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Moisture Levels Begin To Rise Tomorrow

| 3:33 pm July 30, 2014

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.

FINE SUMMER DAY: After record lows this morning (as cool as 50 degrees at Black Creek, near Gadsden), temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 80s across North/Central Alabama this afternoon. The sky is mostly sunny, and humidity levels remain low.

Temperatures

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: We are watching with interesting an MCV (mesoscale convective vortex) type feature on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border, moving southeast. The NAM has identified this feature, and moves rain into Northwest Alabama early tomorrow morning. The GFS model, however, remains rather dry and shows the rain mostly dissipating before reaching our state. Based on radar trends, I do think we will need to mention a chance of showers tomorrow, but the air over the state is relatively dry, so amounts should be mostly light and spotty. The high tomorrow will be in the mid 80s with a mix of sun and clouds.

Moisture levels will be deeper Friday, so scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: An axis of deeper moisture will be in place as the weekend begins, so for now Saturday looks like a day with more clouds than sun, and scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms along with a high in the low to mid 80s. Showers and storms are still possible Sunday, although they should thin out a bit with temperatures rising into the upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Confidence is low since there is not much consistency in model output; looks like we will need to continue to some of scattered showers and storms through at least the first half of the week, with daily highs between 87 and 90 degrees. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny weather tomorrow with only a small risk of a shower from Panama City west to Gulf Shores; the high will be in the upper 80s. Then, about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day Friday through Sunday with a daily possibility of scattered showers and storms.

TROPICAL WEATHER: The tropical wave in the Atlantic between Africa and the Lesser Antilles is still struggling; there is little deep convection this afternoon as it moves west/northwest. Seems like dry air surrounding the system, and wind shear is preventing it from becoming better organized. NHC has dropped the chance of development from 70 to 50 percent, and if anything can form in that region most likely it recurves before reaching the U.S. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps.

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 taking a little vacation time… my next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here Friday morning, August 8 by 7:30. Brian Peters will handle the videos tomorrow through August 7…

Record Lows Shattered Across Alabama

| 6:16 am July 30, 2014

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.

COOL JULY MORNING: Here is a look at observations at daybreak across Alabama…

Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 50
Jamestown (Cherokee County) 51
Fort Payne 52
Valley Head (DeKalb County) 52
Cottondale 52
Cullman 53
Jasper 54
Demopolis 54
Haleyville 54
Gadsden 55
Anniston 56
Jemison 56
Pleasant Grove 57
Auburn 57
Tuscaloosa 58
Birmingham Airport 58
Montgomery 59

New record lows have been established at all climate reporting sites in our state, and in Montgomery, the record for July 30 that stood for 125 years was shattered (their old record low was 66 set in 1889).

Today will be another delightful day, with ample sunshine and low humidity along with a high in the mid 80s.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Looks like most of the state will stay dry tomorrow with only a small risk of an afternoon shower, but scattered showers and storms will more likely Friday as moisture levels rise. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s both days.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A pretty decent pool of moisture will be in place, and with an upper trough axis to the west we expect scattered, perhaps numerous showers and thunderstorms over the weekend. The sky will be occasionally cloudy with highs generally in the mid 80s. The sun will be out at times, but if you have something planned outdoors, just be aware that you will have to dodge occasional showers.

Then, early next week, the air becomes drier across the state and showers become hard to find by Tuesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Lots of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores today and tomorrow; then we will bring in the risk of a few scattered storms Friday through Sunday, but even then you will see 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Highs on the coast will remain in the mid to upper 80s. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

TROPICAL WEATHER UPDATE: The well organized wave in the Atlantic, about half way between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles, is expected to become a tropical depression later today or tonight as it moves west/northwest. A good chance it will be Tropical Storm Bertha by Friday, but models continue to show a path of recurvature over the open Atlantic before it gets close to the U.S. See the Weather Xtreme video for the details.

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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 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Record Lows Early Tomorrow

| 3:48 pm July 29, 2014

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.

NICE PREVIEW OF AUTUMN: What a delightful afternoon across the great state of Alabama. Lots of sunshine, low humidity, and comfortable temperatures. Many communities north of Birmingham did not get out of the 70s with a fresh north breeze.

We are still look at a very cool night tonight for late July, with record lows likely early tomorrow…

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Most communities will enjoy a low between 57 and 61 degrees, with a few low to mid 50s over the northeast counties. Interesting to note that Montgomery should easily break a 125 year old record low for July 30.

The weather will remain very pleasant tomorrow with ample sunshine and low humidity.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Low level moisture will slowly return on these days. We will mention just a small risk of a shower Thursday afternoon, with a better chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

THE WEEKEND: The pool of moisture stays in place, and the chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue Saturday and Sunday with a mix of sun and clouds both days. The rain won’t be continuous over the weekend, but a shower could come at just about any hour, so make outdoor plans accordingly. Highs will remain generally in the 86-89 degree range.

Some evidence more dry air could drop into Alabama around Tuesday of next week with lower humidity levels by then. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Look for sunny weather along the Gulf Coast tomorrow and Thursday from Panama City west to Gulf Shores with highs in the mid to upper 80s. A few scattered showers and storms are possible Friday through the weekend, but you will still enjoy about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s.

TROPICAL UPDATE: A well organized wave over the Central Atlantic is expected to become a tropical depression tonight or tomorrow, and ultimately Tropical Storm Bertha. Late model data suggests Bertha will begin to weaken in 4-5 days as it begins to recurve into the open Atlantic, and for now this does not seem to be a threat to the U.S. mainland.

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 had a great time today visiting with the kids at Covenant Classical School in Pelham… 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…

More Like September

| 6:26 am July 29, 2014

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.

FALL PREVIEW: Sure feels good this morning with cooler, drier air in place. Fort Payne, Valley Head, and Russellville have all dropped to 59 degrees right at daybreak, with low to mid 60s in most other communities. The sky is clear, and the humidity is low.

In the core of the cool air up north, Ann Arbor, Michigan has dropped to 44 degrees early this morning. Quite a chill for late July.

Delightful weather will continue through tomorrow with sunny days, low humidity, and a cool night tonight. We figure most places will enjoy a low between 57 and 61 degrees early tomorrow, and many new record lows are likely across Alabama. Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 degrees, set in 1994.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moisture begins to return on these two days. We will mention the chance of a shower Thursday afternoon, and showers and thunderstorms are likely at times on Friday. Highs remain in the 80s; in fact some North Alabama communities might not get out of the 70s Friday due to clouds and showers.

OUR WEEKEND: Moist air will stay in place, so a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue Saturday and Sunday. The sky will be occasionally cloudy both days with highs in the 80s. The rain won’t be continuous, but if you have something planned outdoors this weekend be ready for a passing shower at any time.

The risk of scattered showers and storms will continue into early next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Sunshine in full supply today and tomorrow from Panama City over to Gulf Shores with highs in the 80s. A few scattered showers and storms will return Thursday through the weekend with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 83 degrees.

TROPICAL UPDATE: A well organized tropical wave in the Atlantic, between and coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles, should become a tropical depression soon, and ultimately Tropical Storm Bertha. The persistent upper trough over the eastern U.S. should force Bertha northward before impacting the U.S. mainland, and it doesn’t look like a threat to the Gulf of Mexico.

AL93_current

Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for 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. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

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I will be doing a weather program today for the kids at Covenant Classical School in Pelham… be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Turning Cooler Tonight

| 3:53 pm July 28, 2014

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.

COOLER AIR MOVING INTO NORTH ALABAMA: Temperatures are only in the low 80s over the northeast corner of Alabama this afternoon, and the dew point has dropped to 55 at Fort Payne, where they have a fresh north breeze gusting to 21 mph.

Temperatures

This cooler, drier air will keep moving southward tonight. And, to the south, along the cold front, strong to severe showers and thunderstorms have formed over South Alabama. A number of severe thunderstorm warnings have been posted for counties between Mobile and Montgomery… the main threat is from strong, gusty winds.

TOMORROW AND WEDNESDAY: What a nice fall preview. Low humidity levels, sunny days, cool nights. Highs in the mid 80s, and the low early Wednesday will be close to 60, with 50s for the cooler pockets. A number of new record lows are likely Wednesday (Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 set in 1994). It will feel more like late September instead of late July.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moisture returns, and we will mention the risk of an afternoon shower or thunderstorm Thursday. Scattered showers and storms are possible Friday with a mix of sun and clouds; highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A pool of low level moisture will be in place, so there will be a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday. Not a continuous kind of rain, but if you have something planned outdoors just understand a passing shower or storm is possible at just about anytime. The sky will be occasionally cloudy, and highs will hold in the mid to upper 80s.

Expect similar weather early next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and details.

TROPICS: A well organized tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic should become Tropical Storm Bertha later this week; most models recurve this into the open Atlantic before impacting the U.S. mainland.

GULF COAST WEATHER: A strong storm is likely in a number of spots along the coast tonight from Panama City to Gulf Shores… then beautiful weather tomorrow and Wednesday with sunny days and fair nights. Then, Thursday through the weekend, about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day with a few scattered showers and storms. Highs will remain mostly in the mid to upper 80s along the coast, and sea water temperatures are in the mid 80s in most places.

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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I enjoyed seeing the kids in the Alabaster City Schools summer program today at Meadow View 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….

Heat Relief On The Way

| 6:12 am July 28, 2014

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.

RADAR CHECK: A few isolated showers are in progress across Alabama early this morning at daybreak from Tuscaloosa to Calera… these are moving southeast ahead of a push of cooler, drier air that is entering the far northern part of the state.

The drier air will win the battle, and later today showers and storms will be confined to the southern half of Alabama, south of U.S. 80. In fact, SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather up for parts of South Alabama this afternoon and early tonight; strong winds will be the main threat.

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FALL PREVIEW: Our weather will be delightful tonight through Thursday, with sunny days, clear cool nights, and low humidity levels. Highs in the mid 80s, lows dropping into the 57-61 degree range by early Wednesday. Birmingham’s record low for Wednesday morning (July 30) is 61 set in 1994… a good chance that record falls.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Moist air returns to the state. A few scattered showers could break out Friday, and we will have the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday. Not to say it will be a totally wet weekend, but keep in mind a passing shower or storm will be possible, especially during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will remain in the 80s as a broad upper trough persists over the eastern half of the nation.

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

GULF COAST WEATHER: A passing strong storm is possible late this afternoon or tonight along the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores, then beautiful weather tomorrow through Thursday with sunny days and fair nights. A few scattered storms will return late this weekend and over the weekend, but you will still get about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 86 degrees.

TROPICS: A tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic has some chance of gradual development in coming days as it moves west/northwest. Most tropical models have the system near the Leeward Islands in about five days… out in the longer range the GFS model hints this will recurve before impacting the U.S. mainland. If this becomes a tropical storm, the name will be Bertha. Details on the Weather Xtreme video.

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 8:30p 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 speaking to students in the summer program at Meadow View Elementary in Alabaster this morning (and also to the teachers after the kid program)… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

“Warnings” – A Review

| 6:16 pm July 26, 2014

Most of you know I work a pretty long day… up before 5 a.m… not home until around midnight. My passion for weather keeps me going and energized. Unfortunately the long hours prevents me from reading many books, but I was able to finish “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” by my friend Mike Smith this month.

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For those that love weather, this is one of those books that is hard to put down. Not only is it a history of the severe weather warning system in the United States, it also weaves in the personal story of Mike’s long career.

Most of us in applied meteorology had some event in our childhood that triggered a deep interest in weather. For Mike, it was the Ruskin Heights tornado on May 20, 1957, just south of Kansas City, that was rated EF-5, and would kill 44 people that Monday evening. There were no tornado warnings in 1957; the U.S. Weather Bureau had a fear that that would set off a panic if they even mentioned the immediate threat of a tornado. Mike describes watching news cut-ins during “I Love Lucy” on WDAF as reports came into their newsroom.

The book goes on to tell the story of the first operational tornado forecast had been issued by Air Force Officers E. J. Fawbush and R. C. Miller at Tinker Air Force Base in 1948. These men laid the foundation for the current watch and warning system in use today.

There are many case studies in Mike’s book; one of great interest to me is the mircoburst of August 2, 1985 that downed Delta Flight 191, a regularly scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Florida to Los Angeles International Airport, California, by way of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The crash came on the ground of DFW Airport in Texas; I happened to be the chief meteorologist for the CBS station in Dallas at the time, KDFW-TV, Channel 4. The plane went down during the first few minutes of our 6:00 news that evening, and soon it become pretty clear the big thunderstorm near DFW was responsible for the crash, which would kill 137 people.

Guess I can admit it now, but watching the live news coverage of the crash that night on our competing station, WFAA-TV, had a big impact on me, and inspired me to do long form coverage during tornadoes later in my career when it was allowed by management. Channel 8 did such a good job that night.

Mike also look at the warning process for Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in deep detail… what went right, and what went wrong. It is especially interesting to read the chapter “Murder by Bureaucracy” concerning Katrina.

I do believe you need to know where you have been to have a better understanding of where you are going. This history of severe weather warnings in this nation is a very important story for all of us, and Mike did a masterful job of telling it. I encourage all in the weather enterprise, and those interested in weather, to get a copy. It is a very good read.

Hot Weekend; Much Cooler Next Week

| 3:35 pm July 25, 2014

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

HEAT LEVELS RISING: Showers, as expected, are confined to the southern half of Alabama today. The northern counties are dry, with temperatures generally in the 88-92 degree range.

The heat will crank up a notch over the weekend; we project highs in the 91-94 degree range both days with a partly sunny sky. Any showers will be few and far between, and mostly over the southern half of the state. The combination of heat and humidity will make it pretty uncomfortable.

BUT… Another big change next week. A cold front moves through Monday with some risk of a passing shower or storm, followed by a cooler, drier airmass Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday look delightful with sunny days, clear cooler nights, and lower humidity levels. The low early Wednesday morning will be close to 60 degrees, right at record levels for late July in Alabama.

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GULF COAST WEATHER: A good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores through early next week with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and sea water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

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 speaking at the ALAGASCO service center over in Anniston today… 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!