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James Spann

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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One More Dry Day For Alabama

| 3:43 pm August 27, 2015

ANOTHER PLEASANT AUGUST DAY: With a good supply of sunshine, temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s across the great state of Alabama this afternoon, and again there is no rain on radar. Today is the 12th consecutive day with a high under 90 (at Birmingham), and fourth consecutive day with no rain.

We stay dry tomorrow… the sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a high close to 90 in most places.

THE WEEKEND: Moisture levels will rise, and we will mention the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, expect a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the mid 80s. Chance of any one spot getting wet both days is about one in three; best chance of showers will come during the afternoon and evening hours, but we can’t rule out a late night or morning shower as well.

NEXT WEEK: While eyes will be on potential Hurricane Erika just off the South Atlantic Coast of the U.S., our weather looks relatively quiet, with partly sunny days, fair nights, and only widely scattered showers. Highs next week will be in the 88 to 91 degree range, about average for the end of August in Alabama.

CHALLENING TROPICAL FORECAST: We have more questions than answers with Tropical Storm Erika this afternoon. Convection is now displaced well to the east of the circulation center due to wind shear, and NHC estimates maximum sustained winds at 45 mph. Also, the center has reformed farther to the south, putting computer model data into question due to poor initialization.

vis_lalo-animated-5

Strengthening is not expected for the next three days due to shear, and interaction with Hispaniola. In fact, it is not totally out of the question that Erika dissipates like Danny last week. But, there is a pretty good chance it survives, and conditions will favor strengthening by Sunday and Monday. The official NHC track has been adjusted slightly to the left, putting Erika near the Florida Atlantic Coast Monday as a category one hurricane.

173438W5_NL_sm

Odds are still high this won’t be a Gulf of Mexico storm, but the chance is not zero. Overall forecast confidence is low, and expect changes in coming days. Everyone from the Florida Peninsula up to the North Carolina Outer Banks will need to keep an eye on this one.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny weather continues tomorrow from Gulf Shores west to Panama City Beach; then for the weekend expect about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine both days with potential for a few scattered thunderstorms. A little too early for a specific Labor Day weekend forecast, but at the moment we don’t see anything that would suggest significant problems.

See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

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 have a special Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary special 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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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Slow Warming Trend Ahead

| 6:19 am August 27, 2015

SLOW WARM-UP: Another delightful morning; Vic Bell up at Black Creek reports 54 degrees, many of the cooler pockets across North Alabama are between 53 and 58 for another nice taste of fall. Expect another sunny day today with a high in the mid 80s; the humidity will stay low. We stay dry tomorrow with a high in the upper 80s, and a few spots could touch 90. Keep in mind today is the 12th consecutive day with a high below 90 degrees in Birmingham.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture levels rise, and we will need to mention a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms both days. Not a wash-out, but keep in mind you will have to dodge an occasional passing shower or storm Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, days will feature a mix of sun and clouds with highs in the mid 80s.

NEXT WEEK: A decent chance we get into the subsidence ring surrounding what should be Hurricane Erika, meaning showers will be few and far between. Partly sunny days, fair nights, and highs in the 87 to 90 degree range most afternoons.

ERIKA: The tropical storm near the Leeward Islands is getting stronger and better organized this morning; maximum sustained winds are now estimated to be 50 mph.

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The system is expected to move through the Bahamas over the weekend, then reaching hurricane strength just off the Florida Atlantic Coast Monday.

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It is important to note that this forecast track can, and probably will change, so all interests in the Florida Peninsula up through the coast of the Carolinas need to keep a close eye on this. We are very confident this will not be a Gulf of Mexico storm, and there will be no direct impact on Alabama (we stay on the dry side). See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Mostly sunny weather continues today and tomorrow along the coast from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores with only a slight risk of a shower. Then, for the weekend, about 6 to 8 hours of sun Saturday and Sunday with a passing storm possible from time to time. Highs on the coast will stay in the 80s, and sea water temperatures remain mostly in the mid 80s.

Erika will have no impact on the Central Gulf Coast. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

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 a special on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina 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 will be the emcee of a fundraiser today for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Birmingham… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Humidity Levels Rise Late This Week

| 3:32 pm August 26, 2015

AS NICE AS IT GETS: Feels more like early October across Alabama today; a sunny sky, low humidity, and temperatures about 10 degrees below average. Some spots, like Cullman and Haleyville, didn’t get out of the 70s today, with low 80s for Birmingham.

Tonight will be very pleasant with a clear sky; we will forecast a low near 60 early tomorrow, but cooler pockets will easily visit the 50s again.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Mostly sunny weather continues with a slow warming trend; we expect a high in the mid 80s tomorrow, and upper 80s Friday. Humidity levels will begin to rise Friday making it feel more like August again.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture will continue to increase from the east, and we will forecast a mix of sun and clouds Saturday and Sunday with some risk of scattered showers and storms. The best chance of showers will come during the afternoon and evening hours, and the highest coverage should be on the eastern side of the state. Afternoon highs over the weekend will be mostly in the upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Looks fairly quiet; just a few widely scattered showers each afternoon, with partly sunny days and highs close to 90 degrees. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

EYES ON ERIKA: Tropical Storm Erika is packing sustained winds of 45 mph this afternoon as it approaches the northern Leeward Islands. It will move over Puerto Rico tomorrow with potential for beneficial rain, and then on to the Bahamas Friday and Saturday. The system is expected to remain a tropical storm through Sunday, but a number of computer models indicate the chance of strengthening after passing longitude 75W.

The official forecast from NHC brings Erika into Southeast Florida, not too far from Miami, Monday morning as a category one hurricane.

174619W5_NL_sm

We do note the 18Z models have shifted a bit to the right, and there is a real chance that Erika could turn northward before making landfall in Florida.

AL05_current

There remains a good bit of uncertainty in the forecast, but those that live in the Florida Peninsula need to keep up with the latest forecasts. It is unlikely that Erika gets into the Gulf of Mexico, but we can’t totally rule that out. Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for maps and graphics.

AT THE BEACH: Very nice weather continues with mostly sunny days and fair nights on the Gulf Coast from Gulf Shores west to Panama City Beach through the weekend… just a few isolated storms around. Highs will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

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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Instagram

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

Feels Like October

| 6:30 am August 26, 2015

REFRESHING MORNING: Here are some temperatures across the great state of Alabama at daybreak…

Fort Payne 50
Valley Head 50
Black Creek 51
Cullman 52
Sycamore 53
Concord 54
Anniston 56
Fayette 56
Center Point & Helena 57
Birmingham 59
Tuscaloosa 61

Tuscaloosa’s official low was 59 this morning, which ties the record low for August 26, set in 1966.

Expect another delightful day, with a sunny sky, low humidity, and below average temperatures. The high today will be in the low to mid 80s.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: We stay dry with ample sunshine both days and a slow warming trend; we will see a high by Friday in the 87 to 90 degree range.

THE WEEKEND: Moisture will slowly increase from the east, and we will mention some risk of scattered showers Saturday and Sunday. Best chance of a shower will come over the eastern half of the state, and highs will remain in the 87 to 90 degree range. Not rainy weekend at all, but just understand a passing shower is possible from time to time, especially east of I-65.

NEXT WEEK: The weather looks relatively quiet; any showers during the week should be widely scattered, and afternoons will be hotter with highs close to 90 degrees as we begin meteorological fall Tuesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

ERIKA: The tropical storm in the Atlantic will move over the northern Leeward Islands tonight, and should bring beneficial rain to Puerto Rico tomorrow. The system is weak and not well organized; maximum sustained winds are only 40 mph this morning.

Erika is fighting the same environmental setup Danny dealt with last week; dry air and shear. If the system survives, conditions will be much more favorable for strengthening late this weekend as Erika moves through the Bahamas, and NHC brings it up to hurricane strength Sunday night as it nears Southeast Florida…

083850W5_NL_sm

It is important note that steering currents will be weak in five days, and this forecast could change easily in coming days. Here is a look at the GEFS ensemble guidance. The mean is the line with the black boxes…

gefs_AL05_current

Note some members take Erika in to the far eastern Gulf of Mexico, while others recurve the system before reaching the U.S. It is simply too early to make a call on the final destination, and the potential impact on Florida and the U.S. mainland. But, those that live in the Florida Peninsula will need to keep a very close eye on Erika in coming days, and keep up with the latest forecasts.

The rest of the Atlantic basin is quiet.

AT THE BEACH: The Central Gulf Coast looks good through the weekend, with mostly sunny days, fair nights, and only isolated showers or storms. Highs on the coast will be in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

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.

I will be doing a safety program for ALAGASCO employees in Anniston today… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Weather Apps And Other Things

| 5:00 pm August 25, 2015

I think most of you know by now the “James Spann 24/7” weather app is in the process of being replaced by a new app that will be offered by ABC 33/40; this will have all the functionality of the old app, along with our news and sports content. Basically a “one stop shop” so you don’t have to have multiple apps on your phone or tablet.

The new app is not available yet, but hopefully it will hit the app stores within the next 7 days. Of course, it will be free.

I was very excited to offer the “James Spann 24/7” app since it was all human powered. Real weather discussion written by real meteorologists that explain the weather. It basically offered all of my products and services on one place. These blog posts, the Weather Xtreme video, WeatherBrains, and much more. All of these elements will be in the new app… thanks for your patience.

Some so many of you are asking about weather sources, apps, etc these days… here are some thoughts that might help.

WEATHER INFORMATION IS A COMMODITY: You can get a weather forecast anywhere these days. I have seen weather forecasts on everything from furniture store apps to political candidate web sites. Weather apps by the thousands are available on your “app store”, and most of them don’t cost a dime. While this sounds great, the problem is accuracy and dependability.

The stock weather app on your phone, and almost all other weather apps and web sites, generate automated forecasts using raw computer “model output statistics”. Not one professional meteorologist (and, in most cases, not one human) reviews the forecasts before they are made available. And, boy, can these automated forecasts steer you wrong.

Here is a screen grab from a weather app earlier this summer…

tuscsources_2015-Jul-05

And, most of these “forecasts” show a nice little icon of the weather (sun, storm, clouds, etc), and three numbers. High, low, and “probability of precipitation”. While this works on some days, on really active weather days it is of no help. You have no idea if there is a severe weather threat, the amount of rain or precipitation expected, timing, and placement.

Many of you know our frustration, and we often call these “crap apps”. Trust me, I fully understand very few people wait on the television news to come on to get a weather update, and I am delighted to offer round the clock weather products at your convenience. No, I don’t get much sleep, but it is a delight to be able to offer weather products and services at all hours of the day and night since that is my passion in life.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: You need to get weather information from a source that offers content put together by a real meteorologist, that understands the people, culture, and geography of your home state. A written discussion that goes beyond the little cartoon pictures of weather, that is updated frequently. And, preferably a video that explains what to expect and doesn’t treat you like an idiot. If you app features videos that tell you to go into an air conditioned room during hot weather, you might look elsewhere.

RECOMMENDED SOURCES/APPS: So, what apps do I need? Which ones are reliable? Here are some suggestions…

THIS BLOG: If you are reading this, then we are preaching to the choir. The Alabamawx.com blog is unique, and a strong source for Alabama weather information. Yes, we get it wrong sometimes. But, our short term (48 hour) accuracy is in the 92-95 percent category. And, when I miss the big one, I am open and honest.

There are seven meteorologists who write here, with over 100 years combined weather experience in Alabama. The Weather Xtreme video is posted twice daily weekdays, and once daily weekends.

If you live outside Alabama…. do your best to find a similar source.

ABC 33/40 APP: When the new version is released, you should be able to get all of our human powered weather information there, including blog posts and the Weather Xtreme video. It will be free, and available on iOS and Android. I will let you know when it is released into the wild.

WARNING APPS: Getting severe weather warnings is extremely important. Yes, the built in “WEA”… or wireless emergency alert system seems to work well for flash flood and tornado warnings, but we really don’t know how that works, and we really don’t know the reliability. My favorite warnings apps are “WeatherRadio by WDT”, and “MyWarn”. I have no financial interest in either app, and they both work very well. Your generic, free weather app won’t do this well.

RADAR APP: RadarScope is the winner by far. They offer a version for iOS, Android, and OS X (Apple computers). And, you can get radar with this on your Apple Watch. And yes, I love it. And, over on the Windows side, the Gibson Ridge radar software is excellent.

LIGHTNING APP: I use BoltMeter, but for some reason that is not available now within the US app stores. I have purchased the lightning add-on within “WeatherRadio by WDT” which offers real time lightning data, and alerts are well. This is a critical function for outdoor events, especially on summer afternoons. RadarScope offers real time lightning data as well for a small price.

Have suggestions? List them in the comment section.

The one thing I try and do is be available to answer your weather questions. I don’t have a 15 minute chat session we advertise on TV… I am around most hours of the day and night. Best way of getting me is social media…

Facebook
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My personal email is here… and I respond quickly. The only thing I don’t do is a phone call; I have not answered my work phone since 1998. Too much time consumption.

Your pictures and reports are so helpful, and I thank all for engaging with me in the new digital world. And again, I will let you know the minute the new ABC 33/40 app is available…

Cool Summer Night Ahead

| 3:42 pm August 25, 2015

FALL PREVIEW: What a delightful day; this is as nice as it gets in August in Alabama. Blue sky, sunshine, low humidity, and excellent visibility. Temperatures are in the low to mid 80s, and not a single shower in the entire state.

Photo below is from @objectivityrach, taken this afternoon in downtown Birmingham.

ObjectivityRach_2015-Aug-25

Many communities will drop into the 50s early tomorrow for a very nice taste of fall; Birmingham’s record low for August 26 is 55 set in 1966… we will probably miss it be a couple of degrees.

REST OF THE WEEK: We stay dry through Friday, with sunny days and clear pleasant nights. Highs hold in the mid 80s tomorrow and Thursday, followed by upper 80s Friday. Humidity levels will also begin to creep up by the end of the week; we all know that “sticky” feeling will be back.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Most of the state should stay dry Saturday, although a few showers could show up near the Georgia border, over the far eastern side of the state, where moisture levels will rise. Then, there will be risk of scattered showers statewide Sunday with a mix of sun and clouds. Highs over the weekend will be in the 87 to 90 degree range.

Today is the 10th consecutive day with a high under 90 degrees for Birmingham… will be interesting to see if we can finally rise back to 90 at some point over the weekend.

NEXT WEEK: Some risk of widely scattered showers during the first half of the week, otherwise partly sunny days with a high close to 90; see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Mostly sunny days and fair nights with only isolated showers from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores through the weekend. Highs in the upper 80s on the coast, with sea water temperatures in the mid 80s. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.

TOPIC: TROPICS: Tropical Storm Erika is packing sustained winds of 45 mph, and will be near the northern Leeward Islands Thursday. A decent chance this becomes a hurricane over the Bahamas early next week; it remains to be seen if this will impact the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Just too early to call for now.

173521W5_NL_sm

gefs_AL05_current

For now odds are low that this will be a Gulf of Mexico storm.

Elsewhere, a tropical wave will emerge off the coast of Africa tomorrow, and some slow development is possible over the next few days.

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…