A band of mixed precipitation is pushing east across the state tonight. Travel impacts this morning will be minor at worst over the northern third of the state: maybe some light accumulations on grassy areas or cars, and a few icy spots on bridges where the snow does accumulate.
Temperatures at midnight are in the lower and middle 40s in the I-20 corridor with 30s over the Tennessee Valley. It was 37F at Tupelo with a mix. Muscle Shoals had 37F with a light mix.
LOOKING UP FOR THE WEEKEND: The sun should reappear today, with skies becoming clear by mid to late afternoon. High temperatures will be in the upper 40s in the I-20 corridor, where the sun will take a little more time to pop out. It will actually be slightly warmer in the northwest, where there will be a longer duration of sunshine. Lows tonight will be in the middle 30s with a few freezing readings sprinkled across the area.
After fog burned out of the lake and river Valleys of North Alabama this morning, the state has been nearly bereft of clouds on this mid-January Friday, a real Godsend given our recent dreary days. Some high clouds were about to start streaming into West Alabama, but they aren’t taking up much of the sky even there. They are being pushed rapidly along in the fast flow of an active southern branch of the jetstream. They will be mainly shunted to the south over South Alabama this afternoon.
The southern tier of the United States is remarkable free of radar echoes this afternoon. In fact, you could go from Virginia to southern California and be hard pressed to find a single shower. There might be one between Brackettville and Uvalde in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, but that could even be a wind turbine or something. Looking at satellite, it probably is a light shower not reaching the ground under that active southern branch of the jet stream bringing in some Pacific moisture.
Temperatures were in the 50s across Central Alabama at 2 p.m. Across the state, Huntsville was the only major reporting station still in the 40s. Temperatures will gradually slide back down into the upper 20s to lower 30s tonight with most locations reaching freezing.
It will be warmer tomorrow, with highs around 60F! Heat wave!
Dry disturbance Sunday with just some clouds, then dry until Thursday night. Could there be snow? James will be along with the afternoon edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. You will want to tune in!
Our line of thunderstorms continues pushing east tonight, running into more stable conditions as the atmosphere cools.
It extends from Arab to west of Oneonta to the Birmingham Metro to Brent and on to Marion.
It is pushing east at 20 mph.
Be prepared for torrential rains, gusty winds and intense lightning as it moves east.
There is a tornado watch in effect until 8 p.m. for areas ahead of the line. There is still a chance that a storm could flare up to become severe, but the threat is lessening.
We will continue to monitor.
Our line of storms has weakened a bit, as expected, as he are losing the heating of the day.
It not extends along I-65 south from Dodge City to Birmingham, then curving down I-59/20 to near Lake View. It then extends on south of the interstate to near Greensboro and Demopolis.
The storms are still packing a punch with gusty winds and torrential rains as well as intense lightning. Be in a safe place as they approach. Try to avoid driving during the peak of the storms.
There is still a chance that the storms could flare up and become severe, especially the further south you go.
A tornado watch continues until 8 p.m. for areas ahead of the storms. We will be monitoring whether the watch will be extended or not.
A line of intense thunderstorms, including some that are severe and even tornadic, is surging across western Alabama now.
The NWS has issued a tornado warning for parts of Marion County. An intense line of storms, showing strong signs of producing damaging winds, are moving across western Franklin, Marion and Pickens Counties. A tornado warning also continues for parts of Lamar County. Damaging winds and spin up tornadoes are likely with these storms.
Intense storms are over much of Pickens, Greene and Sumter Counties. They are pushing toward Tuscaloosa County and will move into Hale County as well. Tornado warnings are in effect for parts of Sumter, Greene and Pickens Counties. These cells have had a history of producing tornado damage, including some significant damage near Rose Hill in Jasper County, southwest of Meridian.
Look for a tornado warning to be issued for Tuscaloosa County soon.
A dangerous situation is occurring in Lamar County where an intense line of storms is pushing into Lamar County.
It shows strong indications of producing damaging winds and there are at least two possible tornadic circuations. One is near Vernon, the other near Sulligent.
Storms over eastern Mississippi have become severe this afternoon. A couple have even become tornadic with confirmed tornado damage in the Rose Hill area southwest of Meridian. A significant tornado debris signature was observed on radar and spotters confirmed there was a large and extremely dangerous tornado on the ground.
This storm is passing just west of Meridian at this time. It still has a tornado warning on it. It will pass into northern Sumter County and southern Pickens Counties in West Alabama between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m.
Another tornadic cell is just behind the first one, near Paulding MS. It could affect Sumter County later as well.
A quick check of sever weather parameters in that area shows that CAPE values are above 500 j/kg and there is significant low level shear on the order of 350 m2/s2 for surface – 1 km helicity. This is certainly conducive to the formation of tornadoes.
To the north in Mississippi, severe severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for North Central Mississippi. A severe storm is poised to move into Starkville in the next 10 minutes. The NWS Jackson is upgraded that warning to a tornado warning now.
A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. for West Central Alabama.
*** No Weather Xtreme Video this morning ***
Greetings from the Big Easy, site of one of the semifinal games in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Brian has Pasadena covered and I will cover New Orleans, one of America’s gem cities. And I will get to share a morning discussion with you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Are you enjoying some traditional New Year’s Day lucky food? Spaniards ate 12 grapes last night for each stroke of midnight. Maybe you’re having greens, symbolizing folded money. Or black-eyed peas, representing coins. I hope that you and your family have a prosperous 2015!
FOOTBALL CAST: It is one of my favorite days, watching college football. And our two state SEC teams are in the thick of the New Years Day action. Auburn is in Tampa for a date with Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
Auburn fans will have gorgeous weather today, with lots of sunshine and highs in the 70s. Can’t beat that.
‘Bama fans will encounter cloudy skies today with showers starting to bubble around game time. Luckily the game is indoors, but tailgating, and walks to and from the Superome could be a little damp. I think the really heavy rain holds off until after the game. Revelers in the Quarter late tomorrow wright may get wet. It is chilly by New Orleans standards, with temperatures today in the 50s and there the mercury will stay overnight tonight. Temperatures tomorrow will be in the upper 60s.
FROST ON THE PUMPKIN: Brian Peters is waking to a little frost this morning as he prepares to go watch his beloved Florida State Seminoles play in their national semifinal game. Lows there this morning were in the lower and middle 30s. Highs today will not be very California-like, in the upper 50s, more like New Orleans will be today.
RAIN ON THE WAY: Today is a transition day for Central Alabama. Our next weather maker is a huge upper level low that we find over Arizona. That system brought heavy snow to Wickenburg AZ near Phoenix yesterday! Ten inches fell near Flagstaff. Temperatures over the Rockies this morning are running some 15-30 degrees below normal. There is an active southern branch of the Jetstream from Baja California across Texas and then over the Southeast. A low pressure system will develop to our west, and as it does, it will propel a warm front northward. This warm front will produce rain across Central Alabama starting tonight and lasting into Friday. Then a cold front will push our way, bringing more showers and thunderstorms to the state. We will be in the 40s this afternoon but 60s will be common on Saturday. There will be some thunder involved on Saturday, but severe weather should not be a problem. We will be watching. Flooding is not expected to be a problem, but 1 to 3 inches, as expected, could cause problems if it falls quickly enough. The rain will end on Sunday as a cold front passes. Next week should be cool and dry with temperatures around 50F by day and 30s at night.
NEXT RAIN CHANCES: Another system shows up around Saturday, one week from today.
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WEATHERBRAINS: Greg Carbin was this guest on this week’s show. Check out the show at www.WeatherBrains.com. You can also subscribe on iTunes.
ON THIS DATE IN 1916: Rainmaker Charles Hatfield set up his equipment in San Diego, California. It had been bone dry in San Diego for months. Desperate for rain, the City Council had approved his proposal to fill the city’s near empty reservoir for $10,000. The self-proclaimed meteorologist used towers holding barrels of boiling secret chemicals. His claim was that he didn’t make the rain, he attracted the clouds and the rains just came. Soon afterwards, it began to rain in Southern California. Problem was, ot didn’t stop. Flooding resulted and on the 27th a dam on Lake Moreno collapsed, with large loss of life. Many people filed lawsuits against Hatfield, but the suits were dismissed because the event was an Act of God. The city refused to pay hatfield for his services since it was an Act of God. Hatfield’s life would be turned into a play, a novel and eventually Burt Lancaster would play him in the 1956 film The Rainmaker. You can find a statue erected to Hatfield at Lake Moreno. Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am @wxhistorian at Twitter.com.