Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian
An all important forecast for today’s 80th iteration of the Iron Bowl will actually be an easy one and a good one as some of the nicest weather to ever grace this historic rivalry.
IRON BOWL CAST: Tailgaters down in the Loveliest Village on the Plains will enjoy a nice warmup from mild readings in the 50s early this morning. By the time fans head to their gate, the mercury should be in the lower 70s and by kickoff, look for highs in the middle to upper 70s. By the final whistle, readings will drop quickly into the lower 60s, still quite comfortable. Winds will be light, out of the south during the game, and should not be a factor.
MESS OUT WEST: Alabama and Auburn fans are counting their weather blessings on this last Saturday and November, especially given the mess out west. Did you see the weather during the Baylor-TCU game last night? It was actually delayed by lightning. Hard to imagine playing in a driving rainstorm with temperatures in the 30s, a strong northerly wind at 20 mph and wind chills in the 20s.
BIG RAIN YEAR IN BIG D: 56.50 inches of rain in 2015 through 10 p.m. last night at DFW. That establishes a new record for annual rainfall in Big D.
ON THE MAPS: The big trough over the West is anchored by a huge upper low this morning that is over the Great Basin starts of Nevada and Utah. The big low will lumber onto the Plains by tomorrow night and will head toward the Midwest by Tuesday. This will cause a surface low to form over Iowa. This will finally push the cold front through our area. But the pattern over Alabama and the Deep South will be relatively flat, as a ridge over the Gulf of Mexico continues to protect us.
HOW OUR WEATHER WILL UNFOLD: The area of rain will enter northwestern Alabama tonight and should cover areas along and north of I-20 during the day on Sunday. The ridge will hold the front at bay through Monday, only allowing it slow southward progress. Rain will be a good bet along and north of I-20 on Monday and Tuesday. There will be some breaks, and the rainfall won’t be especially heavy, but it will be gloomy and showery. Temperatures will in the 60s Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
MODEL MADNESS: It’s minor, but the models can’t reach consensus yet on when the front will make it through our area. The GFS projects that it will happen on Tuesday. The European says it won’t happen until Wednesday. In either case, it will be showery until that occurs. And now, late runs of the GFS indicate that another disturbance may bring rain chances back Thursday night into Friday across Central Alabama. We may have to adjust the forecast if that trend continues.
IMPROVING CONDITIONS: Sprawling high pressure will take control of our weather for the remainder of the week into the weekend. It will be cool and dry, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s through the weekend.
GULF COAST WEATHER: Really dense fog is greeting the day along the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. There will be a repeat of that tonight as sea fog affects the coast. But the days will feature a good supply of sunshine through Tuesday as the ridge of high pressure continues to hold sway. High temperatures will be in the middle 70s. Lows will be in the 60s. Rain will arrive on Wednesday but it will be a pretty quick hitting front, and the rain should be gone within 18 hours or so. Improving conditions will prevail into the weekend. Highs into the weekend will be in the middle 60s. Lows will be in the 50s. Still not bad. Water temperatures are now in the 60s. 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.
WEATHERBRAINS: This week, the panel will entertain Tyler Radford from the Humanitarian Open Streets Project. This crowdsourced mapping project was instrumental in getting relief into the remote areas affected by Hurricane Patricia several weeks ago. Check out the show at www.WeatherBrains.com. You can also subscribe on iTunes. You can watch the show live at live.bigbrainsmedia.com. You will be able to see the show on the James Spann 24×7 weather channel on cable or directly over the air on the dot 2 feed.
ON THIS DATE IN 1997: Winds gusting to 40 mph caused the huge Cat in the Hat balloon in New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to blow out of control, toppling a light post and injuring four spectators, one seriously. High winds had been forecast and parade officials filled the balloons with less helium and directed then to be flown at lower altitudes, but the accident still occurred. New guidelines after the incident required the grounding of the big balloons, such as Charlie Brown, Big Bird and Spiderman when sustained winds reach 23 mph or gusts reach 34 mph. A meteorologist is also employed by the parade to monitor conditions. It was the worst wind incident in the history of the parade. Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am @wxhistorian at Twitter.com.
The Iron Bowl, economic development, ice skating and holiday shopping were among our favorite stories from Alabama NewsCenter this week.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family on this special holiday. The weather is certainly cooperating for us here in Alabama, although that is not the case all around the country.
Boy, the weather held off just long enough nationally to get everyone to Grandma’s house, and it has gone downhill today across a large area of the West and the Plains.
A powerful upper level trough across the West is poised to caused a wide array of bad weather over the next several days. The axis of the trough extends from williston ND to Pocatello, Idaho to Fresno, California this afternoon.
Ahead of it, widespread precipitation is occurring, including snow across the Mountains of the Wes, into the Central Plains and Midwest, from Nebraska to Upper Michigan. A wintry mix is occurring from northeastern New Mexico through the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, Central Kansas and into Iowa. Ice storm warnings cover a wide area from eastern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, western Teas and the southern part of Kansas. There is a high probability of a 1/4 inch accumulation of ice from the Texas Panhandle into Iowa. One half inch of ice will accumulate across parts of western Oklahoma.
From the Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus: Given the recent developments, I’m afraid we’re going to have to upgrade the
EMERGENCY BREAD AND MILK DEF-BRAUMS LEVEL to LEVEL ONE across west central through north central Oklahoma. That’s serious!
Ahead of this shield of wintry precip, rain is occurring from southern New Mexico and Texas all the way into the Great Lakes. A rapidly weakening Hurricane Sandra, over the eastern Pacific, will interject its moisture into the system over the weekend. The system has top winds of 115 mph this afternoon, but will will weaken to a depression before it makes landfall early Saturday in the Mexican state of Durango.
Incredible rainfall amounts will fall over the southern Plains over the next five days (how many times have we said that this year?). 8 to 9 inches is expected across southern and eastern Oklahoma into western Arkansas. Tishomingo in southern Oklahoma has picked up 70.90 inches of rain so far this year. Another 9 inches would be incredible!
Flash flood watches are in effect from Dallas to St. Louis.
HERE AT HOME
Absolutely gorgeous weather for Thanksgiving here in Alabama. Skies are sunny and temperatures are in the lower 70s at every major reporting station across the state. The nearest rain is a few light showers along the Northeast Florida and Georgia coasts. A nice southeasterly wind is making it feel even balmier.
We stay dry through the Black Friday shopping experience. It will be mild for the early morning shoppers, with lows just in the 50s. Iron Bowl Saturday will be dry as well, with temperatures in the 70s for the big game. Rain will not arrive until late in the day on Sunday.
Alabamians paid little attention to the weather forecast on Thanksgiving morning, November 23, 1950. The Birmingham News carried a lead article about the many blessings of the day, including bountiful food, talking about the day’s candied yams, crisp white celery, plump olives and a golden brown roasted turkey. Headlines told of a Thanksgiving Eve crash between two Long Island Railroad trains in New York City that killed 76 people. There were hopes that the Korean War might be ending, bolstered by hints that China might be willing to sit down for peace talks.
Over 36,000 people made their way to Legion Field for the annual Crippled Children’s Classic at Legion Field. The game featured the Phillips Red Raiders and Woodlawn Colonels. It would raise $95,000 for the new Crippled Children’s Hospital. As the game kicked off at 2 p.m., the temperature at the Birmingham Airport was a balmy 70 degrees.
The fine holiday weather belied the fact that a major cold wave was overspreading the U.S. east of the Rockies. Birmingham’s official weatherman, Charles Bradley, warned that the mild afternoon and nice weather was going to be followed by a quick turn to winter. The afternoon highs near 70 would be replaced with overnight lows in the 30s. Highs the following day would remain steady or fall. Fans in shirt sleeves at Legion Field got a rude awakening when the temperature fell into the 50s by the fourth quarter of a 20-0 Phillips victory.
By late evening, readings were in the lower 40s with a north wind averaging over 20 mph. To the north, it was getting interesting. It was 18F in Nashville with heavy snow. It was 25F in Memphis with moderate snow and a north wind averaging over 30 mph. The snow was reaching Northwest Alabama.
By 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning, it was down to 32F at Birmingham with snow. Four inches of snow was on the ground at Tuscumbia. An inch was on the ground in the Magic City. Roads were hazardous all over North Alabama. Dozens of accidents were being reported. By late morning, US-31 was impassable as far south as Clanton. By 10:30 a.m., the mercury had plummeted further, to 21F at the Birmingham Airport.
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team boarded a charter plane at the Birmingham Airport, bound for Jacksonville and a Saturday tilt with Florida. With two losses, Alabama needed a victory to seal a major bowl bid. Tennessee was already paired with Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Kentucky coach Paul Bryant was preparing his Wildcats for a Sugar Bowl date with Oklahoma in New Orleans. The Birmingham News carried rumors that the Bear might be nosing around for a job in Texas, while mentioning that Alabama was his alma mater.
In his afternoon forecast, the weatherman was calling for an overnight low between 12-15F. Good thing for Mr. Bradley that the three degree guarantee had not been invented, because with screaming cold air advection, the temperature would already be at 15 by midnight, on the way to a low of 5F. It is the coldest November reading ever in Birmingham. The second coldest November reading ever is 13F, underscoring the significance of the record. Fresh snow would fall across the northern half of the state on Saturday as the Great Appalachian Storm spun up over Ohio.
J.B. would call it a cold wave. I call it just another story from the pages of this week in weather history. Follow my weather history tweets on Twitter. I am @wxhistorian at Twitter.com.
Good news on the economic, medical, millennial and entertainment fronts this week. Here are some our favorite stories from Alabama NewsCenter from the past week.
A line of strong thunderstorms is passing through the Jefferson County area, moving northeast at about 40 mph.
A wind advisory is in effect for the cities of Birmingham, Hoover, Columbiana, Pelham, Alabaster until 12:00 noon CST today. This means that sustained winds of 25 mph or higher are expected, with gusts up to 35 mph. Remember that winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles, so be careful if you are on the roads!
With the torrential rainfall that has occurred with these storms, we can expect some flooding in poor drainage areas. The rumbling thunder is a reminder that frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with these storms. Lightning can strike 15 miles away from a thunderstorm, so be sure to seek safe shelter as these storms pass through.