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On This Date 42 Years Ago

| 6:32 am May 27, 2015

On Sunday night, May 27, 1973, I saw serious tornado damage for the first time in my life, and it changed my life. The sights and sounds are still fresh in my mind; almost like it happened yesterday.

I was wrapping up my junior year at Tuscaloosa High School, and on that Sunday night we received a call for help from our friends in Bibb County. A tornado had gone right through the center of Brent, and amateur radio operators from Tuscaloosa were needed to establish communication with relief agencies in Birmingham and other places. Remember, there were no cell phones in 1973, and this was an urgent need. I arrived with a group from Tuscaloosa within one hour of the tornado, and we were all stunned at what we saw. Eerie darkness, an odd odor (many people that have experienced call it the “smell of death”), roads blocked by trees, and debris everywhere. I wound up coming back the next morning, and stayed in Centreville (adjacent to Brent) handling communication from a church.

Down in Brent, a total of 5 people died in the storm, including Andrew Mitchell, who was attending evening worship services at the Brent Baptist Church, which was destroyed. Many more were injured, and town was just about wiped out by the EF-4 twister. That was actually just a segment of the damage; the tornado first touched down just northeast of Demopolis, and went through Greensboro, where one person was killed and 72 injured. It continued northeast, and took out the old National Weather Service radar site on Alabama Highway 25 before striking downtown Brent. The crew at the radar site had to take cover in the ditch across the street.

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From Brent, the path continued near Montevallo and Childersburg, before it finally lifted on the western slope of Mount Cheaha in East Alabama. A total of 216 buildings were destroyed, 570 buildings were damaged, 97 mobile homes were destroyed, and 45 businesses were damaged or destroyed. More than 12,000 acres of timber was destroyed. It was a storm I will never forget, even though it happened 42 years ago.

We should note an EF-3 tornado that same day impacted a Tarrant-Center Point-Springville-St Clair Springs-Ashville-Gadsden path. Heavy damage occurred in Center Point where 32 homes and 48 mobile homes were destroyed. Over 300 homes were damaged. One person was killed by that storm.

This came at the tail end of the spring tornado season; a reminder we can have a strong/violent tornado in late May in Alabama.

This great site from John Brasher has more details about the situation in Brent.

Showers/Storms Develop Later Today

| 6:11 am May 27, 2015

AT DAYBREAK: It is a quiet late May morning across the great state of Alabama; nothing on radar… the sky is mostly cloudy, and temperatures are mostly in the 65 to 70 degree range. The high resolution HRRR model suggests the best chance of rain today will come this afternoon with a band of showers and storms passing through.

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SPC has all of the state in a “marginal” risk of severe weather today… a few of the afternoon storms could produce gusty winds and brief heavy rain, but organized severe weather isn’t likely.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Showers and storms remain possible, but they should be more scattered in nature, and mostly during the afternoon and evening hours. Otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds both days with a high up in the low to mid 80s.

THE WEEKEND: No real change… a moist airmass stays in place, but not much dynamic forcing for rain. So, we will deal with “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday with a partly sunny sky both days. Highs will be in the mid 80s, right at average levels for the end of May in Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: Monday marks the beginning of meteorological summer, and is also the first day of the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. Looks like the weather will be very routine for the week with warm, humid weather continuing along with some risk of scattered showers and storms on a daily basis. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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AT THE BEACH: About 6 to 8 hours of sunshine today with a passing shower or storm possible from Panama City west to Gulf Shores. Then, 7 to 9 hours of sun daily tomorrow through the weekend with widely scattered showers and storms. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the low 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 78 degrees.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES: We have Alabama and Auburn playing in Oklahoma City in the tournament that begins tomorrow; if you are headed that way understand showers and storms are possible on a daily basis, and rain delays are certainly possible, if not likely. The weather will be mostly rain-free by Sunday, however. Highs will be mostly in the mid to upper 70s.

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 will be speaking at UAB’s Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety this morning, and at Hueytown Baptist Church tonight between newscasts. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Unsettled Weather Continues Tomorrow

| 3:25 pm May 26, 2015

RADAR CHECK: Some light rain lingers over East Alabama this afternoon, but the stronger storms are now over Georgia. The sky is mostly cloudy, and temperatures are mostly in the mid to upper 70s.

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TOMORROW: Showers and storms remain possible, but it won’t rain all day, and the sun could peek out at times. We note SPC has much of the state in a “marginal” severe weather threat, but like today the overall chance of severe storms looks small. We should rise into the low 80s tomorrow afternoon.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Showers become fewer in number and more scattered… and mostly during the afternoon and evening hours. Otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds both days with a high in the low to mid 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Very routine weather for late May; partly sunny, warm, and humid days with the risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening” showers and thunderstorms. Chance of any one spot getting wet each day is about one in four, and highs will be in the mid 80s, right at seasonal levels. And, we stay in that pattern into the first few days of June.

AT THE BEACH: We project about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day tomorrow through the weekend, with the daily risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms (very routine for summer). Highs will remain in the low 80s on the immediate coast; the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 79 degrees.

If you missed it, a waterspout developed just off the Alabama Gulf Coast this morning around 8:15… this photo is from @yankeemikep

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WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Both Auburn and Alabama are playing in Oklahoma City later this week and over the weekend; showers and thunderstorms are likely on a daily basis Thursday through Saturday, so expect rain delays. Showers thin out a bit Sunday; highs will be in the 77-81 degree range most days. Some flooding issues are not out of the question since the soil there is totally saturated.

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…

More Rain/Storms For Alabama Today

| 6:16 am May 26, 2015

RADAR CHECK: The band of severe storms that brought serious flooding and some wind damage to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana last night, as expected, has been steadily weakening early this morning, and is entering West Alabama as I write this around sunrise.

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We will forecast a good chance of rain and thunderstorms for all of Alabama again today, and we remain unimpressed with the severe weather threat. SPC has dropped the “slight risk” for our state, and we are now just in a “marginal risk” through tonight. Wind fields are weak, and overall severe weather parameters are low. But, a few strong storms are possible later with gusty winds and heavy rain.

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Rain tapers off from west to east this afternoon; many communities won’t get out of the 70s again today because of clouds and rain.

TOMORROW: Another fairly wet day with a deep moisture axis in place; we expect scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms with a high in the low 80s. SPC has a “marginal” risk of severe weather in place for much of Alabama.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Showers and storms become more scattered in nature, and will happen mostly during the afternoon and evening hours as the air aloft become warmer. Expect a mix of sun and clouds both days with a high in the low to mid 80s.

THE WEEKEND: Not much change. Partly sunny, warm, and humid Saturday and Sunday with the usual risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. Highs over the weekend will be generally in the 83 to 86 degree range, right at seasonal levels for late May in Alabama.

And, no real change is expected into early next week as June begins. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Occasionally cloudy today from Panama City over to Gulf Shores with a few showers and storms likely, then about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day tomorrow through the weekend, with the daily risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms (very routine for summer). Highs will remain in the low 80s on the immediate coast; the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 79 degrees.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Both Auburn and Alabama are playing in Oklahoma City later this week and over the weekend; showers and thunderstorms are likely on a daily basis Thursday through Saturday, so expect rain delays. Showers thin out a bit Sunday; highs will be in the 77-81 degree range most days. Some flooding issues are not out of the question since the soil there is totally saturated.

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. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night as we remember J.B. Elliott, the great American weather legend that passed away earlier this month.

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

Occasional Showers/Storms

| 3:46 pm May 25, 2015

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today; we will resume the “two a day” schedule tomorrow**

RADAR CHECK: The stronger storms have shifted into East Alabama this afternoon…

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Storms in East Alabama are not severe, but they are producing a good bit of lighting and heavy rain as they move east. A few passing showers and storms remain possible through the night across our state as moist air stays in place.

TOMORROW: SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe weather for a decent part of North and Central Alabama, with a “marginal risk” all the way down to the coast…

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It remains to be seen if some of the high surface based instability forecasts can be reached; clouds could very well be locked in place much of the day, limiting the buoyancy of the atmosphere. Wind fields are not especially strong, so for the moment we remain rather unimpressed with the overall severe weather threat tomorrow, but if the sun breaks out during the morning, things could get active during the afternoon and evening hours. The rain tomorrow would be heavy at times, and some localized flash flooding issues are certainly possible.

WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: While showers and storms remain possible on these three days, they should be more scattered in nature, and mostly during the afternoon and evening hours. The sun will break out at times, and the high will be in the mid 80s.

THE WEEKEND: Pretty much the same story for Saturday and Sunday… a mix of sun and clouds both days with the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will remain mostly in the mid 80s. Same setup for early next week.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 3 to 5 hours of sunshine tomorrow with a few passing showers and storms likely from Panama City west to Gulf Shores, but then 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily from Wednesday through the weekend with only widely scattered showers and thunderstorms each day. Highs will remain in the low 80s, and sea water temperatures are also generally in the low 80s.

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.

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

Wet Weather Pattern Returns

| 7:00 am May 25, 2015

PATTERN CHANGE: After only about a third of an inch of rain for the entire month of May, showers/storms returned late yesterday afternoon, soaking parts of Central Alabama with over one inch. And, that moist air will stick around for a while with an upper trough to the west, meaning a good chance of occasional showers and storms.

In fact, it is raining early this Memorial Day over parts of West Alabama…

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We might hold in the 70s all day today due to clouds and occasional showers. While a strong storm is possible this afternoon, organized severe weather is not expected through tonight.

TOMORROW: SPC has defined the standard “slight” severe weather risk of much of North and Central Alabama, with a “marginal” risk for the entire state…

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No doubt we will deal with showers and storms at times tomorrow, there are really more questions than answers about severe weather. On the positive side for severe storms, the high resolution (4km) NAM ramps up surface based instability values over West Alabama to around 4,000 j/kg tomorrow afternoon. Not sure this is realistic since we will probably have clouds over the state much of the state. Higher storm relative helicity values are over the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama, but overall wind fields look weak, and I am less than impressed with the risk of organized severe weather.

WEDNESDAY: Not much change; moist air, upper trough to the west, so the sky will be mostly cloudy with occasional showers or storms… the high will be in the low 80s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Showers and storms should begin to thin out on these days, with the better chance during the afternoon and evening hours. Otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds both days with a high up in the mid 80s.

THE WEEKEND: The last weekend of May looks pretty routine for this time of the year; partly sunny, warm days with the risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs Saturday and Sunday will remain mostly in the mid 80s. The same pattern continues next week as June begins.

AT THE BEACH: About 3 to 5 hours of sunshine from Panama City over to Gulf Shores today and tomorrow with a few passing showers and storms likely. Then, 8 to 10 hours of sunshine each day Wednesday through the weekend, with just a few widely scattered showers and storms around each day. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the low 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 78 degrees.

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.

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Just one Weather Xtreme video today as we are on a holiday schedule, but I will post fresh forecast notes later this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Warmer Temperatures This Weekend

| 3:33 pm May 22, 2015

COBALT BLUE SKY: Again today, the weather feels more like October across the great state of Alabama, with a deep blue sky and bright sunshine. The humidity is low, and temperatures are in the 70s. Tonight will be clear and cool; most communities will see a low in the low to mid 50s early tomorrow, but colder pockets could visit the 40s again.

THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: The weather stays dry tomorrow and Sunday, but afternoons will be warmer, and humidity levels will slowly creep up. Look for mid 80s both afternoons with a good supply of sunshine through scattered clouds.

Then, on Monday, moisture levels rise, and we will bring in the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms, most likely during the afternoon and evening hours. Otherwise, expect a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the low 80s.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: Not much change; warm and humid days with the risk of scattered showers and storms each day along with highs in the 80s. The 12Z GFS does trend drier Thursday and Friday of next week as the upper ridge grows stronger, with showers becoming more widely spaced. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

SEC BASEBALL: The weather could not be better for the rest of the tournament at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium this weekend; no rain through Sunday with mostly sunny days and fair nights. A jacket or sweater will be a good idea tonight with temperatures falling through the 60s, but it will be warmer tomorrow and Sunday with afternoon temperatures in the 80s.

AT THE BEACH: Expect a sunny sky tomorrow from Panama City west to Gulf Shores with a high in the low 80s; then about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine Sunday, and on through all of next week with only widely scattered showers or thunderstorms. Afternoon temperatures on the immediate coast will continue to peak in the low 80s, and the sea water temperature this afternoon at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 78 degrees.

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(Gulf Shores photo today from @cait_hunn)

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 my next Weather Xtreme video here Monday morning by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Dry Weather Through Sunday

| 6:11 am May 22, 2015

MAY, OR OCTOBER? Many communities are in the 40s to begin this late May day… some pre-dawn temperatures:

Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 42
Fort Payne 43
Valley Head 43
Cullman 46
Haleyville 46
Concord 47
Center Point 48
Birmingham 49
Tuscaloosa 49
Anniston 59

The weather will be delightful day, with sunshine in full supply and a high in the mid 70s. Humidity levels will remain very low.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: We stay dry through Sunday; temperatures will be warmer tomorrow and Sunday with highs back in the mid 80s… and the sky will be partly to mostly sunny both days. Then, on Monday, moist air returns, and we will bring back the chance of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms” with a mix of sun and clouds.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: Warm, humid weather is the story, and each day there will be a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Otherwise, partly sunny days with highs in the 80s. Pretty much what you expect at the end of May in Alabama.

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SEC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: No rain through Sunday at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium… mostly sunny days and fair nights. The high today will be in the 70s, with 80s returning tomorrow and Sunday. It will be cool again tonight; a light jacket or sweater is not a bad idea.

AT THE BEACH: Mostly sunny along the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores today and tomorrow, then about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine Sunday through all of next week, with the daily risk of widely scattered showers or thunderstorms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the low 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 80 degrees.

RAIN UPDATE: Birmingham’s surplus for the year is down to 1.07″. The total since January 1 is 23.49″, and we have measured only 0.32″ for the entire month of May.

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!