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Quick Noon Update

| 12:13 pm July 15, 2014

Our cold front is over the northwest corner of Alabama right now. Dewpoints are falling like a rock over Arkansas and western Tenenssee and Kentucky. The dewpoint at Huntsville is 71F, while in Memphis it is 62F and in Branson, MO it is 46F!

The numbers in green are the dewpoints.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Clouds are thick along and north of I-20 with some breaks to the south which is allowing instability values to rise above 2000 joules/kg, which is moderately unstable.

Regional radars right now show moderate showers over southern Walker County with lighter showers back through Fayette and Lamar Counties. Other light showers are over southern DeKalb County. Everything is pushing east southeast and will continue to do so.

The main shower and thunderstorm development today will be primarily over southeastern parts of the area in that higher instability, mainly south of a line from Demopolis to Clanton to Wedowee. Some strong storms will form in this region, but only isolated severe weather is expected.

The area outlined in pink on the graphic has a 20% chance of getting a severe thunderstorm watch says the SPC. The yelllow polygons are severe thunderstorm warnings.

To the north, in places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Gadsden and Anniston and points north. The chance of a strong storm is just about gone.

The drier air will work in this afternoon, reaching Birmingham by dark and Montgomery after midnight.

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By morning, lows will be in the 50 across the north and near 60F in the I-20 corridor. There will quite possibly be a couple of 40s in your morning round up of lows tomorrow in places like Bankhead National Forest and Valley Head.

Storms Will Build in the I-59 Corridor

| 11:28 pm July 14, 2014

Showers pushing southeast across West Central and North Central Alabama tonight have started to weaken, pushing a distinct outflow boundary southeastward toward the I-5 corridor.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms scattered along I-59 from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden will grow and intensify.

A storm in the Tuscaloosa area is already producing heavy rain and lightning.

Already, persistent heavy rains have been occurring in the Etowah and eastern St. Clair County areas into Cherokee County. A flash flood warning is in effect for parts of Etowah County.

Be alert for heavy rains, lightning and gusty winds over the next few hours. The storms are not severe, but we can’t rule out an isolated severe report or warning overnight.

Heavy Rains Falling over Northeast Alabama

| 9:13 pm July 14, 2014

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Persistent thunderstorms over Northeast Alabama are producing th epotential for flooding tonight.

They have been heavy tonight from eastern Blount County across much of Etowah County into Cherokee County tonight.

The NWS has issued an areal flood advisory for parts of the area outlined in green.

Radar estimates of 1 to 3 inches are showing up on radar tonight from northeast of Reece City to near and north of Hokes Bluff.

Be alert to potential flooding and always remember, turn around, don’t drown.

Storms over northern Mississippi and southern Tennessee have weakened over the past hour or so and there are no severe thunderstorm watches or warnings in effect right now.

Showers/Storms Popping Up

| 12:18 pm July 14, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Let’s take a quick look at the Alabama Weather Situation at the noon hour:

A very nice field of cumulus clouds has developed over the state early this afternoon. The clouds started to get some vertical development y late morning over Northeast Alabama. This area of enhancement is being caused by our old friend the Easterly Wedge. You know, that thing we dread in winter? Funny how things we dread in winter, like the Polar Vortex and the Easterly Wedge, seem to make us happy in summer.

The wedge is providing slightly drier air over the Carolinas which means fewer cumulus clouds. But the convergence on the nose of it over Appalachians is allowing for enhanced convective development and that means taller cumulus clouds and showers.

At noon, they are mainly over Cherokee and Etowah Counties, with development also occurring in the I-20 corridor from Birmingham to Heflin and down around Clay and Randolph Counties.

Starting to see lightning near Cedar Bluff and Centre as these storms grow to near 40,000 feet.

There will be frequent lightning, very heavy rain and gusty winds from the stronger storms. Can’t rule out an isolated severe storm, but significant severe weather is not expected.

Storms are already building over northeastern Arkansas and will build down into western Tennessee this afternoon and evening. They will push into northwestern Alabama this evening and Central Alabama overnight. There could be strong storms overnight as a strong cold front near Chicago comes our way.

POLAR VORTEX CHECK
Our upper low is centered over the arrowhead of Minnesota this afternoon. A spot check there finds that it is 52F with a cold rain in Bemidji, Minnesota and a northwest wind at 14 mph.

Heavy Storms Scattered About

| 5:36 pm July 13, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms continue to meander around parts of Central Alabama this afternoon.

Heavy storms are occurring near downtown Birmingham, near the Airport and from Springville to Altoona.

Others are over southern Marion, western Walker and northern Tuscaloosa Counties.

Movement is rather random.

Expect brief heavy rain and lightning if you get under one of these.

Showers and Storms Forming

| 11:49 am July 13, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms are forming in the heat and humidity across West Central and North Central Alabama. The thick field of growing cumulus clouds was the first sign this morning.

As expected, they are forming generally northwest of I-59 and that is where most of them should be through the afternoon.

They should die out late this afternoon.

Highs will make the lower and middle 90s in most spots, except for those lucky enough to pick up a cooling shower.

Showers and storms will increase starting late tomorrow and tomorrow night as a big upper trough develops over the Great Lakes, sending a bonafide cold front our way.

Afternoon Storms

| 6:04 pm July 12, 2014

Showers and storms have slowly grown across Central Alabama this afternoon as temperatures warmed into the 90s.

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Most of them are west of I-65, with the heaviest concentration over Fayette, northwestern Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties. Another decent one is over western Jefferson County over the Hueytown/Pleasant Grove area. To the south there are others over Hale, Bibb and Perry County.

The lone exception is straddling the St. Clair/Talladega County County south of Pell City.

Everything is moving southwest and south.

If you find yourself under one of these storms, expect heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

On This Date in 1980

| 10:00 am July 12, 2014

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Headlines on Saturday, July 12, 1980 focused on the Iranian hostage crisis, which was in its 292nd day. One of the hostages had been released by the Ayatollah for “humanitarian reasons”. The GOP was putting the finishing touches on its platform prior to their national convention in Detroit.

There were fears that Mt. Hood in Oregon was getting ready to erupt, a la Mount St. Helens, since quakes had been shaking the area. A hijacker in Seattle had been given $100,000 and a parachute as he seemed destined to be the next D.B. Cooper. The economy was in the tank, with talk that the extended recession was comparable to the Great Depression in many ways.

The movies that were playing then included The Shining and Airplane.

High temperatures from July 12, 1980 courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project

High temperatures from July 12, 1980 courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project. Click image to enlarge.

But the big news across the southern United States was the heat. Birmingham was in the middle of a thirteen day heat wave, with temperatures 90F or higher for those thirteen days. The mercury reached at least 100F on eight consecutive days. The high temperature at the Birmingham Airport topped out at 104F on that Saturday, the hottest it had been so far in the hot spell. The next day would see 106F, the hottest of the heat wave.

Air conditioning repair companies were doing a land office business. Bank managers resorted to putting blocks of ice in front of electric fans to “cool off the girls” in the drive-thrus. The local Coca-Cola bottler reported that soft drink sales were up 35 percent.

The weather page in the Birmingham News wistfully noted that it was midwinter in Australia.

The toll was beginning to rise across Alabama. At least four deaths had been reported so far. Before it was over, at least 120 Alabamians lost their lives to heat related illnesses. 200,000 chickens also succumbed to the extreme heat.

The June-September 1980 Heat Wave is the first billion dollar weather-related disaster in U.S. history. Damage to agriculture and related industries was estimated at $20 billion. The sweltering weather claimed the lives of over 10,000 Americans.