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WeatherBrains 478: Everyone Gets an Outflow

| 5:25 am August 26, 2014

WeatherBrains Episode 448 is now online (August 25, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Our Guest WeatherBrain this week is a returning Guest in the form of Dr. Marshall Shepherd. Dr. Marshall was one of the panelists on WeatherBrains 384. J. Marshall Shepherd is a meteorologist, professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Geography, the director of the university’s atmospheric sciences program, and was the president of the American Meteorological Society for 2013. Dr. Shepherd has a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology (1991), Master of Science degree in Physical Meteorology, and a Ph.D. in Physical Meteorology, all obtained at Florida State University. For a complete list of his many accomplishments and undertakings, go here. Dr. Shepherd is the host of a new show on The Weather Channel called Weather Geeks.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 111 at Death Valley, CA, and 28 at West Yellowstone Gate, MT
  • Cristobal meandering in the vicinity of the Bahamas (just east)
  • Another tropical wave in the South Atlantic 1100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles
  • Nice wedge pattern bringing cooler/drier air to the Southeast
  • Kevin Selle makes a comeback as the salt on the popcorn
  • Special appearance by Matthew Selle
  • Lots of action in the tropical Pacific
  • Snow reported in Billings, MT
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: Air exerts a force, so this week our 101 segment looks at air pressure. Air pressure can change through a couple of different ways, so we look at that, too..

    TWIWH: Bill Murray is AWOL for this episode.

    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 448:

    Florida State University Meteorology

    Press release on Weather Geeks

    American Meteorological Society Insights

    WeatherBrains teeshirts

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – GOES-14 SRSOR Imagery

    Brian Peters – Earth Observing System Data and Information System

    John Scala – Lightning in super slow motion

    Kevin Selle – Android App Hobbles NWS Web Page

    Marshall Shepherd – Weather Geeks TWC Facebook Page

    James Spann – Rumor about Hurricane Heading to New Orleans

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – Gets the Fog Horn

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

    Audible.com graphic

    Heat Breaking; Tropics Active

    | 6:56 am August 24, 2014

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    The August heat is abating somewhat today thanks to a couple of features. First, a dissipating cluster of thunderstorms that moved into the western sections of the Tennessee River Valley of Alabama early this morning will help to provide some extra clouds. And second, the wedge or cold air damming is bringing a backdoor cold front into Central Alabama from the east. A heat advisory was still in effect for West Central Alabama where heat indices may still approach 105 degrees. But our actual highs will be down a few degrees as this August heat dips a tad. Look for highs to be in the 93 to 97 range with cooler values in the eastern sections. Showers should become likely this afternoon and evening with good moisture in place and the various boundaries adding to the lift. Isolated damaging wind gusts with these storms are possible, but this is not expected to be a major severe weather event.

    The backdoor front will push westward helping to dry out our atmosphere plus bring in some cooler air from the east. Storms will be less likely on Monday and I think we dry out for Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The upper ridge dampens with time as we proceed through the week. A fairly strong trough will approach the Southeast US in the Thursday/Friday time frame as moisture values come back up. This will produce another chance for showers for Friday and Saturday. But highs are only expected to be in the lower 90s, so no excessive heat returning.

    Beach goers should note that there is a heat advisory for Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida. Isolated showers today will become more scattered Monday but still expect to see 4 to 8 hours of sunshine. Highs along the immediate coast will be in the lower 90s. Water temperature at Perdido Pass this morning was 87 degrees.

    In the tropics, we’re anxiously watching the development of tropical storm Cristobal. The Hurricane Center anticipates it to intensify slowly and it was named Cristobal in a 7 am CDT advisory. Yesterday there was some concern for a more westward track, but today it appears that there is a weakness in the subtropical ridge which will allow a more north-northwest track today and Monday. This should keep the developing storm further from the coast of Florida and that is surely welcome news.

    Looking out into voodoo country and Week 2, the upper air pattern shows a ridge over the Southeast US around the 4th of September with another fairly strong trough moving across the eastern US around the 8th. While the ridge means it will be warm, the ridge does not appear overly large, so I do not expect to see any excessive heat.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray
    Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    James Spann will be up first thing Monday morning with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. Be sure to check with the Blog for the latest weather information for Central Alabama. Have a great day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Depression Forms in Southeast Bahamas

    | 4:42 pm August 23, 2014

    Tropical Depression 4 has formed in the Southeast Bahama Islands in the vicinity of Turks and Caicos. A Hurricane Hunter aircraft found a well-defined central circulation this afternoon. Since conditions are favorable for additional development including light to moderate shear and sea surface water temperatures near 30 degree Centigrade, the National Hurricane Center expects the system to become a tropical storm in the next 24 to 36 hours and will be named Cristobal. And since conditions appear to favor intensification, the system could become a hurricane by Tuesday.

    TD 4 Track Forecast

    The graphic above shows the official track published by NHC. This morning I noted that the GFS was a bit further west of many of the models and it continues to be that way. Looking at a plot of all the models shows that several of the models are now projecting more of a shift westward closer to Florida. If these are correct, and with the various discrepancies, confidence is not especially high right now, then the east coast of Florida could be facing the risk of tropical storm or hurricane conditions in 3 to 4 days. Hopefully the storm will stay at least a couple of hundred miles offshore before it begins to fully recurve to the northeast.

    -Brian-

    Hot But Relief in Sight

    | 6:53 am August 23, 2014

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    It’s going to be another hot day for much of Central Alabama as highs reach the 95 to 100 range with heat indices of 105 degrees. The NWS has a heat advisory for much of Central Alabama west of I-65 since it appears likely that East Central Alabama will only nudge the heat advisory criteria. Just be aware that it is hot and adjust your activities to account for the heat – no sense in overdoing it. Stay hydrated, too.

    While the upper ridge remains the big player in the upper air pattern, we’re also watching the thunderstorm complex that was located just north of Nashville. HRRR model data suggests it or at least a boundary from it will reach into the Tennessee River Valley this afternoon which could be the focus for additional thunderstorm development.

    The pattern is slow to change over the next several days, but there does appear to be some heat relief in sight thanks in part to the developing tropical system over the Bahamas. The latest models suggest bringing it very close to the East Coast of Florida and then recurving along the Southeast US coast. This together with a slight westward movement of the upper ridge will actually bring a “wedge” pattern – cold air damming – though I might call is cool air damming in this season. The result is some drying and cooling of the air for us bringing temperatures well down into the 90s. The sinking motion on the west side of the tropical system, whatever it is, will help to keep us dry.

    The ridge is gradually replaced by the end of the week with a strong trough coming across the Central Mississippi River Valley which should also help to guide the tropical system out into the Atlantic.

    The tropical system just north of Hispaniola is likely to develop into a depression or storm in the next 24 to 36 hours as it enters an area of conditions more conducive for development plus getting some distance from the terrain of Hispaniola. The current track is across the Bahamas and along the Florida East Coast, but the question will be how close it comes to Florida. The latest model clustering generally keeps it away from Florida, however, the GFS was bringing it right along the eastern peninsula. With the relatively weak flow in that area, we’ll have to watch it carefully for small changes. This system is likely to become Cristobal.

    For beach goers, the best chances for rain along the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida appear to come on Monday. Otherwise, a fairly typical 20 percent chance of showers and storms each day of the weekend. Highs will be in the lower 90s this weekend and near 90F the rest of the week. Lows will be in the 70s.

    Voodoo country or Week 2 appears to be featuring an elongated ridge across the southern tier of the US. The good news for us is that that pattern does not forecast any excessive heat. For those wanting rain, the bad news is that that pattern only means scattered mainly afternoon showers and storms.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray
    Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    I hope you have a great weekend. Be mindful that it will be hot, so take it easy on outside activities. I plan to have the next Weather Xtreme Video on Sunday morning by 8 am or so. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    WeatherBrains 447: Dogs Days of Summer

    | 5:15 am August 19, 2014

    WeatherBrains Episode 447 is now online (August 18, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

    Tonight’s Guest Panelist is a recommendation of WB Alum Kevin Myatt. He is a leader on the Virginia Tech stormchasing team. Chris White, welcome to the show.

    And tonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a fixture in television weather in the Mid-South area. Dave Brown is Weather Director and Chief Weathercaster at WMC TV in Memphis, TN, a position he’s held for the past 37 years. This past June, Dave celebrated 52 years of broadcasting, and he has spent that entire time in and around the Memphis area. Dave has a degree from the University of Memphis and holds both the AMS and NWA broadcaster seals. And while he is well-respected for his meteorological abilities, he also spent nearly 40 years as a member of what many aficionados call one of the best announcing teams ever in professional wrestling. Yes, I said professional wrestling. Rick Smith grew up watching this guy and is excited to talk to him tonight! Dave Brown, welcome to WeatherBrains!

    Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 117 at Death Valley, CA, and 30 at Boca Reservoir, CA
  • Two disturbances were moving across the South Central Atlantic and not expected to develop in the next couple of days
  • Westerlies running along northern tier of US
  • MCV moved across North Alabama today
  • Summer showing up after a mostly cool summer
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is working the early morning shift a-g-a-i-n, so the mail bag is postponed until the next show.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: It’s really still there, but the band of cloudiness that often delineates the ITCZ – or Inter-tropical Convergence Zone – has been tough to find due to drier air and Saharan dust this year. So what is the ITCZ – besides tough to say fast – and what are some of the characteristics of it? That’s the topic for this week of 101.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of August 18th.

    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 447:

    Virginia Storm Chase link

    WMC-TV Weather Page

    Astronomy Links:

    * MAVEN mission
    * Science@NASA on the Jupiter/Venus conjunction
    * ISS pass predictions

    Picks of the Week:

    Dave Brown – Fly Bys App

    Bill Murray – Bows Out Early

    Brian Peters – Satellite Liaison Blog

    John Scala – Camille/Katrina SLOSH run comparison

    Rick Smith – NWA Annual Meeting Agenda

    James Spann – MCV Satellite Loop 1-minute Intervals

    Chris White – NWS Baltimore/Washington Sep. 17, 2004, Tornado Event

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

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    Warm as Moisture Creeps Up

    | 6:51 am August 17, 2014

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    Lower 90s were the highs across Central Alabama yesterday, and moisture levels have crept up as evidenced by dew point observations this morning. So the relatively cooler weather of the last several days has become more typical of mid-August with highs today mainly in the lower 90s. With moisture up, isolated showers will be possible driven by afternoon heating.

    Monday and into Tuesday our rain chances become better as showers should become more widespread and numerous thanks to the short wave trough now over Southeast Missouri passing across the Southeast US. Clouds and the presence of showers should help to hold temperatures in check in the 88 to 92 range. The short wave trough passes late Tuesday and Wednesday as an upper ridge builds across the Lower Mississippi River Valley. With some moisture sticking around, we should drop back to isolated afternoon showers for the latter half of the upcoming week as heat values rise into the middle and perhaps upper 90s. Showers should be limited so many of us will remain dry.

    The ridge sticks with us into the weekend, so the forecast will continue to mention the possibility of isolated showers during the afternoon and early evening hours. It will remain warm with highs mainly in the middle 90s with some spots edging into the upper 90s.

    For beach enthusiasts, showers will be scattered along the coast through Tuesday with showers becoming more isolated by the middle of the week. High temperatures will be in the upper 80s along the coast with lower 90s inland. Look for 4 to 6 hours of sunshine through Tuesday with 7 to 9 hours for the end of the week. Water temperatures in the Gulf continue to be in the middle 80s.

    Tropical Atlantic is still relatively quiet with a small area of disturbed weather west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. Some gradual development of this system is possible as it moves westward across the South Central Atlantic.

    Voodoo country has become a land of mixed messages. The GFS shows a trough around the 27th of August over the Middle Mississippi River Valley but not nearly as strong as we’ve been seeing for the last month or so. But by the first of September the pattern becomes an elongated ridge across the southern tier of the US. So warm but not extremely hot.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray
    Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning. I’ll be at Magnolia Manor in Helena this afternoon helping to introduce the newest Helena Belles. Have a great day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Dry and Sunny Today; Some Heat Ahead

    | 6:53 am August 16, 2014

    An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    After another nice start to the day with temperatures in the 60s we should see plenty of sunshine allowing afternoon highs to reach the lower 90s. But it should remain dry. However, moisture will be on the increase as we see dew points climb back toward 70 degrees with the possibility of isolated storms for Sunday.

    An upper level short wave traversing the Ohio River Valley will dip far enough south to pick up the shower potential for Monday and early Tuesday. Once that short wave passes an upper level ridge will build across the Southeast US from Tuesday through Saturday. This could potentially bring us some of the hottest weather of the summer of 2014 so far. Highs at least in the mid 90s with the upper 90s possible. With moisture levels up but not especially high, we will need to include the possibility of isolated storms for the latter part of the week, but it is likely that most of us stay dry until the upper ridge moves west of us around Saturday.

    Tropics remain relatively quiet. A disturbance in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Island showed some organization and a tropical depression could form. However, after passing the Cape Verde Islands, conditions are much less favorable for additional development.

    For beach goers, today will be just great, but as we get into Sunday through midweek, you can expect elevated rain chances. The upper ridge will bring back nearly perfect conditions for beach for the latter half of the week. Expect hot and humid conditions with several hours of sun each day. Rain chances through midweek will be around 40 to 50 percent. After that, 20 percent will be about the average. Water temperatures are running in the middle 80s at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

    Looking into Week 2, the GFS is bullish on the idea of a broad ridge centered over the Central Plains and big enough to keep us in some August heat. This is sure different from the pattern we’ve been seeing since early July, so we’ll watch and see what unfolds.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray
    Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted first thing on Sunday morning. Enjoy the warm and dry day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Morning Fog; Afternoon Storms

    | 7:12 am August 10, 2014

    No Weather Xtreme Video this morning due to intermittent Internet connectivity issues. Here’s the discussion for the weather changes coming in the week ahead.

    After the widespread showers Saturday afternoon, fog developed and became dense in spots prompting the issuance of a dense fog advisory until 9 am for much of the southern two-thirds of Alabama. Fog should burn off or rise into a cloud deck by 8 to 9 am. With lots of low level moisture in place, a few showers were evident on radar, too, so I expect to see our unsettled weather pattern continue today and Monday with widespread numerous showers and thunderstorms forming by early afternoon. Temperatures will once again climb to near 90 for our highs and could then nose dive into the 70s if you encounter a shower or thunderstorm nearby.

    The overall upper air pattern with a deepening trough promises to bring us another instance of a summertime front with drier and cooler air by midweek. This will keep us unsettled until about Wednesday when the drier, cooler air arrives.

    The deep trough maintains a position over the eastern US into the end of the week as it weakens slightly. With the northwesterly flow aloft, the GFS suggests some embedded short waves that could produce mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the Central Plains that will ride the flow southeastward into the Southeast US. There is no skill to forecast that specific event this far in advance, so we’ll want to keep a wary eye on the possibility of such a development. Awareness of this potential will allow quick adjustment to the forecast should an MCS develop.

    With the drier and cooler air in place, we should see morning lows dip into the upper 50s Thursday and Friday morning. These will feel great once again, but the likelihood of setting new record low temperatures is not high since the records for those dates in Birmingham stand at 54 degrees set in 2004.

    Moisture levels come back up once again as we head into next weekend, so showers mainly driven by afternoon heating return to the forecast as highs climb into the 89 to 92 range.

    Beach goers will encounter scattered showers and storms for the next several days, but nothing to ruin the whole day. Each afternoon you can expect to see highs in the upper 80s. The Gulf water temperature remain very mild – balmy in fact – with lower and middle 80s common from Dauphin Island east to Panama City.

    Tropical Atlantic has been quiet for a number of days, but a disturbance has moved just off the African continent. Any development of this system will be slow to occur, but we are getting into the climatological period for the development of long track/long lasting tropical systems, so this one will bear watching.

    For voodoo country followers, the GFS has flipped once again. The eastern US trough maintains a presence through about the 19th of August before it undergoes a change to a big ridge over the eastern half of the country. Right! We’ll see how that comes along as forecast confidence in the extended forecast takes another plunge.

    And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

    James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray
    Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    I’ll be filling in for Meaghan Thomas on ABC 3340 at 5 and 10 pm this evening, so be sure to catch the latest weather forecast then. James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning. Godspeed.

    -Brian-