Author Archive: Brian Peters

Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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WeatherBrains 568: Calling the Ambulance Now

| December 6, 2016 @ 5:20 am

WeatherBrains Episode 568 is now online (December 5, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Brian CosgroveTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a Research Hydrologist for the National Weather Service (NWS). He is the National Water Model Lead. He has been responsible for the implementation of the groundbreaking and gamechanging technology for the National Weather Service. Brian Cosgrove, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 88 at Tampa (Vandenburg), FL, and -9 at Stanley, ID;
  • Slight risk of severe weather over extreme SE US;
  • National snow analysis shows 32 percent snow cover across Lower 48;
  • Going to get cold across the eastern half of the country;
  • Nice rains over Southeast US but more flood issue in SE Texas; and
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer encounters a bunch of technical problems, so the email bag will be summarized next week.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101:

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 568:

Office of Water Prediction

To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

Picks of the Week:

Brian Cosgrove – Office of Water Prediction

Bill Murray – Gets the fog horn!

Brian Peters – BloomSky weather station

Kevin Selle – Fog time lapse from Wichita Falls

James Spann – SPC Storm-Scale Ensemble of Opportunity

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Fog dome caught on camera

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Rick Smith, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

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Wet, Wet, Wet

| December 4, 2016 @ 7:06 am

It was a rather wet overnight period for North and Central Alabama with widespread rainfall that totaled generally a third of an inch for many locations. At sunrise, the radar was fairly active across the state with the bulk of the rain in an area from Birmingham to Montgomery to Columbus, GA, to Rome, GA, and back to Birmingham.

For folks heading to the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida, clouds and rain will prevail through the middle part of the week. Highs will be in the 60s, while lows will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Late in the week, the highs will fall into the 50s as the weather turns drier. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The closed low over northern Mexico slowly moves into Texas today and tonight while a trough in the northern stream moves quickly by. This should lead to a bit of a break in the rain this evening and into early Monday, but the clouds stick around and the easterly flow keeps us cool today and tonight.

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That closed low ejects northeastward Monday and Tuesday as a surface low forms in the Northwest Gulf of Mexico and moves northeastward into the southern Appalachians. The SPC has outlined a slight risk for severe storms along the Gulf Coast from Southeast Louisiana across southern Mississippi and Southwest Alabama into the Florida Panhandle. A marginal risk for severe weather extends northward into Central Alabama but is kept south of Birmingham. It looks likely that the highest CAPE values will remain along the Central Gulf Coast, but the GFS also showed a brief surge in CAPE values along and just ahead of the front as it moves across Central Alabama during the morning Tuesday. This will need to be watched for the potential for severe weather. Temperatures should surge well into the 60s early Tuesday morning as the warm front makes its way by us.

Rainfall during the next couple of days is still expected to be in the range of 1.5 inches to 3 inches across much of North and Central Alabama. Like the last event, this will help to put a good dent in the drought conditions, but even with good rains, our deficit will still be 5 to 7 inches.

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The upper trough zips out of the picture late Tuesday and Wednesday, so we should see our weather dry out for the afternoon Tuesday and Wednesday. This is where we run into model differences between the GFS and the ECMWF. A broad trough comes across the eastern US Thursday with a surface low in Canada. A cold front is forecast to move briskly across the eastern US on Thursday. The GFS is very conservative on rain potential for Thursday while the ECMWF is much more bullish bringing another round of rain and storms across the Southeast. For now, with confidence on the amount of showers somewhat low, I’ll stick with low percentage probabilities for rain on Thursday.

But as the upper trough sharpens up into Friday, our temperatures are forecast to plunge. I expect to see morning lows dip into the 20s with daytime highs mainly in the 40s.

Weak ridging occurs Saturday but we should still stay chilly but dry. A fast moving upper trough comes out of the northern Rockies on Sunday and promises a round of showers for Sunday with a cold front moving through the Southeast US. Moisture is not expected to be nearly as plentiful as our current pattern, so rainfall is not expected to be very high. By Sunday we should be moderating a little with highs into the 50s.

The GFS was promising us a really cold pattern for week 2 or voodoo country on the run yesterday. That is completely off the table with this run. In fact, the week 2 period is dominated by strong ridging across the eastern half of the country. If this verifies, we’d see warmer than typical temperatures and a number of days of dry weather.

I had a great time yesterday emceeing the Helena Christmas Parade. Sprinkles occurred during the parade, but those sprinkles didn’t dampen the crowds as people hung around until Santa came by on the Helena fire truck. James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video bright and early Monday morning.

-Brian-

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Clouds Here, Rain Expected

| December 3, 2016 @ 7:15 am

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Alabamians are waking up to a mostly cloudy morning with temperatures a trifle milder than the last several days with readings in the lower 40s for many locations. Temperatures were at or below freezing across the northeastern quadrant of Alabama. Radar continued to show some light rain over western counties and back into Mississippi. Much of that showing up on radar is not reaching the ground due to the deep dry layer in place from the ground to about 20,000 feet. This will be gradually changing as those echoes rain into that dry layer and gradually moisten it up from the top down. Rain is expected to begin affecting the ground especially across West Central Alabama during the early afternoon with rain spreading across the rest of Alabama late this afternoon and this evening.

For beachgoers, clouds return with rain for the beach this evening and these conditions stick around through the middle part of the week. Highs will be in the lower 70s through Monday dropping into the 60s after that. Lows will be in the 60s through Monday dropping into the 50s Tuesday and Wednesday. Please note that there is a high risk for rip currents along the Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island to Panama City through Sunday afternoon. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

While the SEC Championship Game is indoors at the Georgia Dome set for a 3:00 pm CST start, conditions getting to and from the game will be dry today with temperatures in the upper 50s. Rain will spread into the Atlanta area shortly after the game ends and Sunday looks to be a cool and wet day there.

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended this week. SPC has a marginal risk for severe weather along the Texas Coast today. No severe weather is expected in the US on Day 2, Sunday into early Monday. For Day 3, there is a slight risk of organized severe weather along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida coastal area with a marginal risk extending across the southern half of Alabama.

The upper air pattern featured a deep closed low and associated trough over Northwest Mexico this morning with ridging over the Southeast US. This was setting the stage with lots of Pacific moisture coming across Mexico and into the Southeast US. A second trough coming out of the Northwest US will contribute to a wet pattern for much of the Southeast US for Sunday and Monday. A surface low is forecast to move along the Gulf Coast during this period. The result will be a soaking rain with rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches across Mississippi and Alabama. Much of the northern half of Alabama should see amounts in the range of 2 to 3 inches.

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The upper trough/closed low over Northwest Mexico ejects to the northwest on Monday reaching the southern Appalachians by Tuesday. The surface low is forecast to be over East Tennessee by the GFS on Tuesday so the widespread precipitation should be coming to an end by Tuesday afternoon.

The forecast becomes a little less clear after midweek with substantial differences between the GFS and the ECMWF. The upper air pattern goes nearly zonal on Wednesday, but a strong trough is forecast by the GFS to dig into the mid Mississippi River Valley by Thursday. This sets up a general troughiness over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week. This should contribute some colder air to the eastern half of the US. But when it comes to precipitation, the models are quite a bit apart. The ECMWF is considerably more aggressive with precipitation on Thursday while the GFS is pretty dry. I suspect the actual result will be something between these two, so we’ll maintain some low chances for Wednesday and Thursday.

Both models agree on drying it out for the end of the week and into the weekend a cold surge for Friday and Saturday with highs potentially reaching only into the 40s.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS maintains a trough pattern across the eastern US all the way out to the 18th of December. And by that time, the GFS has a very deep trough with a distinctly frigid look to it.

Looking forward to emceeing the Helena Christmas Parade this afternoon at 1 pm. The reviewing stand will be in the parking lot of the Helena Baptist Church at the corner of Highway 52 and 261. Be sure to stop by and say hello. After that I will be filling in for Meaghan Thomas on ABC 3340 so you can the latest weather forecast at 6 and 10 pm. I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 7:30 or so on Sunday morning.

-Brian-

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WeatherBrains 567: Get the Scoop on Scope – RadarScope

| November 29, 2016 @ 5:15 am

WeatherBrains Episode 567 is now online (November 28, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a cult hero in these parts. He is the Founder of Radarscope, the wildly popular radar app for the Mac OS and Apple iOS. He works for Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) in Norman, OK. Mike Wolfinbarger, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Also joining us as our guest panelist is Nick Walker from The Weather Channel.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 99 at McAllen, TX, and -4 at Monte Vista, CO
  • Southeast US getting significant rain for 1st time in 4 months
  • Hurricane season in Atlantic Basin winding down
  • Forest fire spreading into Gatlinburg, TN
  • GOES-R continues to work well as it heads to its orbit
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer brings us up-to-date on the incoming messages from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: There was a news item that came in about a weather event that occurred in the land down under, Australia. And in 50 years of meteorology, the professor had to admit that he had never heard of such a thing happening. But apparently thunder asthma is a real thing that actually occurs around the world when thunderstorms and pollen counts collide. Listen in for the scoop on this phenomena.

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 567:

Warning Decision Technologies

Guy Walton’s You Caring site

There is a new WCM at SPC – Patrick Marsh

mPing web site

To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

Picks of the Week:

Nate Johnson – Pleas for real pictures from Gatlinburg

Bill Murray – summarizes our guests

Brian Peters – Gets the fog horn!

Kevin Selle – Departs before POWs

Rick Smith – Mental Floss article on snow forecasts

James Spann – IEM NWS Text Product Finder

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Report from Gatlinburg before station went offline

Nick Walker – Guy Walton’s You Caring site

Mike Wolfinbarger – Shout out to WDT and RadarScope staff and users

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Rick Smith, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

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One Nice Day Before Rainy Weather

| November 27, 2016 @ 7:09 am

Another rivalry Saturday has come and gone and I hope your team was successful. I was able to catch the FSU/Florida game last night, and I was glad to see the Seminoles show up for the whole came and come out on top!

Central Alabama starting out a bit chilly this morning with readings mainly in the 20s. Black Creek in Etwowah County reported 17 degrees this morning and Noccalula Falls reported 22 degrees. The sky will gradually become cloudy as the system to our west begins to inch closer promising a round of wet weather – anyone know what that is? – for the latter part of Monday through Wednesday. But for today, some filtering cirrus clouds will see temperatures climb into the 60s for the area.

Beach weather looks dry through Monday with no threat of rain and partly cloudy days. Conditions will also be a bit windy. Highs will be around 70° this weekend, while lows will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The tropics are quiet in both regions as the 2016 tropical cyclone season winds slowly to a close. SPC has a couple of marginal risks for severe storms today, Day 1, in parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. Day 2, Monday, there is an enhanced risk for severe storms over North and Central Louisiana with a marginal risk clipping the western counties of Alabama. Day 3, Tuesday, all of Alabama is in a marginal risk with a slight risk for the southwestern counties.

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The HPC guys are projecting 3 to 5 inches of rainfall through next Friday morning for much of the northern third of Alabama. This coincides well with the area of Extreme Drought according to the Drought Monitor. Much of the rest of the state will see amounts of 1.75″ to 3′. For Central Alabama using the Birmingham climatological data, we have only seen 11 days this year with rainfall of 1.00″ or more. The last time we recorded a 24-hour rainfall of more than an inch was July 30th, nearly 4 months ago!

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We start out today with a surface high pressure system located over the Carolinas. This slips eastward Monday allowing our surface flow to fully come around to the south. Aloft, a deep trough that has dug into West Texas will fly northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes by Tuesday. This generates a surface low over the North Central US with a cold front trailing into the Lower Mississippi River Valley Monday that drags into the Southeast US on Tuesday. This will provide the conditions for a round of severe storms in the Lower Mississippi River Valley as indicated by SPC which is likely to include all modes of severe weather including isolated tornadoes.

Both the GFS and the ECMWF forecast the front to move east of Alabama by Tuesday afternoon. I’m concerned that the frontal boundary is being pushed too far east because the upper ridge is holding very strong over South Florida which keeps a strong, wet southwesterly flow across all of the southern US from Texas to the Carolinas. But we’ll probably see a lull in precipitation Tuesday afternoon and evening.

But a second trough drops into the Southwest US on Tuesday and ejects into the Mississippi River Valley on Wednesday. This will bring another round of thunderstorms to the Southeast US on Wednesday with the potential for additional severe storms over a fairly sizable chunk of the Southeast US. Conditions for severe storms are not quite as clear cut with the second round of storms depending in part on how much the atmosphere can recover between round 1 and round 2. Model differences also make it difficult to be specific. So this will be a stay tuned situation. But as noted earlier in the discussion, we will be seeing our first significant rain event in a number of months which is expected to have an influence on moderating the drought situation.

The latter half of the week, from Thursday into Saturday, the upper flow pattern will see ridging over the eastern half of the country, so we should be dry and somewhat cool with highs in the 50s, a little below our seasonal values.

While the ridge is forecast to hold, a strong trough will come across the northern US on Sunday with a cut off upper low over northern Mexico. This is edging into voodoo country, but the GFS is painting another round of rainy/stormy conditions for the Gulf Coast Sunday. Both the GFS and the ECMWF have this system, so confidence is at least moderate in seeing some more rain.

Looking into week two or voodoo country, the GFS brings that closed low out of northern Mexico on Tuesday, December 6. After that system moves by, the GFS is rather bullish on the upper ridge becoming a major factor in the upper air pattern keeping the traveling storm system to our west and north.

Special thanks to Bill Murray for filling in for me yesterday as I traveled back to Birmingham from a family reunion in Tallahassee, FL. I wanted to stay for the game, but tickets were sold out, so I got back to Helena in time to watch it on television. James Spann will be back in the saddle once again with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing Monday morning. Have a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Cold Sunday, Freeze Warning Monday Morning

| November 20, 2016 @ 7:13 am

Before we get into Central Alabama weather, I wanted to note that the successful launch of GOES-R yesterday by NASA. Looking forward to seeing the high resolution imagery that will be coming down from the latest weather satellite in our arsenal of tools for observing the atmosphere.

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The current satellite showed us a crystal clear morning across Alabama and the whole Southeast US. Temperatures dropped pretty much as forecast with freezing values across the northern half of Alabama. As usual, the range of values can be fairly large. I have seen reports of 23 degrees at Cottondale, 26 at Black Creek, and 30 at Helena while airport stations were coming in at 28 for Tuscaloosa and 38 at Anniston-Oxford. The upper trough will gradually move eastward as the surface high settles right over Alabama later today and early Monday. This will set the stage for excellent radiational cooling tonight and Monday morning, so look for morning lows on Monday to be primarily in the 20s. A freeze warning is in effect for nearly all of Alabama from about 9 pm tonight to 8 am Monday.

For those headed to the beach, you can expect to see sunny days, fair nights, and cooler temps through the middle of the week. Highs will be in the 60s today and Monday from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach but should warm back into the 70s Tuesday and for the rest half of the week. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

If you have plans for the Iron Bowl, Saturday will be the 81st edition of the greatest rivalry in college football. The Auburn Tigers will be heading to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide for a 2:30 pm CST kickoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The day looks to be mainly sunny with temperatures starting the day in the 40s. The temperatures should be in the mid 60s for kickoff, dropping into the upper 50s by the final whistle.

After the chilly start Monday, we should see plenty of sunshine again allowing temperatures to climb into the upper 50s. The trough will be replaced by an upper ridge on Tuesday, so it will not be as cold. Morning lows on Tuesday will again flirt with the 32-degree mark, but the sunshine should see afternoon highs push into the middle 60s.

A fast moving upper trough comes at us on Wednesday brining us rain chances once again. This system promises to make Thanksgiving travel a bit wet from the eastern Great Lakes down into the Lower Mississippi River Valley. I think the likelihood of showers is high, but it is still going to be a hit or miss proposition where not everyone gets rain. The GFS is bringing a nice surge of moisture along and just ahead of the front, so there is the potential for places across the northern half of the state to see a third of an inch.

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The trough zips right along reaching New England by Thursday as we come back under another upper ridge, so there won’t be much of a cool down – and nothing like what we’ve seeing now. Look for the lows to be in the 40s and highs to be in the 60s. Friday and Saturday will see the weak upper ridge sticking in place so look for mostly sunny days and cool nights with lows around 40 and highs in the 60s.

A pretty substantial trough begins to come toward us on Saturday afternoon. The upper ridge is likely to deflect the best dynamics with this system well to our north, but the GFS is showing some rain over the Southeast US Sunday ahead of the trailing cold front. It’s going to be another one of those situations where we’ll see showers but not everyone gets rain. Best chances appear to be across the northern half of the state. Highs remain in the 60s which is just about right for this time of year.

The pattern out into voodoo country appears to remain active. A really serious looking trough and upper closed low comes out of the Rockies on Tuesday the 29th of November. Unfortunately, the upper ridge is likely to force it northeastward into the Great Lakes, so we’re likely to have a glancing blow with rain chances again. Another vigorous trough is depicted on the 2nd of December. This one looks pretty strong and could have a bigger impact on our weather. Another trough is forecast to come across the Lower Mississippi River Valley around the 5th of December. The screaming message from the GFS is that we’ll have a pretty active pattern.

James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video here bright and early on Monday morning. Stay warm in this chilly spell. Don’t forget to protect any pets that you have that stay outdoors. Any plants that are sensitive to cold weather should also be protected. Heave a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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