to .50″ of freezing rain will fall at Birmingham…

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Should this verify, this could lead to a very significant ice accumulation, dangerous (if not impossible) travel conditions, and major power outages due to falling trees and power lines (due to the weight of the ice and winds of 10-20 mph).

Greatest risk of freezing rain and ice accumulation will be north of a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke.

The primary timing of the freezing rain will come from about 6:00 p.m. Wednesday through 12:00 noon Thursday. It is likely the precipitation will change to snow as it ends.

UNDERSTAND: This is still several days away, and this forecast can change dramatically; we could wind up with a cold rain and just a little light snow. But, confidence is increasing, and you might consider planning now for yet another winter weather event this week. We will keep you posted….

Mid-Week Winter Storm Update

| 6:28 am March 1, 2015

This is an update of the potential for a winter storm across North Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday… please understand this far out the forecast is subject to big changes, but model consistency has been very good and confidence is growing in this forecast. As always, I encourage you to read the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts.

TIMING: After a good rain/thunderstorm event and a cold front passage, cold air advection will bring Arctic air into Alabama Wednesday with falling temperatures during the day. The high will be reached Wednesday morning, and we should be in the 30s by late afternoon. Temperatures will go below freezing across North/Central Alabama in the 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. time frame, and winter weather issues are likely from then through Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

gfs_ptype_slp_ky_18

PRECIPITATION TYPE: Unfortunately, the cold air will be shallow, and a layer of warmer air aloft between 5,000 and 10,000 feet will most likely set the stage for freezing rain, followed by a change to sleet and snow as the event winds down Thursday morning as the cold air deepens. Below is a forecast sounding for Birmingham for late Wednesday night.

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Freezing rain is the worst kind of winter precipitation; that is simply rain in liquid form that falls when temperatures are below freezing.

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PLACEMENT: Current model data suggests the highest threat of freezing rain and icing issues will be along and north of I-20, but some impact is possible down to a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke by Thursday morning.

IMPACT: Where the freezing rain falls for a long duration (5-6 hours), this has the potential to be a high impact event. Even higher than the huge snow event that just happened last night (some had up to one foot of snow).Freezing rain coats exposed objects with ice, and the weight of the ice can bring down trees and power lines if the accumulation is great enough. At this early stage, we can’t forecast specific impact, but a significant ice storm is not out of the question with potential for power outages.

UNDERSTAND: This forecast can, and will change. Let’s hope we just have a cold rain, followed by a quick change to sleet and light snow and it ends with little impact. But, on the other hand, this could be a very high impact event for North, and maybe even parts of Central Alabama, Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Please check the blog often for updates as we get closer.

AND: Strong storms are possible before the cold air arrives Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, but poor lapse rates will limit instability and it doesn’t look like a major threat for now.

Brian will be along shortly with a new discussion and a Weather Xtreme video.

Watching Wed Night/Thursday

| 12:07 pm February 28, 2015

After a review of morning model runs, concern is growing up over another winter storm situation for Alabama Wednesday night into Thursday. It is very important to note that at this time confidence in any specific solution is low. Things could change dramatically over the next two days and we could wind up with simply a cold rain with no ice or snow issues at all. That is a very real possibility. 

However… It is possible that a significant winter weather event could unfold for parts of Alabama, if not much of the state.

Unfortunately, this model solution from the GFS suggests that much of the precipitation will fall in the form of freezing rain across North Alabama… If indeed this is the case, that could lead to an ice storm. Or, precipitation could fall mostly in the form of rain or snow. We just don’t know what this point; it is too early to tell.

But there is enough confidence now to simply put the idea on the table, and to let you know of the possibility of some winter weather problems for Alabama Wednesday night into Thursday. Let’s hope this all goes away and we just wind up with rain. We will keep you posted in coming days…

Warmer Days Ahead

| 3:34 pm February 27, 2015

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

THIS AFTERNOON: The sky has become sunny across the great state of Alabama; temperatures are mostly in the low 40s. The snow cover over North Alabama, while fading under the February sun, still shows nicely on visible satellite imagery this afternoon…

spann_2015-Feb-27

OUR WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be dry with a mix of sun and clouds; the high will be in the 52-55 degree range. Then, clouds increase Sunday, and we could see a little scattered light rain. Any rain Sunday should be light and spotty; a decent part of the day will be dry. The “wedge” could bring colder air into far East Alabama; communities near the Georgia border could hold in the 40s all day, but for the rest of the state the high will be in the 50s.

ACTIVE WEATHER NEXT WEEK: A cold front will be just north of the state Monday, and we will forecast occasional showers with a high at or just over 60 degrees. Then, on Tuesday, a deep surface low passes northwest of Alabama, and we will mention a chance of showers and storms for the northern half of the state. It will be a warm day with a high up in the low 70s… it still looks like the better risk of any severe thunderstorms will be north and west of Alabama.

WINTER WEATHER MISCHIEF? The 12Z GFS shows the cold front passing through Alabama Wednesday morning; the day will feature falling temperatures and periods of rain. And, like we really need this, it continues to hint at some potential for a “wintry mix” Wednesday night.

thu-12a

While this is not exactly “voodoo”, there is no way to resolve details of this potential so far in advance, and we might escape with no winter precipitation at all. We will keep a close eye on it over the weekend. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we will be in Hanceville next Tuesday evening. Just drop by anytime from 4:00 until 6:30… you can watch me do weather live on ABC 33/40, get some free stuff to take home, and have a chance to win several NOAA Weather Radios we will be giving away. If you need your weather radio programmed or checked, bring it by and we will be glad to help.

FS FIRST ALERT SCHEDULE MARCH 3

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 had great visits today at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County, and West Blocton Elementary in Bibb County… be looking for those kids on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 and 6:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted early Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates here tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Dry Through Tomorrow

| 6:26 am February 27, 2015

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

COLD, DRY FRIDAY: A secondary surge of colder air is moving into Alabama today; the high will be around 40, and many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 30s. We expect intervals of sunshine, and the day will be dry.

OUR WEEKEND: Saturday will be warmer; we will forecast a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the 52 to 55 degree range. Still below average (the average high for February 28 is 62)… but at least we are moving in the right direction. Sunday will be mostly cloudy day with a chance of scattered light rain as moisture returns. Nothing heavy or widespread, but no doubt some rain is possible during the day. Also, a CAD (cold air damming) setup could bring colder air into East Alabama; the high Sunday will vary from the mid 40s near the Georgia border to the upper 50s near the Mississippi border.

NEXT WEEK: The wedge breaks down Monday and our high will be close to 60. A cold front approaching from the north should bring occasional showers; maybe some thunder. Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week as an upper ridge creeps in here from the south; the GFS is now printing a high of 74 for Birmingham. A deep surface low will run through the Great Plains; we will need to monitor for the potential of strong/severe thunderstorms, but at the moment it looks like the best dynamic forcing will be a little north and west of our state. Best chance of showers/storms Tuesday will come over the northern counties; South Alabama will be dry thanks to the ridge, and communities south of Montgomery could very well approach 80 degrees.

The front creeps through Wednesday as the chance of rain continues; some global model runs have suggested a pretty good wave will run along the front, enhancing the coverage of rain. I figure rain amounts of 2 to 3 inches are likely Monday through Wednesday.

Much colder air returns Thursday; if you believe the 06Z GFS we won’t get of the 30s, and it even hints at some risk of wintry precipitation early in the day. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

KBHM_2015022700_min_max_16

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 have weather programs today at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County, and West Blocton Elementary in Bibb County… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!