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
The attached satellite graphic gives analysis for current features that will play in Alabama’s weather over the next several days. Blocking in Atlantic expands/further develops west into the eastern CONUS, while a developing/deepening low comes out of the Eastern Pacific to form a deep low over the West/Rockies.
This will result in an Omega block. It is called that because the jetstream flow resembles the Greek letter Omega. This type of setup tends to slow the progress of weather systems down and leads to a stagnant weather pattern.
The good news is, it is spring, so these patterns don’t last too long. But if you are under the high for nice weather you will want it to last forever…if you are under the low, you will hope that it quickly moves away so spring can return.
Unfortunately, Alabama will be nuder the low through Friday and maybe into Saturday. But, as I always say: I hate drought, so we will take the rain!
Sheldon Kusselson is our Resident Satellite Expert, having retired after a fantastic career as a satellite meteorologist with NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service. He occasionally sends us his wisdom to share with you!
UPDATE AT 704 PM
The NWS in Birmingham has issued an areal flood advisory for Bibb, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Sumter and Tuscaloosa Counties in West Alabama. Widespread 1-2 inch rainfall amounts have fallen across West Alabama with over two inches across parts of Fayette, Lamar and Pickens Counties. Those counties are not included because the heaviest rain has moved out of them.
Be alert is you are out tonight for localized flooding and water standing on roadways.
0.61 inches at the Airport in Birmingham now. I have picked up 0.58 inches here in Vestavia.
Strong thunderstorms continue this evening across eastern Mississippi into West Central Alabama. They extend from Jefferson and Shelby Counties southwest through Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Perry, Greene, Hale and Sumter Counties.
The storms have produced damaging winds in eastern Mississippi where the airmass is more unstable. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for Lauderdal and Jasper Counties in Mississippi, but the NWS in Birmingham is choosing to go with significant weather alerts, one step below a warning, for that dangerous storm between York and Livingston. This storm will push into Marengo County and eventually affect Demopolis.
That damaging wind threat will persist into the far southwestern counties like Clarke, Choctaw and Washington. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for these counties until midnight.
Choctaw and Washington Counties were just put under a severe thunderstorm warning until 745 p.m.
Severe thunderstorm watches blanket the landscape from the Alabama border across all of Central Mississippi, northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, northeastern Texas and southern Oklahoma.
Further north, across Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties, the severe threat is limited as there is not much if any, surface based instability. Our instability is coming from warm air that is being transported in by a low level jet stream at 5,000 feet. Heavy rain and lightning and some gusty winds are the main threat. You can see oall of the lightning in the lower left panel of the graphic.
A warm front has lifted northeast across the state on this Sunday, carrying a batch of light showers with it. Those showers are over northern Georgia at this hour. They extend northward into eastern Tennessee and Kentucky. There are storms over southern Illinois, associated with an upper level disturbance.
Temperatures are in the 60s over Northeast Alabama where skies have been mostly cloudy all day. 70s are commonplace in the sunny area over West Central Alabama. Areas from Birmingham southwest are mostly sunny with partly cloudy skies over Northwest Alabama.
Dewpoints are in the 20s in Northeast Alabama, but are moistening over the rest of Central and Southwest Alabama. They’re in the 40s over Mississippi now. This moistening trend will continue the rest of today and tonight. Precipitable waters are already approaching 1 inch and will be over 1.5 inches by tomorrow.
An upper ridge is being pushed up by the upper low over the Southwest, but its influence will be short lived. The upper low over the Southwest will weaken as it moves toward the Central Plains, but it will spit disturbances our way. The first will bring an area of showers and storms to the state starting late tomorrow morning. Rain and storms will increase during the afternoon and into the overnight.
A final round of rain and storms will push into the state late Monday night ahead of a cold front. The rain will end Tuesday morning.
The system looks wetter than previously indicated, and many spots along and north of I-20 will pick up over 1.5 inches of rain between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Lesser amounts will occur to the south. Flooding should not be a big concern unless heavy storms set up in one area for prolonged periods.
Severe weather is not a concern either, although in Alabama, we always expect the unexpected. Undoubtedly, there will be a warning or two in there somewhere Monday into early Tuesday. We will be monitoring.
The forecast past that is a bit muddled, but Wednesday looks nice with rain returning mainly to southwestern sections Thursday.
The good news is: the weekend looks perfect!
Highs on Friday were in the middle and upper 60s across Central Alabama. It was 66F in Anniston and Birmingham, 67F at Calera and 68F at Tuscaloosa. Temperatures this morning are in the 30s across areas from Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Blount, Etowah and Cherokee Counties, with 40s elsewhere. Frost occurred in many of the colder locations. Today’s highs will be several degrees cooler as a cold airmass continues to flow into the state on the backside of a big trough of low pressure that is setting up over the eastern United States. In fact, several areas north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 50s today.
PATCHWORK QUILT: The patchwork quilt shown on the watch, warning, advisory page this morning is thanks to a slew of frost and freeze watches and warnings from eastern Nebraska to the Mid Atlantic Coast. There are a few fire weather watches and warnings through the Carolinas and Virginia as well.
CHILLY START TOMORROW: Sunday will start off a lot like today with temperatures in the 30s and lower 40s and little frost in the normally colder locations.
FREEZE POSSIBLE: Valleys in North and North Central Alabama could see freezing conditions this morning and again Sunday morning, and growers need to keep this in mind when it comes to protecting vulnerable plants.
SUNDAY MODERATION: A warm front will come north on Sunday, allowing temperatures to moderate back into the upper 60s. There could be a few light showers with the northward moving warm front.
NEXT WEEK: Monday looks dry and mild with a high in the upper 70s, then we will deal with a round of showers and thunderstorms Monday night into Tuesday. The overall severe weather threat for now looks pretty low, and rain amounts of 1/2 to 3/4? are likely. Then, by Wednesday, the best chance of rain shifts down into far South Alabama. Thursday and Friday will be mostly sunny and mild with a high in the 70s.
AT THE BEACH: Dry and pleasant weather continues on the Gulf Coast from Panama City Beach over to Gulf Shores through Monday; showers and storms return Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs mostly in the 70s
WEATHERBRAINS:. This week, TV mets Robin Reed and Brett Watts talked about the future of the business. Check out the weekly netcast that’s all about weather at www.WeatherBrains.com. You can also subscribe on iTunes. You can watch the show live at live.bigbrainsmedia.com You can also see the show on the James Spann 24×7 weather channel on cable or satellite or directly over the air on the dot 2 feed.
STORM SPOTTER TRAINING TODAY: Storm Spotter Xtreme is today at the BJCC from 9am to 2pm. This will feature both the basic and advanced SKYWARN classes, along with a session from Kevin Laws of the Birmingham NWS office. And, if you come, you get free admission to the Alabama International Auto Show, going on at the BJCC that same day. There is no cost and no need to register. Just show up with a curious mind. Kids 10 and older will also enjoy this if they love weather and want to learn more. The entrance for everyone attending is the East Exhibition Hall entrance, go left and enter the doors marked North Meeting rooms C-I adjacent to the bathrooms before you get to the escalators on the right wall. Please help us make the severe weather warning process better!
Vikings, ventures, vehicles and vittles were the subjects of some our favorite stories from Alabama NewsCenter this past week. Do yourself a favor and spend some time exploring some of the good news from across the state.
After Midnight, The Storms Are Finally Moving Out
That’s right, after a last minute hurrah of Tornado warnings, the event has finally winded down for Alabama. All of the thunderstorms have now pushed into Georgia, and the atmosphere in Alabama has settled down. There are a few pesky showers that are trailing behind the main line of storms, but these should just be rainmakers with a clap or two of thunder.
The Tornado Warning for Barbour County has been cancelled, as the storm responsible for the warning has now pushed over into Quitman and Clay counties in Georgia.
DAMAGE: Multiple reports of damage has come in from across the state. Power outages and trees are down with a possible tornado in Beauregard. Trees have been reported down in Jefferson, Walker, and Clay counties. Also there have been reports of cars damaged by fallen trees and fences blown over. Really won’t know the whole story until daybreak arrives.
FOG MOVING IN: Skies will clear out, but visibility may be hindered by dense fog. Due to that, a Dense Fog Advisory has been issued until 8:00 AM CDT for much of the western two-thirds of the area.
RAIN TOTALS: Here are some rain totals from this event:
Birmingham Airport – 0.36 inches.
Tuscaloosa – 0.24 inches
Anniston – 0.62 inches
Gadsden – 0.33 inches
Shelby County Airport – 0.30 inches
OVERNIGHT: Once these pesky showers move out of the state, you should remain dry. Lows tonight should drop into the upper 40s for the northern half of the area, and lower to mid 50s for the southern half.
The storms that were responsible for the warnings in Lee and Russell counties has pushed over into Georgia.
A well-defined debris signature is showing up on Radar, just north of US 82. If you know people in the path of this storm, get in touch with them and tell them to seek shelter immediately. Warning is still in effect until 12:45 AM CDT.
Storms that are still in the state are lined up along the I-85 corridor from the GA/AL state line, back to just east of Montgomery, and down to Butler county, just east of I-65. There is currently a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for Bullock, Macon, and Montgomery counties until midnight CDT.
There is still a limited severe threat for areas west of the line of storms. The main threat will be from damaging straight-line winds and quarter-size hail. Heavy rain and frequent lightning can be expected with this line of storms.
Back to the west of the line, the severe threat is over and skies will start to clear out during the overnight hours. This will allow the low temperatures to drop down into the upper 40s to lower 50s for the northern half of the state.
Damage reports are still coming in from across the state. Multiple reports of trees and power lines being knocked down, along with damage to cars and fences from tonight’s storms. The total extent of damage will probably not be known until daylight.
A Significant Weather Advisory has been issued for central Elmore and southeastern Tallapoosa counties until 11:15 PM CDT. A strong storm was located at Santuck and just south of Equality. Storm was moving east at 40 MPH. Heavy rains, frequent lightning, winds up to 50 MPH, and some small hail can be expected.
Locations in the storm’s path include: Wetumpka, Eclectic, Red Hill, Kent, Tallassee, and Notasulga.
A Significant Weather Advisory has been issued for Montgomery county until 11:15 PM CDT. A strong storm was located at Cantelous and just south of Prattville. Storm was moving east at 45 MPH. Heavy rains, frequent lightning, winds up to 50 MPH, and some small hail can be expected.
Locations in the storm’s path include: Hunter, Montgomery, Millbrook, Coosada, Madison, Snowdoun, Blue Ridge, and Pike Road.