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Ana Is That You?

| 1:00 pm May 3, 2015

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There is still consistent evidence that a subtropical storm could form northwest of the Bahamas by midweek. This subtropical storm could affect the Carolinas and Georgia coastline, but top winds should be less than 50 mph. Gusty winds and rough surf will be the main impact. Sill, it serves as a reminder that the Atlantic Hurricane Season is not far away, beginning June 1.

BILL ON DECK: I get a storm named for me this year! The name Bill has been used for three tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. 2009’s Bill was a Cat 4 Hurricane that passed Bermuda and grazed Nova Scotia. 1997’s Bill threatened Bermuda as well. Seems I have a thing for Bermuda. And TS Bill in 2003 made landfall west of New Orleans.

Here is the list of names for 2015 in the Atlantic:

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

It is interesting to note that this is the list of names from the 1979 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which was the first to use male names. The following names have been retired from that list (year of retirement in parentheses).

Bob (1991)
David (1979)
Elena (1985)
Frederic (1979)
Gloria (1985)
Isabel (2003)
Juan (2003)

April Showers Bring May Flowers

| 11:11 am May 3, 2015

If April showers bring May flowers, Birmingham will be able to open a florist this month. That piece of familiar weather folklore is playing out to be very true this year for us. Birmingham recorded its 6th wettest April ever with 10.24 inches of rain, 3.51 inches below the all time record of 13. 75 recorded in April 1979. It rained on 15 days during the month, against the long term average of 9.1 days. Thunder was reported on 11 days, against the average of 5.0.

Now, as we have turned the page to May, drier and warmer conditions will be the theme over the first fifteen days of the month. Here is a look at the long term climatological averages day by day for May at Birmingham.

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It is a picture perfect early May day across Central Alabama. Scattered cumulus clouds were starting to form after a nearly cloud free morning. A thin arc of clouds was evident along a little convergence zone that has sagged down into Northwest Alabama from a disturbance north of Nashville. The nearest precipitation to Birmingham is a few light showers over Kentucky, accompanying that disturbance.

The mercury was climbing through the middle 70s across the I-20 corridor, heading for highs in the lower 80s. Dewpoints are low, in the upper 40s, so it feels quite nice. But keep the sunscreen handy, as that strong May sun can burn a lot. And stay hydrated too. With the low humidity, you can sweat a lot without realizing it.

Nearly perfect, albeit eventually a bit warm, weather is in store for this week across Central Alabama. This week’s temperature graph looks like an EKG with nearly steady highs around 80F and lows around 60F through midweek. After that, the mercury will get a little more excited, with highs trending into the middle and upper 80s by next weekend with lows in the middle 60s. Dewpoints will be rising as well, from the 50s early in the week, to the muggy 60s by next weekend. A few showers and storms could creep back into the forecast by this weekend, but chances will be small until early the following week, around Tuesday the 12th.

Hear EM Speak About 4/27/2011 Operations Tonight at NWA Meeting

| 9:00 am April 27, 2015
Stitched Panorama

Stitched Panorama

Tonight is our first Chapter Meeting of 2015! The meeting will be at the NWS Birmingham with special quest speaker, Eric Jones, Elmore County Emergency Manager.

Eric, Emergency Management Director for Elmore County and former Director for the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers, will discuss how the Alabama Emergency Management Agency utilizes National Weather Service information prior to and during hazardous weather events. As it is the anniversary of the April 27, 2011 outbreak, Eric will also discuss EMA operations both during and after that historic event, providing an unique prospective of first responders from across the state.

Everyone is invited to arrive between 530-545pm to see the evening weather balloon launch and enjoy pizza (food and drink provided by the NWA). The meeting will begin around 615pm, after the balloon launch. After Eric’s presentation, Jim Stefkovich and Holly Allen will be available to give office tours for those interested. If you haven’t joined or renewed, please do so and be there tonight. Chapter website

Tornado Debris Signature South of Fort Worth Tonight

| 10:02 pm April 26, 2015

Sunday, 9:59 pm

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The Fort Worth radar is showing a clear tornado debris signature in the long lived supercell in southwestern Johnson County west southwest of Rio Vista, heading in the general direction of that town. It will pass near Covington and near Grandview on I-35, just north of the split south of Dallas/Fort Worth.

The TDS is show as the blue circle in the lower right panel (correlation coefficient) from the Fort Worth dual=pol Doppler radar.

Frequent power flashes just reported by a spotter.

The Andover Tornado of 1991

| 4:10 pm April 26, 2015

On this day 24 years ago, an F5 tornado devastated the community of Andover, Kansas, in a violent tornado outbreak over the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. On April 26, 1991, a total of 55 tornadoes developed, 30 of which were rated an F2 or greater. At one point during the storm, three separate F4 or F5 tornadoes – Andover, Red Rock, and Arkansas City – were simultaneously on the ground. 21 people died as a direct result of the April 26, 1991 severe weather – 17 from one storm alone.

While the April 26, 1991 storm is most known for the destruction of the Andover community, this same twister also hit parts of Wichita, McConnell Air Force Base and other parts of South Central Kansas. The following devastating tornadoes occurred primarily during the afternoon and evening hours across northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

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The Andover tornado initially exhibited multiple vortices, producing F3 damage. As it veered north, it bore down on Haysville, Kansas, just south of Wichita. It passed through the southeastern part of Wichita, passing just a mile south of the South Wichita interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. McConnell Air Force Base was next on the tornado’s agenda. The twister crossed the Base’s runways and missed a billion dollar line of B-1B bombers by less than one thousand feet. The southern part of the Base received F2-F3 damage. The Officer’s Club, Base Hospital and base housing were heavily damaged. But the tornado was growing in size and intensity.

andover8

A subdivision near the Sedgwick County/Butler County line was nearly completely leveled as the tornado grew to its highest intensity. As the tornado turned into an F5 monster, it set its sights on the Golden Spur Mobile Home Park in Andover about 6:45 p.m. Warnings mentioning Andover specifically were issued seven minutes before the tornado arrived; however, the sirens in Andover were not working. A police cruiser drove through the park sounding its sirens as a warning. Many of the residents had heard about the approaching tornado from local television coverage and headed to the park’s storm shelter. Others said they would not take shelter until the funnel was visible. Fortunately, the tornado was slow moving and highly visible, and many made it to shelter in time. Over 200 people were huddled in the shelter when the twister struck, annihilating 233 of the 241 homes. The tornado obliterated the mobile home community, killing thirteen people. Twisted frames were the only remains of many of the mobile homes.

The tornado thankfully moved into more rural territory northeast of Andover, crossing the Kansas Turnpike. Near El Dorado, the tornado literally bounced a huge oil tank over a half mile. When the tornado finally lifted about five miles north of El Dorado, it had been on the ground for forty five miles. A total of seventeen people in the Andover community lost their lives. Right after the Andover tornado lifted, the same storm produced another tornado that was captured on news video as it passed near on overpass on the Kansas Turnpike, which enforced the false belief that overpasses could provide safe shelter during tornadoes.

Large Tornado on the Ground Near Comanche, Texas

| 3:58 pm April 26, 2015

By Bill Murray, 3:58 pm Sunday

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Spotters report a large tornado on the ground near Comanche, Texas this afternoon. This is a little more than 100 miles southwest of Dallas.

FWD issues Tornado Warning [tornado: OBSERVED, tornado damage threat: CONSIDERABLE, hail: 4.25 IN] for Comanche [TX] till 4:45 PM CDT …AT 356 PM CDT…A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS LOCATED 7 MILES NORTHWEST OF COMANCHE…MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH.

Is the Severe Weather Over for Central Alabama? Yes!

| 6:35 pm April 25, 2015

2015-04-25_18-52-08

Yes!

The severe thunderstorm watch for East Central Alabama has been canceled as the last storms have moved into Georgia and no addiitonal storms are expected overnight.

We had one shot at severe weather this afternoon and evening across Central Alabama and it is done.

The ingredients that were in place over the area are diminishing now. The speed shear is diminishing as the upper level wind max departs to the north. Instabilities are slowly coming down as clouds cover the area. The convection near the Gulf Coast has effectively cut off additional moisture inflow into the area and drier air is moving in.

There should not be any more convection initiating tonight. There could be a few light showers as the cold front approaches from the north during the pre-dawn hours, but there won’t be any thunder.

A passing disturbance and conditionally unstable air caused by cold air aloft tomorrow could trigger a few light afternoon showers as well, but they will be a nuisance at worst, not heavy and not lasting very long at all.

Coosa County Damage Photos

| 6:22 pm April 25, 2015

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@auburnwde reported destruction of a barn in northern Coosa County caused by strong winds in the severe thunderstorm at 5:18 pm, four miles west of Stewartville on County Road 35. The damage is impressive and could have been caused by a tornado or straight line winds, hard to tell until the Weather Service surveys the damage. There were definitely strong winds, over 65 mph near the surface, shown on doplar radar.