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
Yesterday, I posted that Birmingham had achieved its latest 90 degree reading ever when the 5 minute data at the Birmingham Airport showed a temperature of 90F.
It turns out the 5 minute data from the airport converts the already rounded Celsius temperature observation to Fahrenheit. So the actual observation was 31.7C, which is actually 89 degrees in Fahrenheit. The observation rounds this to 32C, which converts to 90F. So it only made it up to 89F officially yesterday.
Consequently, I had to retract my post yesterday afternoon. But I knew there was a chance we would do it today.
And today there was no doubt. The official high was 91F. This is not only a record for the date, as Brian noted earlier, but the warmest ever so late in the year and the latest 90F reading ever at Birmingham.
Before today, the latest 90F reading was on October 17, 1897.
Record highs were established today at Tuscaloosa and Anniston as well with 91F and 90F respectively. The record for today at both locations was 89F. Montgomery has gotten in on the act with a new record for the date with 91F.
Tomorrow’s records are probably safe at Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Anniston. The hottest we have ever been on October 20th in Birmingham is 88F back in 1941. We are only calling for a high of 85F tomorrow. The National Weather Service’s National Digital Forecast Database output for tomorrow is calling for 85F. At Montgomery, is calling for 89F, which would establish a new record there. Here are the expected records based on the NDFD tomorrow:
We did not indeed establish a new record for the latest 90 degree reading at BHM today. Because it did not hit 90F.
Here’s the explanation from Gerald Satterwhite at the National Weather Service:
The 5-minute data rounded the decimal observation. The online 5-minute source has 32C, though the actual observation was 31.7C. This converts and rounds to 90F and 89F, respectively. So, 89F is correct.
BREAKING NEWS – THAT LAST POST IS UNDER FURTHER REVIEW!
The previous change in the records is under further review as of 5:08 pm. The NWS has put the official high at 89F (based on the hourly data, I suppose.) The 5 min data from the Airport did show 90F on the observation page.
I have thrown the red flag. Stand by for more details!
When the mercury reached 90F at the Birmingham Airport around 2:25 p.m. this afternoon, it marked the latest 90 degree reading ever measured in Birmingham.
The previous mark was October 17th. It was 91F on October 17, 1897.
Today’s high will also be the record for the date. The previous record was 86F.
It has been raining lightly at the Birmingham Airport off and on since 11:40 a.m., but the precipitation has not been heavy enough to produce the 0.01 inches to call it officially measurable. So the consecutive days streak without rain is still intact for now.
That streak stands at 27 days, making it is the 11th longest on record.
Some heavier showers were moving toward the Airport but they may slide more over downtown. Those showers did drop 0.02 of an inch at my location in Vestavia.
The clouds and showers have resulted in cooler temperatures with most stations still in the 70s. I did find a couple of 69F in the Montgomery area. There are some upper 70s in places where it has not rained. It was 73F at the Birmingham Airport, down a couple of degrees from the morning high so far of 75F.
The showers are associated with a surge of moisture that has its origins in the tropical Atlantic off South Florida and the Bahamas. It is being shunted northward around the periphery of the sprawling surface high centered off the coast of New Jersey.
There is also a tiny bit of instability over Alabama thanks to the cold air aloft associated with the upper level low pressure trough over the Southeast.
That easterly wedge flow into Alabama will relax later today and high pressure aloft will begin to replace the low pressure trough. This will give us warm and dry conditions tomorrow through Wednesday. Another approaching trough will trigger a line of showers that will move through the state late Thursday night and Friday morning. High pressure will slide in behind it, setting the stage for a cool and dry weekend.
Saturday was a beautiful day across Central Alabama. Southeasterly flow around high pressure ridging southwestward along the East Coast resulted in low clouds in the morning and a nice collection of cumulus clouds during the day. Highs ranged from 82F at Auburn to 83F at Birmingham and Tuscaloosa to 84F at Calera.
A few showers started showing up on local radar during the evening hours, being shunted northward in that low level flow. At first glance, that seemed unusual since the upper level flow was clearly being dominated by a northwesterly flow around the trough that had cut off into an upper level low over Alabama. That northward movement clearly showed that the big surface high to the east was controlling them.
Switching to a map of precipitable water values, which most clearly depicts the amount of total moisture available in the atmosphere, we can see that the surface high was tapping some deep moisture over the tropical Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas. This moisture was streaming across the Florida Panhandle and Gulf of Mexico all the way into southeastern Alabama.
All indications are that the faucet of moisture will slowly turn off today as the surface high shifts to a more west to east orientation. Before it dries up completely, a few showers will continue across Central Alabama, but the chance that you will see rainfall is very low unless you are in the US-80/I-85 Corridor. Highs today will be in the lower and middle 80s.
As we open the book on a new work week, upper level high pressure over the Bahamas and back to our west over Texas will link up and build over the Deep South. This will put the kibosh on rain chances and allow for warm and dry conditions. Not what we want to hear with the continued high wildfire danger across our state. Temperatures will be in the 80s, trending toward the middle and upper 80s in fact by Tuesday and Wednesday.
Things will begin to change by Wednesday afternoon. Some moisture will sneak back in, allowing for a few showers Wednesday afternoon. In addition, a trough over the Central Plains will be digging southeastward, bringing lift for our next rainfall event. Yes, I said rainfall event. A line of showers will push into Alabama late Thursday night through Friday morning. Rainfall amounts will only be around one half inch, but it will probably break the consecutive days without rain streak that now stands at 27 days. We’ve moved up a spot to #11!
Cool high pressure builds in for the weekend, giving us a real taste of fall. Highs on Saturday will struggle to get out of the 60s and the day will start with lower and middle 40s. There will even be a few 30s Sunday morning it appears. Sunday will be a nearly perfect day, with highs in the 70s and lots of sunshine.
In the voodoo department, a stronger system will bring showers and thunderstorms at month’s end, quite possibly falling during trick or treating time on Halloween night.
In the Atlantic, Nicole became a hurricane again yesterday. The storm has become a wind monster with a large wind field extending over much of the North Atlantic. It will lose tropical characteristics over the next couple of days as it races northward.
Heading to the Beach? Great idea! Could I interest you in highs in the middle 80s, lows in the middle 60s and lots of sunshine? I thought so! That’s what you can have through Wednesday before a few showers and storms show up Thursday and Friday. Much cooler conditions for the weekend. Water temperatures are cooling, with the reading this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab coming in at 76.8F.
Pay no attention to my mention of October 16th on the video. It really is October 15th of course!
Friday marked the 26th consecutive day without rainfall at the Birmingham Airport. This is good enough to be tied for 12th place all time. It is also the longest streak since October 2000. It looks like it won’t rain again until at least Thursday or Friday, so our streak will probably reach 32 or 33 days. This will be enough to move the current streak into 5th place all time.
Here is the building rainfall deficit over the past 90 days at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport:
Rainfall was oh so close on Friday as a frontal system and upper level trough pushed a substantial area of moderate rain across northern Mississippi and into Northwest Alabama during the day. But the system ran out of steam as it neared our state. More accurately, it ran out of moisture, with precipitable water values across Alabama were generally less than one inch.
As the trough sweeps across the state late today and tomorrow, it will be accompanied by some cloudiness, but precipitation will be hard to find. Eastern sections will feel the influence of an easterly flow around the big high pressure system along the East Coast. Highs today will be warm in the west and cooler in the east, with afternoon readings in the upper 80s over near the Mississippi border with upper 70s to near 80 around the Georgia line.
Lows tonight will feel a little less comfortable, dropping only into the lower 60s as dewpoints rise. Those crisp, cool mornings of the past week will be a thing of the past for the time being. Tomorrow will feature partly cloudy to occasionally cloudy skies, with highs in the middle 80s.
A ridge of high pressure will build across the Deep South early in the week and temperatures will continue to be elevated. Midweek highs will be in the middle to upper 80s and lows will be in the lower 60s. Several spots will touch 90F WEdnesday or Thursday.
That ridge will break down by the end of the week, and showers and thunderstorms will re-enter the picture by late Thursday or Friday. This stronger system will mean that temperatures will back off several degrees.
Alabama travels to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a key SEC match this afternoon. Skies will be partly cloudy. We have removed the chance of a shower. The kick off temperature will be around 78F falling into the middle 70s by the end of the game. Winds will be out of the southwest at 4-8 mph. The Auburn Tigers have a bye week.
BEACHBOUND? Boy, last weekend was just about perfect along the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. It felt more like July in the restaurants as a big Columbus Day weekend crowd was enjoying the delicious seafood, but the morning lows in the 50s were quite comfortable along with the lower humidity. There is a slight chance of a shower along the beaches today and tomorrow, but highs will be in the lower 80s. Monday through much of Thursday looks absolutely perfect again however. A few showers will return for the weekend.
TROPICS: Nicole is exiting stage left over the North Atlantic. There are some hints at possible development by next weekend in the Bahamas, but the threat looks low and it wouldn’t affect our part of the world anyway.
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The eye of Hurricane Nicole is passing over the island of Bermuda right now. Here is the Bermuda Weather Service radar:
Here are wind observations across the island now:
Here is a plot of the wind at the Airport over the past 2 days. Notice the dramatic drop at the eye moved over the station.
Here are this morning’s observations from the Airport:
The barometer is now down to 28.41 inches.
Direct hits on the island are rare, with only nine occurring since 1851. Nicole may produce a lower barometric pressure than Fabian (2003). That category three hurricane moved past Bermuda, but the island was in the eyewall and only the western fringes of the island saw the edge of the actual eye.
The weather station at BDA just reported a sustained wind of 68 knots (78 mph) with gusts to 90 knots (104 mph) at 8:52 a.m. CDT.
Major Hurricane Nicole is closing in on the beautiful island nation of Bermuda this morning. Top winds are 125 mph, but the system looks a little less organized on satellite over the past few hours after strengthening a good bit yesterday.
The Air Force plane that just arrived in the storm just located the center near 31.93N, 64.95W, or about 27 miles south southwest of Hamilton, Bermuda.
The hurricane is moving north northeast at 15 mph. On its present course, the center will pass very near the island in the next hour. The entire island will likely experience the 25 mile wide eye.
The island is in the northern eyewall right now. At 8:04 a.m. CDT, the Airport measured a sustained wind of 67 mph with gusts to 85 mph. The barometer was down to 29.03 inches of mercury and it was plunging like a rock. The pressure dropped from 29.12 to 29.03 inches between 7:55 and 8:04.
The NHC reports that a sustained wind of 79 mph with a gust to 105 mph was just reported at Pearl Island. The Bermuda Weather Service reports that an elevated station at Commissioner’s Point reported a sustained wind of 92 mph with a gust to 122 mph.
Bermuda has sustained many hurricanes over the years and the buildings are designed to withstand high winds, mostly made of limestone. But there will be heavy damage. We hope and pray there will be no loss of life or serious injury. A surge of 6-8 feet is forecast to impact the island. 5-8 inches of rain is also expected.
Interestingly, every structure on the island is required to have a water collection system. The roofs are even designed to be purification systems. Bermuda has no natural water source.
From Marvel comics to motorcycles, from Oktoberfest to football, and from cursive to clean-up, our friends at Alabama NewsCenter bring us more Good News Stories! This weekend’s edition describes Can’t Miss Alabama events across our state, highlights rising Alabama Makers, and reminds of us of the many reasons to be Alabama-proud.