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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Strong Storms Moving into the Tuscaloosa Area w/Lightning, R+

| August 8, 2016 @ 3:04 pm


Strong thunderstorms are moving into the Tuscaloosa area at this time.

Lots of lightning, heavy rain and gusty winds, but they are not severe.

Rainfall rates could exceed one inch per hour and localized flooding like we have seen in other places like Birmingham today is possible.

Heavy Rains in Downtown Birmingham Causing Minor Flooding

| August 8, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

A thunderstorm centered over the Birmingham Metro is dumping very heavy rainfall from Downtown along I-65 through Homewood to near Hoover.

Heavy rain is also falling in western Jefferson County between Pleasant Grove,, Hueytown and Fairfield.

The panel on the left shows the current radar at 12:48. The right panel shows how much rain has fallen with the yellow areas indicating more than one inch.

BHM area

One hour rainfall rates are averaging one half to one inch with over an inch having fallen near and just west of UAB and in the Homewood area.

Minor flash flooding is occurring in poor drainage areas and on roadways. Birmingham PD reports Richard Arrington Blvd blocked at 33rd street.

Be careful if you must be out and about. Remember, turn around, don’t drown! There is also some lightning as well.

An areal flood advisory has been issued for parts of Clay and Talladega Counties in East Alabama. Areas just southeast of Winterboro have seen over two inches of rain in the past couple of hours.

Some Heavy Upslope Rains over E/NE Alabama This Morning

| August 8, 2016 @ 11:34 am

Interesting setup across Alabama this morning as an extremely moist airmass was at least for a time, being lifted up by the mountains and foothills of Northeast and East Alabama, resulting in really heavy rainfall for parts of Etowah, St. Clair and Blount Counties.



The upslope conditions are being caused by an easterly low level flow around low pressure over South Georgia. The airmass that is being lifted has precipitable water values that are near the climatological maximums for early August. Precipitable water values are approaching 2.4 inches across the I-59 corridor.


Radar estimates indicate that the nearly stationary movement and very efficient rainfall processes produced 2-3 inches of rain along the Blount/Etowah County Line this morning. More heavy rain has fallen north of Odenville along US-411 in St. Clair County.

Convection is beginning to increase all across Central Alabama as well, in the areas which have seen the sun drive temperatures in to the middle 80s.

A strong thunderstorm was developing near Lincoln, with a good bit of lightning in it and echo tops over 40,000 feet.

Everything is drifting generally to the west southwest or southwest in the easterly flow.

Scattered Strong Storms Across Central Alabama

| August 7, 2016 @ 3:38 pm

8-7-2016 3-37-23 PM

Scattered strong storms have developed across Central Alabama this afternoon.

There is a nice cluster of storms over Clay, Randolph and Tallapoosa Counties of East Alabama. The strongest is northwest of Wedowee.

Another group of storms extends from Etowah County down to Steele in St. Clair County down through southern parts of the Birmingham Metro. The strongest storm of all is southeast of Chelsea in Shelby County.

There are several developing storms across Shelby County at this time.

Other developing storms are over northwestern Jefferson County up into southern Culman County near Smith Lake.

In South Central Alabama, there is a strong storm northeast of Marion.

Be alert for the lightning. That is the greatest threat from these storms. They will also have very heavy rain in spots along with wind gusts to 40 mph.

Another Alabama Summer Sunday

| August 7, 2016 @ 1:48 pm


A big cluster of showers popped up early this morning over West Central Alabama, bringing some brief heavy rain to Tuscaloosa County.

But otherwise, showers and storms have been slow to form as early morning clouds have held back temperatures a bit. It has been harder for the atmosphere to reach the tipping point for convection to happen. Temperatures are having to hit 90-91 degrees today for storms to really get going.

Low level lapse rates are strong, especially along and south of I-59. Mid level lapse rates aren’t so hot, so showers and storms won’t have a hard time getting going at the mercury rises, especially with a frontal system lying just to the north. But they will encounter more hostile conditions as they get into the mid levels of the atmosphere, above 15,000 feet.

There is not much dry air aloft and severe winds don’t look like they will be as much of a problem this afternoon. There will be gusty winds, perhaps as high as 40 mph however. With precipitable water values over 2 inches, heavy rain will be an issue. Of course, lightning is always a big issue with summer time thunderstorms. A house in Bessemer caught fire after a lightning strike hit it.

The morning run of the GFS is still on track with substantial rainfall amounts for Alabama over the next five, ten and fifteen days. 1.5-2 inches through Friday and over five inches over the next two weeks for much of Central Alabama. The Gulf Coast could see over ten inches.

The chance of tropical development along the Gulf Coast has diminished as the low over the northeastern Gulf has moved inland.

More Reasons to Take Pride in Our State – Good News From Alabama NewsCenter!

| August 5, 2016 @ 12:18 pm

Getting Google, bigger Benz, touting tourism, bankrolling Blazers, persuading Pokemon and a basil breakdown are part of this week’s good news from Alabama NewsCenter.

How Google came to choose Alabama for its $600 million data center


Alabama back-to- school shoppers find tax relief this weekend


Gathering backpacks and notebooks, APSO volunteers supply students with school tools


Sweet home Alabama meets the Big Apple with tourism push


Stain of 2010 BP oil spill long gone from Alabama’s Gulf Coast


Three Alabama cities have among lowest cost of living in the nation


Mercedes-Benz sets record U.S. sales in July, led by Alabama vehicles


Toyota Alabama engine plant marks 15 years of growth


Atmore lands $7 million aerospace project with 100 jobs


Ware and tear: Former Troy linebacker and Super Bowl star looking to return to Broncos


Alabama business dollars rolling in for return of UAB football


AHSAA shares record $1.8 million profit with Alabama high schools


Birmingham broadcaster builds beguiling model railroad in his home


Alabama businesses try to catch all customers as Pokémon goes beyond the game


NASA battles lunar dust, micrometeoroids and the heat of the sun in Alabama


Steve Davis, an Alabama Maker, is forging beauty by hand with Sunheart Metalworks


Balch & Bingham Birmingham boot camp helps prepare students for law school


Use plants to repel mosquitoes, Auburn University horticulturist advises


Samford University researcher studies possible use of basil against diabetes


UAB Medicine continues ascension in U.S. News & World Report rankings


Lakeshore Foundation brings the Rio Olympics and Paralympics to Birmingham


Dannon Project helps Alabama’s at-risk individuals thrive and survive


Caring for Alabama children is the norm for Elizabeth Wheatley in Fort Payne


The Little Mermaid, Oak Ridge Boys and a car show make perfect Can’t Miss Alabama weekend


The Gift Horse in Foley bakes apple cheese casserole into 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die


Alabama closes another impressive quarter for home sales from April to June


Birmingham second quarter home sales rise 10.1 percent in 2016


Wiregrass June home sales rise 7 percent from a year ago


Shoals June home sales up 7 percent over 2015


Morgan County year-to- date home sales through June up 4 percent over last year



The Weekly Gardener for August 15th

| August 5, 2016 @ 9:00 am

Each week, we sit down with Andy Hanna of Hanna’s Garden Center to talk about Central Alabama gardening. Here is this week’s Q&A.


Q. What are most people planting right now?

A. Ground covers and most evergreen trees or shrubs do fairly well throughout the year.  Conifers tend to do better in cooler weather. A lot of folks are sprucing up their Spring annuals and perennials now, but will likely need to replace those with Fall annuals (such as snapdragons, cabbage, kale and pansies) before the cold weather arrives.

Q. Can you recommend any trees or shrubs for planting now?
A. Yes. Junipers, ground covers, and other drought resistant plants (such as salvia and rosemary) usually do well. But remember, plants are only really drought resistant once they are established.  So, if you plant trees and shrubs now, be sure to water them regularly and properly through the Summer.

Come for the healthy plants.
Come back for the expertise.

Hanna’s Garden Center
5485 Highway 280 East Birmingham, AL 35242 | 205-991-2939
OPEN: Mon-Fri 8AM-6:00PM | Sat 8AM-5PM | Sun 11AM-5PM


Strong Storms in the Birmingham Metro, Not Severe, But Lightning, Gusty Winds, Rain

| August 2, 2016 @ 1:58 pm


Strong storms across the Birmingham Metro area are producing heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

The strongest storms are south of Pell City right now with others extending from Bessemer to Homewood, and east of US-280 southeast of Lake Purdy.

Significant weather alerts are depicted as peach colored polygons on the radar image.

The storms aren’t severe but they have gusty winds. Winds gusted to 42 mph at the Birmingham Airport at 1:07 p.m. but they haven’t received very much rain.

I have picked up 0.52″ in Vestavia and it is still raining heavily at 1:56 p.m.

Radar estimates show generally less than 0.5 inches per hour, but there are likely some one inch amounts so far in the areas west of US-280, especially west of I-65.

Air Force Hurricane Hunters Find TS Earl; Advisories Starting Soon

| August 2, 2016 @ 10:25 am


The NHC will initiate advisories on Tropical Storm Earl before 11 a.m. today.

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter found a 34 knot surface wind and a defined center just before 9:45 on the inbound leg in the northwestern quadrant of the storm. The center is southwest of Jamaica. The plane is on the outbound leg now in the southeast quadrant, where it has found a 35 knot surface wind. The strongest winds will probably be on the northeast side of course.

The pressure at the center was 1002 mb.

The GFS brings the center to Belize tomorrow night and briefly into the Bay of Campeche before final landfall in Northeast Mexico.

The storm will have no impact on Alabama.

Strong Storm over North Shelby County. Lightning, Heavy Rain, Gusty Winds.

| July 31, 2016 @ 5:22 pm
Clockwise from top left: 1. Base reflectivity 2. Composite reflectivity 3. Echo Tops 4. 1 hour rainfall

Clockwise from top left: 1. Base reflectivity 2. Composite reflectivity 3. Echo Tops 4. 1 hour rainfall

A strong storm has formed just south of Birmingham. The main action is from Pelham over Double Oak Mountain.

Another cell is along Highway 150 around Hoover extending to the Hoover Met.

Lots of lightning and brief heavy rain. Be alert as these dangerous storms approach!