A post frontal band of showers is progressing across Alabama tonight, with a thin line of heavy showers just ahead of it along the actual cold front.
There is one heavy thunderstorm approaching Marion in Perry County with frequent lightning and heavy rain. It will make it into Chilton County around Maplesville before 7:15 and move to near Clanton just after 7:30. No a threat to become severe right now. In fact, the storm seems to have weakened a bit in the past few radar scans.
There could be a little lightning in the cell in Clay County as well, although it is not showing up on my lightning output right now.
The cold air is oozing southeastward. It is 36F in Columbus MS and 76F just down highway 82 in Montgomery last hour.
It”s 18F at Harrison in NW Arkansas and 3F at Denver. It is a bone chilling -17F at Glasgow, MT.
The I-59 corridor should get to the middle 30s overnight, with readings below freezing over Northwest Alabama. The rain is ending in Northwest Alabama but may not come to a complete end for everyone in the I-59 corridor overnight. Scattered showers will continue in the 59 corridor and points southeast Saturday morning, increasing areawide tomorrow afternoon.
Highs tomorrow will range from the lower 40s Northwest to upper 40s in the 59 corridor to lower 50s Southeast.
It is a tale of two airmasses across Central Alabama at this hour.
Our frontal system is basically stationary in the I-59 corridor.
It is 61F at the Birmingham Airport and 76F at Calera. 77F at Anniston, and 52F at Tuscaloosa. 78F at Alex City and 46F at Jasper.
It is 37F at Haleyville and 32F at Olive Branch MS, on US-78 just south of Memphis. It is 32F at Oxford as well.
Light showers are over parts of Cullman, Winston, Marion, Lamar and Fayette Counties.
Along and ahead of the front, heavier showers were occurring from Sumter and Greene Counties up into Bibb, Shelby and southern Jefferson Counties over to the Pell City and Anniston areas.
The airmass is becoming marginally unstable ahead of the front in the warm sector. Bu the strong wind shear is behind the frnot. Some of the showers ahead of the front will grow into storms over the next few hours. Can’t rule out one or two of them becoming strong, and there is a small chance of a storm becoming severe, but the chance is very, very small.
SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM TO OUR NORTH, NORTHWEST AND WEST
A wintry mix is occurring this morning from southern Ohio through Indiana and Southern Illinois, much of western Kentucky, southeastern Missouri, much of Arkansas, western Tennessee and northwestern Mississippi.
North of a line from Little Rock to Louisville to Columbus it is mostly snow. South of it, up to 0.1 inches of freezing rain per hour is possible.
Roads are very hazardous over parts of Arkansas. Some decent snowfall accumulations have been reported over southern Missouri.
Ice was starting to accumulate at the Memphis Airport as of 10:30. Roads are becoming slick in parts of western Tennessee.
Ice storm and winter storm warnings are in effect for areas to the west and northwest of Alabama. If you are traveling to the west or northwest, check local weather conditions.
Here are the latest NWS advisories on a national map:
It looks like it might be time to buy stock in a rain gear company if you are looking at the forecast for Central Alabama over the next 7-14 days.
But the consolation prize is that much of the work week ahead will be warm before colder weather invades for the weekend. In fact, by Wednesday and Thursday, highs will be in the 70s, some ten degrees or more above normal.
But for today, it is a mixture of sun and high clouds. Those high clouds will be thickening from the west ahead of our next weather maker, an upper level trough that will pass to our north tomorrow and Tuesday.
Patches of rain (mainly light) will move into western Alabama tonight and be with us much of tomorrow. They should thin out on Tuesday, but won’t be completely out of the picture as southerly winds start to ramp up moisture levels. The increased moisture will conspire with a touch of sunshine both Tuesday and more so on Wednesday, which will push the mercury into the middle 60s Tuesday and 70s on Wednesday. The combination will trigger more showers Wednesday.
Then by Thursday, an approaching trough will find enough instability to trigger showers and some storms.
It looks like the best chance for rain and storms, and heaviest rainfall, will be on Friday as the cold front slowly approaches from the northwest. No severe weather is expected.
The bad news is that the precipitation chances remain high behind the front, which is always troublesome in winter, even if it is meteorological winter. The GFS thinks it might rain right through the weekend, but keeps us arm enough for it to be liquid. Weekend highs will struggle to reach 50F.
Where has the year gone? Now we find ourselves in the twelfth month of this year, and it will be New Years before you know it. By the calendar, winter starts on December 21st, but meteorologically speaking, it begins on December 1st. Here in Birmingham, we enter our stretch of three coldest months at the beginning of December.
December is the second coldest month in Birmingham, with a mean temperature of 46.1 degrees.
We start off with an average high of 60F, and that is the last time we will see that until late February. By the end of the month, the average high will be 54F. The December 1st average low of 39F will drop to 34F by the end of the month.
The warmest it has ever been in any December in the Magic City was 80F on December 7, 1951. The coldest it has ever been is 1F twice, on December 13, 1962 and December 23, 1989.
The average rainfall during the month is 4.45 inches. 13.98 inches fell in December 1961, establishing the mark for the most rainfall in any December. The heaviest rainfall on a single day in any December is 7.70 inches on December 27, 1942. It normally rains on 10.4 days in the month, with 1 inch or more on 1.4 days.
On average, 0.1 inches of snow falls in December. Eight inches of snow fell in December 1963, the most ever. All of that fell on New Years Eve in one of Birmingham’s most memorable snowfalls.
Only January features less sunshine, with the 12th month averaging 46% of possible sunshine, the 1st month 42%.
The North Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ends today.
There were thirteen named storms, but only two hurricanes this year in the Atlantic.
Most interestingly, for the first time since 1994, there were no major hurricanes. There have only been 33 such seasons since 1851.
The Accumulated Cyclone Energy index (ACE) is a measurement of the wind energy over the lifetime of a tropical cyclone, measured in 6 hour increments. The 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season will go down as the 14th slowest since 1851 with an ACE of 30. It is the slowest ACE value since 1983, when a 17 was posted.
Here is a quick rundown of this season’s named storms:
Tropical Storm Andrea:
The only U.S. landfalling storm of 2013 brought heavy rain to the Florida Panhandle on June 6th. Andrea formed from a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico on June 5th. It strengthened to a 65 mph tropical storm with a central pressure of 992 mb just before landfall near Steinhatchee, Florida. Its biggest impact was rainfall of 3-5 inches from Florida to New England. A storm surge of 4.55 feet was observed at Cedar Key, Florida.
Tropical Storm Barry:
A tropical depression formed over the southwestern Caribbean on June 17th, made landfall in Belize, crossed the Yucatan, became a tropical storm over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz early on the 20th.
Tropical Storm Chantal:
Crossed Lesser Antilles as tropical storm on July 9th, but dissipated over the eastern Caribbean.
Tropical Storm Dorian:
Formed and weakened over the open Atlantic, but redeveloped near the Bahamas
Tropical Storm Erin:
Cape Verde storm that curved north prematurely and dissipated
Tropical Storm Fernand:
Formed over the SW Caribbean and moved inland in Mexico a short time later.
Tropical Storm Gabrielle:
Short-lived, weak tropical storm that formed and dissipated in the Caribbean Sea south of Puerto Rico, but reformed close to Bermuda.
Another Cape Verde storm for the fishes that had a split life.
Another Bay of Campeche storm that impacted Mexico.
Tropical Storm Jerry:
Formed and dissipated over the open Atlantic.
Tropical Storm Karen:
Threatened the northern Gulf Coast, but fizzled just before landfall.
Tropical Storm Lorenzo:
Another storm for the fishes over the open Atlantic.
Tropical Storm Melissa:
Named as a subtropical storm over the open Atlantic that acquired tropical characteristics.