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Heavy Storms Scattered About

| 5:36 pm July 13, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms continue to meander around parts of Central Alabama this afternoon.

Heavy storms are occurring near downtown Birmingham, near the Airport and from Springville to Altoona.

Others are over southern Marion, western Walker and northern Tuscaloosa Counties.

Movement is rather random.

Expect brief heavy rain and lightning if you get under one of these.

Showers and Storms Forming

| 11:49 am July 13, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms are forming in the heat and humidity across West Central and North Central Alabama. The thick field of growing cumulus clouds was the first sign this morning.

As expected, they are forming generally northwest of I-59 and that is where most of them should be through the afternoon.

They should die out late this afternoon.

Highs will make the lower and middle 90s in most spots, except for those lucky enough to pick up a cooling shower.

Showers and storms will increase starting late tomorrow and tomorrow night as a big upper trough develops over the Great Lakes, sending a bonafide cold front our way.

Afternoon Storms

| 6:04 pm July 12, 2014

Showers and storms have slowly grown across Central Alabama this afternoon as temperatures warmed into the 90s.

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Most of them are west of I-65, with the heaviest concentration over Fayette, northwestern Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties. Another decent one is over western Jefferson County over the Hueytown/Pleasant Grove area. To the south there are others over Hale, Bibb and Perry County.

The lone exception is straddling the St. Clair/Talladega County County south of Pell City.

Everything is moving southwest and south.

If you find yourself under one of these storms, expect heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

On This Date in 1980

| 10:00 am July 12, 2014

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Headlines on Saturday, July 12, 1980 focused on the Iranian hostage crisis, which was in its 292nd day. One of the hostages had been released by the Ayatollah for “humanitarian reasons”. The GOP was putting the finishing touches on its platform prior to their national convention in Detroit.

There were fears that Mt. Hood in Oregon was getting ready to erupt, a la Mount St. Helens, since quakes had been shaking the area. A hijacker in Seattle had been given $100,000 and a parachute as he seemed destined to be the next D.B. Cooper. The economy was in the tank, with talk that the extended recession was comparable to the Great Depression in many ways.

The movies that were playing then included The Shining and Airplane.

High temperatures from July 12, 1980 courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project

High temperatures from July 12, 1980 courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project. Click image to enlarge.

But the big news across the southern United States was the heat. Birmingham was in the middle of a thirteen day heat wave, with temperatures 90F or higher for those thirteen days. The mercury reached at least 100F on eight consecutive days. The high temperature at the Birmingham Airport topped out at 104F on that Saturday, the hottest it had been so far in the hot spell. The next day would see 106F, the hottest of the heat wave.

Air conditioning repair companies were doing a land office business. Bank managers resorted to putting blocks of ice in front of electric fans to “cool off the girls” in the drive-thrus. The local Coca-Cola bottler reported that soft drink sales were up 35 percent.

The weather page in the Birmingham News wistfully noted that it was midwinter in Australia.

The toll was beginning to rise across Alabama. At least four deaths had been reported so far. Before it was over, at least 120 Alabamians lost their lives to heat related illnesses. 200,000 chickens also succumbed to the extreme heat.

The June-September 1980 Heat Wave is the first billion dollar weather-related disaster in U.S. history. Damage to agriculture and related industries was estimated at $20 billion. The sweltering weather claimed the lives of over 10,000 Americans.

Storms Along Front

| 8:34 pm July 10, 2014

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Storms have developed this evening along a southward moving cool front.

The heaviest storm is in eastern St. Clair County, centered near Ragland. A significant weather advisory is in effect for this storm.

Others are forming along the Jefferson/Shelby County line, with cells south of Leeds, near Meadowbrook and northwest of Pelham.

The cells are moving east or east southeast at less than 10 mph.

Expect very heavy rain, dangerous lightning and gusty winds with the storms.

Storms Heavy in the Montgomery Area, More Overnight?

| 5:55 pm July 9, 2014

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Showers and thunderstorms continue across South Central Alabama this afternoon along an outflow boundary/pre-frontal trough that moved into the state overnight.

This activity has been especially heavy in the Montgomery area with torrential rains, gusty winds and tons of lightning. The storms are not severe, but they are still quite dangerous.

The NWS warns that 1 to 3 inches of rain has fallen in the Montgomery, Prattville and Wetumpka area and another 2 inches is poised to fall. The heaviest activity at 5:55 p.m. extends from the Montgomery area up both sides of I-85 toward Notasulga and Tuskegee.

Across the northern part of the area, storms are starting to form from Huntsville back over to the Tupelo area. These storms are associated with the cool front and should continue to develop through the evening hours. They should go downhill after 10 p.m., but storms will be possible through the night as the front approaches.

More storms will develop tomorrow, but it looks like improving conditions should arrive Friday for weekend.

Storms Starting to Fire

| 2:54 pm July 9, 2014
Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Clouds have held tough across much of the northern half of Alabama this morning in the wake of overnight storms that weakened as they pulled into the state.

There has been enough clearing for temperatures to heat into the middle and upper 80s in some spots and this has lent enough energy to the recipe to trigger a developing line of storms from Bibb across northern Chilton, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Chambers Counties. The storm northwest of Rockford is the strongest right now and has triggered a significant weather alert for parts of Coosa County. It will move east northeastward in the direction of Goodwater.

Additional storms will fire through the afternoon and last well into the night as a cool front sinks down from the north.

An isolated storm could become severe this afternoon with damaging winds, but the threat is small.

A Midnight Look at the Alabama Weather Situation

| 12:07 am July 9, 2014

Here is a look at the Alabama Weather Situation at Midnight.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Storms that developed today over Arkansas and western Tennessee, well ahead of a long cold front, have drifted southward this evening into Central Alabama, northern Mississippi and Northwestern Alabama.

As they encountered more stable air over the Tennessee Valley over the past couple of hours, they weakened a bit. But they seem to be making a bit of a comeback now in northwestern Alabama, as well as over in Northeast Mississippi. They seem to be taking advantage of some favorable ventilation aloft to hold together.

Lots of lightning right now in places like Florence, Russellville and Moulton. The NWS Huntsville estimated totals may have approached 5-6 inches in parts of eastern Lauderdale County today. 1.53 inches of rain fell in one hour between 10 – 11 p.m. tonight at the Muscle Shoals NWS Alabama Regional Airport. 0.46 inches of that fell in 13 minutes. Here is a radar estimate from the Hytop radar in North Alabama.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

FLash flooding was reported back in Hardemann and McNairy Counties just to the northwest of the Quad Cities. People were reported trapped in homes in some areas.

No watches or warnings at this hour, and really none are expected overnight. But you can never rule out the threat of a strong storm or two, and perhaps a rogue severe thunderstorm warning through the early morning hours. But the loss of the heating of the day is in our favor and the mesoscale models like the HRRR and the RPM predict that they will continue to weaken as they move slowly southeast.

Showers and storms will be fairly numerous later today (Wednesday) as the front drifts slowly southward. Some of them could be strong to severe. It wlll be interesting to see if the Storm Prediction Center includes parts of Alabama in their standard slight risk severe weather forecast. Their day two probabilities from yesterday were set at 5% for this area, which would not translate to a slight risk if that number holds steady. So probably not, but look out for strong to isolated severe storms later today with damaging winds, flooding rains and some hail possible.