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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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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…

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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.

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

Nice Touch Of Fall

| 6:29 am August 25, 2015

COOL AUGUST MORNING: Temperatures have dropped into the 50s over the northern third of Alabama early this morning…

Temperatures

Today promises to be a delightful day for August, with a good supply of sunshine, lower humidity, and below average temperatures. Most communities will see a high in the mid 80s today, places around the Tennessee border might hold in the 70s all day despite a sunny sky.

TONIGHT: It will be the coolest night of the week, we project upper 50s as far south as Birmingham, and some of the cooler pockets across North Alabama could see low to mid 50s. Birmingham’s record low for August 26 is 55 degrees set in 1966… we probably won’t break that, but we will be close.

REST OF THE WEEK: We stay dry tomorrow through Friday, with sunny days, and clear pleasant nights. Dry air means no afternoon showers; highs will be in the mid 80s tomorrow and Thursday, upper 80s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture will begin to creep into the state from the east. While most of Alabama will be dry Saturday, we will mention some risk of a shower near the Georgia border. Then, on Sunday, there will be some risk of scattered showers statewide with a few cloudy periods. Highs over the weekend will be in the 87 to 90 degree range.

Birmingham has now gone 9 consecutive days with a high below 90 degrees, and that streak continues at least through Friday.

NEXT WEEK: A few scattered, mostly afternoon showers are possible early in the week, with a high close to 90 degrees as we begin meteorological fall Tuesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Mostly sunny days, fair nights through the weekend with only isolated storms around from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores. Highs in the upper 80s, 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.

ERIKA IS ON THE BOARD: Tropical Storm Erika will move west/northwest in coming days, with the chance of the system becoming a category one hurricane by the time it reaches the Southeast Bahamas this weekend.

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Long range ensemble guidance suggests the most likely scenario is that Erika recurves just off the East Coast of the U.S…. but understand that is not a lock at this stage of the game.

gefs_AL05_current

One way or another this doesn’t look like a Gulf of Mexico system. The rest of the Atlantic basin is pretty quiet; a weak wave near the Cape Verde Islands is not expected to develop.

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 produced show number 500 last night… scroll down for the show notes.

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

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I will be speaking today in Walker County at Cordova Health and Rehabilitation… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Cooler, Drier Air Arrives Tonight

| 3:35 pm August 24, 2015

ON THE MAPS: At mid-afternoon a cold front is lined up from near Athens to Vernon… you can pick it out by the northern edge of the cumulus field across Alabama…

GOES19002015236HbipA0

A few scattered storms have formed ahead of the front, best chance of them this evening will be over the southern half of the state. Temperatures are mostly in the 80s; today is the ninth consecutive day with a high below 90 for Birmingham.

REST OF THE WEEK: Some delightful weather for our state thanks to dry, continental air moving in from the north. We project sunny days, lower humidity levels, and cooler nights; highs will be mostly in the mid 80s, with lows in the 57-62 degree range most mornings through Thursday. Cooler pockets could very well see low to mid 50s early Wednesday for a very nice fall preview.

Friday will be another mostly sunny day with a high in the upper 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture from the Atlantic will cover Georgia and South Carolina, but for most of the state we believe Saturday will be dry with a partly sunny sky and a high in the upper 80s. A few showers could show up Saturday afternoon over far East Alabama around U.S. 431.

Then, Sunday, the latest run of the GFS pushes the moisture into our state from the east, and we will need to introduce the risk of scattered showers, but not an “all day” kind of rain. The high Sunday afternoon will be in the mid to upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Looks like afternoon highs will be close to 90, with some risk of scattered showers during the first half of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Looks very nice through the week with mostly sunny days, fair nights, and only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 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.

TROPICS: Danny dissipated near the Leeward Islands this morning, but a few wave in the Central Atlantic, about halfway between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles, will become a tropical depression at any time. Good chance this will be Tropical Storm Erika within 48 hours; for now long range model guidance suggests a recurvature path off the U.S. East Coast is the most likely scenario, but this could change.

gefs_AL98_current

Another wave over the far eastern Atlantic is not expected to strengthen anytime soon.

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. Tonight we produce show number 500… you can watch at 8:30 CT 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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Twitter
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Refreshing Airmass Arrives Tonight

| 6:24 am August 24, 2015

COLD FRONT ON THE WAY: We will mention the risk of a few widely scattered showers and thunderstorms along that front this afternoon, but the air over Alabama is relatively dry and stable for August, so the showers should be pretty widely spaced, and many communities will be dry today. The high this afternoon will be in the 87 to 90 degree range, and the sky will be partly sunny.

Interesting to note that, in Birmingham, we have gone 8 consecutive days with a high under 90 degrees. Pretty amazing for August.

REST OF THE WEEK: A very nice preview of fall, with sunny days, lower humidity, and cooler nights. Highs drop into the mid 80s tomorrow though Thursday, with lows in the 58 to 62 degree range. Cooler pockets will drop down into the low to mid 50s early Wednesday morning. It will feel very refreshing. Friday will stay dry, with the high creeping up into the upper 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture will increase east of Alabama, with some risk of showers over Georgia and South Carolina, but around here we will keep the forecast generally dry, with highs around 90, and lows in the mid to upper 60s. A few showers could show up over far East Alabama Sunday afternoon.

NEXT WEEK: It will be warmer, with highs closer to 90 degrees as September begins. No sign of any big rain event… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Looking great this week; mostly sunny days, fair nights, and only isolated showers or storms from Gulf Shores west to Panama City Beach. Highs in the 80s; 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.

DANNY: Now, weakening tropical storm near the Leeward Islands, the system is expected to dissipate along the southern coast of Hispaniola Wednesday.

084842W5_NL_sm

REST OF THE TROPICS: A well organized tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic (around 45W) has a good chance to become Tropical Storm Erika in coming days, but steering currents will likely turn this north, and then northeast into the open Atlantic without being a threat to the U.S. mainland.

gefs_AL98_current

There is one more wave being monitored southwest of the Cape Verde islands, but development is not expected there. 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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30p CT… it is show number 500! 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 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Humid Weekend Ahead With Scattered Storms

| 3:35 pm August 21, 2015

RADAR CHECK: As you expect on an August afternoon, we have a number of showers and storms in progress in scattered, random locations. Heavier storms are producing torrential rain, gusty winds, and lots of lightning as they move to the east.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 3.26.07 PM

Temperatures are in the 70s and 80s… this is the 6th consecutive day with a high under 90 degrees for most of North/Central Alabama.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL WEATHER: Many of the showers and storms will be over by kickoff time this evening, but not all of them, so I would take the rain gear just in case. Temperatures will be mostly in the low 80s at kickoff, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle. It will be a warm and humid night for the first week of high school football in our state.

THE WEEKEND: A stalled surface front just north of here will dissipate, and we will stay in humid air tomorrow and Sunday, so we will need to maintain the risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. The sky will be partly sunny both days, with a high between 87 and 90 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: An outside of a shower or storm Monday, then a refreshing, dry airmass works into the state Tuesday. For mid-week (Tuesday through Thursday), we project sunny days, clear cool nights, and low humidity levels. Highs will be in the 80s, and lows will drop down to near 60 degrees. Cooler valleys will easily reach the 50s for a very nice taste of fall. Moisture levels begin to return by Friday with some risk of a few showers by then; see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

DANNY BECOMES A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE: Data from a hurricane hunter aircraft shows sustained winds at 115 mph, making Danny a major hurricane. It is still very small in terms of radius, with hurricane force winds extending out only 10-20 miles from the center.

Danny is still expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches the Leeward Islands Monday…

144006W5_NL_sm

Many of the global models show the system degenerating into an open wave around longitude 70 west, near Hispaniola next week. Still remains to be seen if this will survive past that point, or if it impacts the U.S.

Another wave northeast of the Bahamas could become a sub-tropical storm over the weekend, but that will most likely remain out at sea with on impact on any landmass. And, a new tropical wave will emerge off the coast of Africa over the next 24 hours with some potential for slow development. Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for all the maps and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 6 to 8 hours of sunshine through early next week on the coast from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores with a passing storm from time to time. Highs on the coast will hold in the upper 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
Google Plus
Instagram

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