Author Archive: Bill Murray

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

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Festivals, Football & Innovative Feats – Our Alabama NewsCenter Partners Share More Good News Stories!

| October 14, 2016 @ 11:58 am

From to block prints to Broadway stardom, from shrimp festivals to state-of-the-art sawmills, and from ‘Hey Day’ to Halloween safety, our Alabama NewsCenter partners bring us more reasons to take pride in Alabama. Here are a few of our favorite good news stories:

Football preview: Third Saturday in October finds heated rivals Alabama, Tennessee in Top 10 matchup


Spend your weekend indulging in fall festivals with Can’t Miss Alabama


Deadline looms for those who want to qualify to vote


Alabama’s ‘Hamilton’ connection: Michael Luwoye now is alternate to lead in biggest show on Broadway


Birmingham healthcare company helps men get innovative new treatment for prostate cancer


Alabama Maker Debra Riffe’s linoleum block prints are handcrafted history


UAB employees rally around one of their own fighting breast cancer


Community rallies around two elementary school teachers battling breast cancer


Alabama holds onto No. 1 ranking in math, science and English Advanced Placement growth


Make Halloween Safety a priority


Governor announces Two Rivers Lumber Co. to build state-of-the-art sawmill in Demopolis


Alabama Community College System hires head of nation’s top-ranked workforce training program


LEAP sets stage for Shades Valley students’ futures in skilled trades, engineering and technical jobs


Katy’s Katfish makes list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die


Seafood Nutrition Partnership engages chef ambassador as part of national public health campaign


Take Action: Follow these tips from Dr. Josh Klapow to stay safe in parking decks


Tom Martin, Alabama Power and the founding of Southern Research


UA Center produces documentary on Bankhead family


Junior League of Birmingham celebrates 95 years of helping women


Alabama Bright Light Yohance Owens implores residents to invest in their neighborhoods


Students carry on Auburn tradition of saying “Hey”


Home sales in Calhoun County through August up 18 percent over 2015


Shoals area home sales through August up from same period last year


Wiregrass year-to-date home sales through August up 7 percent over last year


Cullman year-to-date home sales through August up over same period in 2015


Bermuda In the Eye!

| October 13, 2016 @ 10:27 am

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.

Powerful Hurricane Nicole Drawing a Bead on Bermuda with 125 mph Winds

| October 13, 2016 @ 8:52 am

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.

Good News Stories From Our Alabama NewsCenter Friends Make Us Alabama-Proud

| October 7, 2016 @ 10:44 am

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.

Football preview: Crimson Tide, Tigers face tough SEC road games; UNA game ‘caned out’

Alabama Power crews ready to support storm restoration efforts in Georgia

Enjoy a bit of Oktoberfest all weekend long with Can’t Miss Alabama

Railroad Park brings ice skating to downtown Birmingham

Marvel Comics brings the thunder to Alabama

‘Sky’s the limit’ for an Alabama Maker with the code for success

Strawberry pretzel salad makes list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die

Flu shots really work, so roll up your sleeve

Carla ‘The Truth’ Youngblood kicks off breast cancer comedy tour at Birmingham’s Carver Theatre

$8 million grant to support research to repair hearts with bioengineered patch

Alabama Launchpad entrepreneurship program extends reach

Birmingham workshop to explore cursive writing debate

Study shows risk factor prevention should be addressed at all ages

Meet Dr. Josh Klapow – the voice of ‘Take Action’

Southern Research drug clofarabine links leukemia patient, scientist

Jack Secrist talks about discovering a life-saving drug

Southern Research at 75: ‘Boss Kettering’ provides key early support

#AskAnArchivist takes over Twitter, kicks off American Archives Month

Alabamians celebrate Fiesta at Linn Park

Alabama Power welcomes college student volunteers at Renew Our Rivers cleanup

Morgan County home sales through August up 4 percent over same period last year

Lee County home sales in August up 16 percent over 2015

Montgomery home sales through August rise over same period in 2015

Mobile home sales in August up 10 percent over last year

Matthew Getting Better Organized; Will Bring Big Impact to Florida, Georgia, Carolinas

| October 5, 2016 @ 12:17 pm

Hurricane Matthews seems to be recovering from its trek over the mountains of Cuba and Hispaniola late this morning. Deep convection is increasing and expanding around the center.

The Air Force plane in the storm right now found that the central pressure in this last pass through the center was 964 mb, but didn’t find the exact center, so the central press is slightly lower. On the 10 a.m. advisory, the central pressure was officially listed at 962 mb.


Matthew is on a northwesterly course now, being steered by the big mid-level high over the Atlantic. In this interesting animation of the pressure up at about 18,000 feet, the 500 millibar constant pressure level, you can see the western edge of the bubble of high pressure, which is deflecting the hurricane toward Florida. It should eventually allow Matthew to turn north and northeast by Friday as the western edge of the high is eroded.


Upper level conditions are favorable for the storm to strengthen some over the next 36 hours or so as the hurricane is located under an upper level high pressure system. Wind shear will begin to increase by Friday and the storm should start weakening slowly. But Matthew could remain a major hurricane with top winds of at least 120 mph through Friday.

Hurricane warnings are in effect from near Hollywood FL to north of Daytona Beach. A hurricane watch extends to near the Florida/Georgia border.

The official track brings the center to near Cape Canaveral Friday morning then begins the turn. But this parallel track to the coast means that a variety of tropical storm and hurricane conditions will occur all along the East Coast of Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

Just a small deviation of the track could bring a landfall of the center and a higher storm surge and wind impact for areas near and to the right of the center. 4-7inches of rain is expected, and storm surge could reach 5-8 feet in the worst case scenario, with widespread 3-6 feet surge all along the East Coast of Florida.

Matthew a Little Stronger; Huge Impact for Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba; Close Call for U.S. this Week.

| October 2, 2016 @ 2:58 pm


Hurricane Matthew appears to be strengthening again this afternoon while describing a small cyclonic loop. The overall motion continues to be northwesterly at about 5 mph. Maximum winds are 145 mph. The center of Matthew is about 275 miles south of the western tip of the Tiburon Peninsula in southern Haiti.

Matthew will bring huge effects to Haiti, Jamaica and eastern Cuba. It has taken the slightly further east track predicted by the European model and the center will likely make landfall on the very vulnerable Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti then weave over the eastern tip of Cuba. Hurricane warnings cover the entire coastline of Haiti, Jamaica and eastern Cuba. Let’s look at the threats to these locations.

WIND: Tropical storm force winds will reach Jamaica and Haiti overnight tonight, making preparations nearly impossible, so residents are being urged to finish those preps today. Hurricane conditions will spread across the western tip of Haiti Monday night and then across eastern Cuba Tuesday morning. The area of hurricane force winds is very small right now, despite the overall intensity, reaching out only about 20-30 miles.

RAINFALL: 15-25 inches of rain will spread across southern Haiti, with up to 40 inches possible. This will create deadly flooding and mudslides.

SURGE: Devastating surge will inundate coastal areas of Haiti and Cuba, with surge heights running 6-11 feet. 3-5 feet will affect Jamaica.

BAHAMAS UP NEXT: Matthew will slice through the Bahamas starting Tuesday night through Wednesday as a major hurricane. The mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and eastern Cuba will knock a little but of the stuffing out the storm, but it still should be a major hurricane when it gets to the Bahamas. Wind shear will begin to increase, but the storm will be over warm water, so it should maintain strength.

STRENGTH GOING FORWARD: Matthew will move into slightly cooler water north of the Bahamas and wind shear will begin to increase, so the idea is that Matthew should start to slowly weaken by Tuesday. Still, it will likely be at least a category two hurricane through the end of the week.

THREAT TO THE U.S.: Matthew will spend Thursday menacing northeastern Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The East Coast will be holding its breath, hanging on every model run, and hoping the storm turns out to sea. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty about he eventual track, which is often the case with a hurricane that is running the East Coast. Just a minor variation in course can make a big difference in impact.

DECIDING FACTOR: The big ridge of high pressure centered over the Atlantic could push the storm into the U.S. East Coast. But the upper low over the Great Lakes wants to erode the western end of that ridge and open a channel for the hurricane to escape to the northeast this week. The battle will be to see whether the ridge can build back in or not. Indications are that the escape route will remain open, which would allow Matthew to escape the trap and keep the U.S. East Coast safe. It will be an interesting, nervous week.

MORNING RUNS: The European has come back to showing a more westerly track that leads to a close call along the Outer Banks of North Carolina and still hints that the hurricane could affect New England in about 10 days. The GFS is in pretty good agreement with that theory up through the Outer Banks, but carries it well east of New England. Stay tuned.

Matthew Close to Cat Five Intensity

| September 30, 2016 @ 9:49 pm


We haven’t seen a category five hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since 2007, a year that saw two of them (Felix and Dean).

Matthew may be about to change that.

Hurricane Matthew has been intensifying rapidly for the past 24 hours in the Central Caribbean. Between 4 p.m. CDT yesterday and 4 p.m. today, Matthew’s central pressure dropped from 993 millibars to 949 millibars, or 44 millibars. That officially satisfies the 42 millibar drop that defines rapid deepening.


Its central pressure has dropped to 944 millibars shortly before 8:30 p.m. CDT tonight, a 51 millibar drop in 28.5 hours. The plane estimated surface winds of 158.8 mph, which is very close to the category five threshold of 160 mph. The eye is closed with a diameter of 12 nautical miles.

The storm continues moving west southwest. It is expected to turn northwest tomorrow night and will impact Jamaica Sunday night and Monday. It is forecast to have top winds of 120 mph at that time, making it a category three hurricane. But it could be stronger.

It will cross eastern Cuba and move through the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday. It is too early to tell if Matthew will strike the U.S. The general indication is that the hurricane will turn north and northeast after coming menacingly close to the coast between Florida, the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

There were six category five hurricanes between 2003 and 2005. Wilma was the last in that group, and the last major hurricane to hit the United States.

Prepare for Takeoff: Start Your Weekend with Good News Stories from Alabama NewsCenter!

| September 30, 2016 @ 11:29 am

From Fiesta, festivals & flea markets to ships, planes & automobiles, our Alabama NewsCenter Partners capture what is happening across our state and people who are making Alabama great.  Get your weekend started with these good news stories!

Enjoy a weekend of Fiesta, festivals, flea markets, art shows and more!


Football preview: Lashlee takes over AU offense, Tide gets back to SEC play


Nation’s 26th littoral combat ship will bear Mobile’s name


CAE USA on track to open key Alabama Army aviation training center


Milestone: Honda produces 4 millionth Alabama-made vehicle


Japanese investment in Alabama fuels many industries


Treatment allows WorkPlay’s Joe Benintende to walk after seven years in wheelchair


Less fortunate children at Eufala Primary, other schools get weekend meals, thanks to Southeast APSO


Necessity drove this mother of invention to become an Alabama Maker


Troy University-Phenix City at the center of downtown riverfront revival


Go Build Alabama receives national award for student engagement

2016-09-30_10-00-45awardLegacy Arena at the BJCC celebrates 40th anniversary


Self-published artist books made by UAB students now part of Birmingham Museum of Art collection


Alabama Power participates in ‘Be Ready Day’


UA workshop helps law enforcement interact with deaf


Birmingham home sales through August up 9 percent over same period during 2015


Lake Martin area’s August home sales unchanged from 2015


Baldwin County residential sales through August up 3 percent over 2015

Huntsville August home sales eclipse 600 units for first time since 2007


Soaring to New Heights — Good News Stories from Our Friends at Alabama NewsCenter!

| September 26, 2016 @ 9:00 am

From Airbus to artistic expression, from channels of communication to coal country, and from musicians to medical advances, our Alabama NewsCenter friends inspire us with Good News Stories from across the state.  Here are a few of our favorites!

Samford senior sports marketing student chosen for coveted ESPN internship


Alabama jobs rising in manufacturing, bioscience fields


Southern Research studies ways to spur innovation, new jobs in coal country


Smoked macaroni and cheese from New Market Barbecue makes list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die


In Fairhope, Alabama Maker Brian Kane brings the brew


Taylor Hicks busy with new music, cable TV series and upcoming Birmingham concert


UA workshop helps law enforcement interact with deaf


Airbus Alabama has the Spirit


Big Epidemiology: Detective work with millions of lives at stake


UAB fight against cancer happening across many fronts


The economic impact of cancer research


UAB partners with local organizations to launch Park Prescription program in Birmingham


Love inspired the Red Barn, which helps hurting children learn about love


Power to Play grant program expands to support the arts


Alabama Power Refrigerator Art contest inspires creativity in students


At East Alabama Motor Speedway, racing is a family tradition


Volunteers, multiple organizations support Village Creek cleanup, park project


Alabama Secretary of State observes Russian elections, deploys sports celebs to boost voting at home


‘Pigs Fly’ again for Red Mountain’s Keith Cromwell in New York reunion concert


Alabama year-to-date home sales through August up 7 percent over 2015


Gulf Coast condo sales in August up over same month in 2015


Huntsville August home sales eclipse 600 units for first time since 2007


Gadsden home sales through August up 18 percent over same period in 20152016-09-25_10-52-46gadsden

Can’t Miss Alabama has your first fall weekend all covered up


Will the Record Be Unbroken? By and By, We Will Tell.

| September 25, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

By and by, we will find out whether the U.S. streak of no landfalling major hurricanes will remain intact. It was been 10 years 11 months and 2 days since a major hurricane hit the United States (Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005). That record obliterated the old record of eight years set in the 1860s. That’s 131 months 2 days. That’s 570 weeks. That’s an amazing 3,990 days.

DROUGHT BUSTER? Often, we look to dying tropical systems to spell the end of a southeastern drought. Let’s just hope it does come on the business end of a major hurricane.

MATTHEW THIS WEEK? The tropical wave that will likely become Matthew most likely is about 1350 miles east of the southern Windward Islands this afternoon. Low pressure should develop by Tuesday as the system approaches the southern Antilles. There is a chance that it will be a tropical storm as it enters the southeastern Caribbean. It will be very far to the south, hugging the coast of Venezuela before entering the Central Caribbean late next week. Then it will be entering very favorable conditions and we could be dealing with a major hurricane as it approaches Jamaica or Hispaniola next weekend.

IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY: After that it could affect Cuba, the Florida Keys, western Florida, the Florida Panhandle, the Central Gulf Coast, the Bahama, or Mexico. It could miss the United States entirely. Nothing like a specific forecast, huh? But it is just impossible to say at this point. Suffice to say, everyone with interests along the Gulf Coast will want to keep one eye on the progress of the system over the coming two weeks.

MODEL MADNESS: It’s still model madness and a voodoo sandwich at this point, with every run of the model controls pointing to a very different solution. The ensemble output of the two global models is still all over the board as one would expect, but some consistency did emerge last night and this morning.

Here is the output of the GFS Ensembles showing possible tracks. You can see that it is focusing on the area between the Florida Keys, South Florida and the Bahamas up into the Carolinas.


Here is one set of the European model’s individual ensemble members for Thursday morning the 6th based on last evening’s run. The ensemble runs come by varying the input slightly each time to produce a different possible result. When there is good agreement among the members, you have have more confidence in that model run. You can see all of the different ideas on the table in the various outputs:


The just shows some of the various options on the table for no.

There is actually one more set of ensemble outputs to go with these. But I counted up all 50 ensemble members this morning, and the winner (or loser) was the Florida Keys or the Bahamas with 16 of the 50 runs targeting them. There was about a 50/50 split between the Keys and the Bahamas. Interesting to note that Alabama/Mississippi region showed as a landfall point for 4 of the members. The biggest majority was no storm or no landfall. That seems unrealistic at this time.

Here is the control run of the European from the morning. It shows a hard right turn into Hispaniola on Wednesday on Tuesday October 4th.


Here is the control from the GFS for the same time:


It shows a similar solution to the European. If that materializes, the U.S. landfalling major hurricane record may remain remain unbroken. And we shall remain dry.

REST OF THE TROPICS: Karl is now a post tropical storm over the North Atlantic. Advisories have been discontinued. Karl passed south of Bermuda Friday night and Saturday morning, bringing tropical storm force gusts to the island nation along with heavy rains. About 800 homes were without power yesterday and there were big swells and waves. No injuries were reported. Bermuda is used to passing hurricanes.