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Brian Peters

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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Heat, Humidity, Isolated Storms

| 7:02 am July 24, 2016

Satellite imagery shows a few clouds across the Alabama sky this morning with temperatures running in the middle and upper 70s. I expect to see a mixture of sun and clouds today with isolated showers and thunderstorms developing in the heat of the afternoon. The weakness at 500 millibars is still evident over the Lower Mississippi River Valley, so I would expect to see thunderstorms more numerous to our west today. Radar was clear for Alabama this morning, but there were a few thunderstorms occurring in the vicinity of Memphis.

The typical summer forecast for the beaches of the Northern Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island east to Panama City includes plenty of sunshine each day, but with the threat of a passing storm from time to time. Highs are around 90 on the beaches while just inland you can expect low to mid 90s. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was 87 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The tropical Atlantic was quiet and is expected to remain quiet for the next several days. Be sure to see the GFS outlook for voodoo country. In the Eastern North Pacific, Tropical Storm Frank and Hurricane Georgette were spinning away from land. In the Central North Pacific, Tropical Storm Darby was bringing some wind and heavy rain to the Hawaiian Islands.

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SPC has no specific areas outlooked for severe weather for the next several days with just some marginal areas along and ahead of the frontal system moving through the northern tier of the US.

The upper air pattern remains in a ridge into the first of the week, but a series of upper troughs manage to split the ridge with centers over the Four Corners area and just off the Southeast US coast by Tuesday. The one off the South Carolina coast pushes into the Southeast US on Wednesday, but another strong trough is forecast to dig into the Great Lakes area on Thursday and Friday potentially bringing a front into Tennessee by Friday. And the overall troughiness is forecast to stick with us into the weekend.

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For the first half of the week ahead, I expect to see isolated thunderstorms driven by the heat of the day with highs in the lower and middle 90s. But as we head into the latter part of the week from Thursday into the weekend, rain chances appear likely to go up with the combination of the upper troughiness and the presence of the weak front edging into the northern part of the Southeast US. The lowering of the heights along with the presence of more clouds and more thunderstorms should combine to drop our temperatures back to around 90. The GFS MOS guidance takes the high Friday all the way into the middle 80s, and I’m just not buying that much of a change.

It is interesting to note that the ECMWF 500 millibar pattern is in fairly close agreement to the pattern of the GFS, but the ECMWF only drops temperatures back to around 90.

The really big surprise comes as we venture out into voodoo country. The GFS builds the upper ridge back into the Central and eastern US from Sunday through Wednesday. The surprise is the appearance of what appears to be a tropical system in the Bahamas. By Friday, August 5th, the tropical system strengthens and moves northward into the Carolinas while the upper ridge is pushed back to the west. The ridge builds east again by August 8th as the tropical system heads northeastward into the northern Atlantic. But remember, this is voodoo. By the time James has the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning, this whole notion of a tropical system for early August may be completely gone.

I appreciate you tuning into the blog for the Weather Xtreme Video. Mr. Spann is taking some additional time off, so I believe my next video will come next Thursday morning. Remember, it continues to be hot, so just use some common sense and don’t overdo it whether working or playing in the outdoors. Have a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Heat and Showers in Forecast

| 7:02 am July 23, 2016

Traveling weather systems remain well north of the Southeast US, so we are looking at a weather pattern that will not be changing much over the next seven days. There will be minor changes, but they will be subtle and we really won’t see any drastic changes to the weather with heat and showers holding spots in the forecast.

There is a subtle weakness in the 500 millibar pattern in the vicinity of West Tennessee early this morning which was helping to generate showers over Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Alabama. Movement of these showers was southeastward and the motion should gradually become more southward during the late morning. A heat advisory remained in place this morning for the northern two thirds of Alabama, but the presence of the weakness aloft along with the presence of additional clouds could mean that we won’t quite reach heat index values of 105. While we might not reach the “official” criteria for the heat advisory, it will remain hot and steamy. I expect highs today to generally top out in the middle 90s, but the upper 90s are possible generally south and southeast of Birmingham.

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For beachgoers, summer weather continues along the Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island to Panama City Beach this weekend and into next week. There will be about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day with an occasional passing thunderstorm. Highs will be around 89 on the immediate coast with mid to upper 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

Looking southward, the Atlantic Basin remains quiet, while Frank and Georgette, both tropical storms, were spinning in the Eastern Pacific, neither a threat to land areas.

And as you might expect, the SPC has the risk for organized severe storms confined to the northern tier of the US from the Great Lakes to New England for the next three days. And there is little likelihood that this pattern will change through the week ahead.

Ridging remains the primary feature across the southern tier of the US through the week ahead with only some subtle changes to the pattern. As short waves move across Canada, they will have at least some effect on the ridging by pushing the bulk of the ridge back west beginning Monday and continuing through the middle of the week and into next weekend. The influence of this weak troughiness should be enough to lower our high temperatures some as highs stick in the lower and middle 90s. Morning lows will remain steady, too, with values in the 70 to 75 degree range. And while I would love to say something different than “chance of thunderstorms” in the daily forecast, there is no real pattern change which would warrant saying anything different. Due to the spotty nature of these storms, there is no real relief seen for the drought conditions affecting the northern two-thirds of Alabama during the next week.

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Looking into voodoo country, the GFS is big on bringing the ridge back into the Central US as we head into the first few days of August. And the GFS holds the ridge there once again as we head out to August 7th.

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here first thing on Sunday morning. You can check back here regularly for updates on how the Alabama weather scene is changing. Enjoy your day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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WeatherBrains 548: Hang Out at Mr. Wang’s All Day

| 5:15 am July 21, 2016

WeatherBrains Episode 548 is now online (July 20, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Angela FritzTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a Lead Forecaster for the Capital Weather Gang. Angela Fritz, welcome to WeatherBrains.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 120 at Death Valley, CA, and 24 at Bodie State Park, CA
  • Severe risk areas across northern tier of US
  • Stormy night in DC on July 19th
  • NW US hit 80 degrees
  • Heat across much of the Central and eastern US
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer has the latest from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: It has lasted for five decades and seen six US presidents, but late last month it was placed in a “graveyard” orbit. We’re talking about GOES-3 which has seen a long history of service in a geostationary orbit. GOES-3 is the topic of this episode of 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 548:

Capital Weather Gang web site

NWS Hazard Simplification Project

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

Picks of the Week:

Angela Fritz – Incredible microburst

Bill Murray – Which app should you trust?

Morgan Palmer – Sunrise and sunset in United States

Brian Peters – Gets the fog horn!

James Spann – AMS Panel on Outdoor Events

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Satellite view of dust off Chile

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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Weather Heating Up Once Again

| 6:41 am July 17, 2016

*** No Weather Xtreme Video this morning due to operational weather support for the Sloss Music and Arts Festival ***

Alabama is waking up to fewer clouds than we saw in our sky yesterday morning. With the exit of that weak short wave at 500 millibars, it looks the surface high pressure and the upper ridge nosing into the Southeast US will compliment each other and return Central Alabama to only small chances of thunderstorms generated primarily by the heat of the afternoon. Look for the highs across Central Alabama to be mainly in the lower 90s.

The SPC has a standard slight risk for severe storms across the western Great Lakes states today, and that area moves to the eastern Great Lakes area on Day 2. There is no slight risk area on Day 3, but there are two areas marked as marginal. One of those is in Virginia and North Carolina and the second one is in the Central Plains in parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.

If you have plans for the beach, you can expect 7 to 9 hours of sun each day. Highs will be in the 87 to 90 range on the immediate coast with low to mid 90s inland There is the chance for a passing storm each day, pretty standard weather for summer along the Northern Gulf Coast. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was a warm 89 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

If you are following the tropics, all is quiet in the Atlantic Basin while we have Hurricane Darby and Tropical Storm Estelle in the Eastern North Pacific. A third area of disturbed weather was located off the Mexican coast. All of these were moving westward away from land.

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The 06Z run of the GFS has become a bit more bullish on the influence of the ridge for the next week. Alabama remains on the eastern periphery of the ridge through the latter part of the week ahead. But by Friday and into next weekend, the ridge builds stronger with the 594 height contour stretching from West Coast to East Coast. This promises to bring our high temperatures well into the 90s with highs running in the middle and upper 90s from Tuesday all the way through into next weekend. The heat along with dew points likely to stay in the lower 70s means we could be dealing with heat indices reaching the 105 degree mark, so we are likely to see the issuance of heat advisories for much of Central Alabama during the middle and latter part of next week.

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One of the problems will be that morning lows will not be falling back much with lows dropping back into the middle and upper 70s. This does not provide much relief from the daytime heat.

Looking out into week 2, the GFS is holding onto the idea of another strong upper low coming across Canada that will help to beat the ridge back over the western states around the 28th of July. The GFS maintains troughiness over the eastern half of the US as we close out July and head into early August. While there are no signs of any air mass changes during week 2, the troughiness over the eastern half of the country will help to hold our heat in check with highs mainly in the lower and middle 90s. Small consolation, but we’ll take what little heat reduction we can get.

I’ll be providing onsite weather support on behalf of the folks running the Sloss Music and Arts Festival at Sloss Furnace today, so not enough time to produce a complete video. James is expected back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday. Keep the heat in mind as you go about your tasks this week, and use common sense by not overdoing it when working or playing in the great outdoors. Have a wonderful day, and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Additional Notes on Today’s Weather

| 9:22 am July 16, 2016

An important part of the forecast is looking at the latest data, especially the latest upper air sounding. The NWS at the Shelby County Airport launches a balloon for the 12Z observation around 6:00 am. The balloon takes about two hours, give or take a few minutes, to complete its run. So for a typical run, the data is not available until sometime after 8 am. Then it takes a little time for that data to make it throughout the system for incorporation in models and for display as you see below.

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There are a couple of interesting observations to be made relative to the run this morning. I don’t have the run available to me from yesterday, so some of what I’m talking about will be coming from my recollection of the past run.

The first thing to note is the the CAPE value this morning was just over 400 joules/kg as compared to 0 on the run yesterday morning. As SPC forecasters mentioned in their latest Day 1 discussion, CAPE projections in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 joules/kg will be possible today.

I’ve also noted that the latest observation at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport was running at least 5 degrees warmer than the same time yesterday. Dew point values were also higher but only by a couple of degrees.

I know that I underestimated the impact of the thunderstorms that worked over the atmosphere on Thursday afternoon and evening. I do believe that the atmosphere over Central Alabama has recovered from being worked over, so we are likely to see more thunderstorms today – perhaps becoming numerous.

Also, and noted by SPC, it looks like the main threat will be damaging thunderstorm wind in the form of microbursts.

Whatever happens today, be sure to keep an eye on the weather and stay safe. And that especially goes for the lightning with these storms. Thursday there appears to have been a death and an injury from lightning, so don’t become a statistic.

-Brian-

Storms Possible Again Today

| 6:36 am July 16, 2016

*** No Weather Xtreme Video this morning due to operational weather support for the Sloss Music and Arts Festival ***

Most of Alabama is waking up to clear skies this morning, but the exception is across the northern third of the state where clouds from the convection to our west yesterday was producing mostly cloudy skies. Temperatures were in the lower 70s except for some middle 60s in the northeast portion of the state. A weak short wave at 500 millibars is likely to lead to thunderstorms becoming a bit more numerous today. The effects of the MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) on Thursday helped to stabilize our atmosphere on Friday, but I think the atmosphere has recovered enough and with the extra lift of the short wave aloft that we will see thunderstorms becoming more numerous mainly this afternoon and evening. Highs will climb into the lower 90s.

SPC has outlined a wide swath covering much of the Southeast US for today for a marginal risk of severe storms. Dry air aloft noted on the sounding at the Shelby County Airport last night will contribute to the potential for microbursts with any thunderstorms that do develop. Main threat of organized severe weather was indicated over the North Central US centered mainly on South Dakota. Day 2 and 3 severe outlooks contain the standard slight risk moving across the southern sections of the Great Lakes.

Good summer weather continues from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach through the weekend and into most of next week. About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day with just an occasional passing thunderstorm. Highs 87-90 on the immediate coast with low to mid 90s inland. Sea water temperatures were mostly in the upper 80s. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

Tropical Atlantic is quiet thanks to all the dust and dry air coming across the Atlantic from the Sahara. The Eastern Pacific is not quiet with TS Estelle and Hurricane Darby. Those are followed by yet another area of disturbed weather. Both systems are well away from land and moving away from land.

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The short wave at 500 millibars will move eastward tonight as the flow aloft flattens somewhat. This should bring us back to more isolated thunderstorms for Sunday, but it will remain hot. Highs Sunday in the lower 90s.

Monday and Tuesday the upper ridge to our west grows stronger and noses into the Southeast US. This should help to keep the development of thunderstorms to a minimum. But with the ridge exerting its influence our way, temperatures are likely to go up into the middle 90s with some locations pushing the upper 90s.

From Wednesday into the next weekend, the upper flow goes through another one of those cycles where a strong trough over Canada helps to push the ridge westward breaking its hold on the Southeast US. This could bring a weak front into the Southeast US around Wednesday as the upper flow becomes more of a trough over the East Coast. This pattern change should result in somewhat better chances for thunderstorms from Wednesday into next weekend, but thunderstorms will likely remain linked to the heat of the afternoon and early evening. Temperatures will be in the lower and middle 90s.

Looking into voodoo country, the GFS maintains the troughiness over the eastern US through the 28th of July. But nobody from the eastern slopes of the Rockies to the Atlantic coast will like the pattern as we end July and move into August. The GFS is bringing a huge upper ridge at 5970 meters into the Ohio River Valley. That pattern would suggest some big time heat for the eastern half of the US.

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I’m sorry for the lack of a video this morning – and probably again Sunday morning – but I am working with the folks at the Sloss Music and Arts Festival to provide operational weather support to their event. I will be onsite for nearly all hours of operation beginning at 8 am. I’d say come by and say hello, but I will be working in an area not open to the public. Depending on how active the weather becomes today, I will try to post additional forecast updates during the day. And I’ll have another complete discussion tomorrow morning. Godspeed.

-Brian-

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WeatherBrains 547:

| 5:15 am July 12, 2016

WeatherBrains Episode 547 is now online (July 11, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is the Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Dr. Kevin Kloesel. He is also the Associate Dean for Public Service & Outreach in the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. He is also an Associate Professor at OU.

Dr. Kevin KloeselDr. Kloesel is Associate Dean for Public Service and Outreach in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. He is directly responsible for outreach programs and tours for the over 30,000 people that visit the National Weather Center facility in Norman annually. In addition, he is an Associate Professor in the OU School of Meteorology with teaching and research interests ranging from synoptic meteorology to societal impacts and decision making in weather-impacted situations. He led the team that won the Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation for their work with the emergency management community in Oklahoma.

Currently, he works directly with thousands of K-12 students and teachers, as well as hundreds of emergency management agencies, in finding appropriate applications for weather data in local education and decision making. He was also a content designer for Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm children’s museum exhibit that is currently touring the US. He works closely with the Norman Chamber of Commerce and Norman Economic Development Coalition to provide continuing education opportunities to the growing private weather enterprise in Norman. Previously, he was Director of Outreach for the largest state climate office in the country, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, and served as director of the Florida Climate Center in Tallahassee, FL. While a tenured faculty member at Florida State University, he served as a research fellow with the Cooperative Institute for Tropical Meteorology, and co-directed an outreach project, EXPLORES!, which provided NOAA satellite data ingest capabilities to over 200 schools throughout Florida.

Dr. Kloesel has appeared on WeatherBrains twice before on episodes 397 and 455.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 110 at Borger, TX, Carlsbad, NM, Guymon, OK, Imperial, CA, & Phoenix, AZ and 28 at Boca Reservoir, CA
  • Tropical Atlantic is quiet
  • Celia and Five-E swirling in the Eastern North Pacific
  • Severe weather occurring next three days from Iowa to Michigan
  • Snow at higher elevations in Idaho
  • Potential for horrible heat
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

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

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: It’s a word that has actually been used 11 times in previous 101 segments, but it has never had its own segment. So tonight the professor brings to live the term tropopause and what it means in the scheme of things.

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 547:

Emergency Preparedness of OU

Presentation on HazSimp

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

Picks of the Week:

Nate Johnson – NWS Twitter account

Kevin Kloesel – Book about the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995

Brian Peters – gets fog horn!

Kevin Selle – Anchor discussion of weather on Facebook Live

Rick Smith – YouTube video by Brad Panovich

James Spann – Dry/dusty air over Atlantic

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Mark Reynolds’ blog on tornado versus straight line wind event

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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More Storms Today and Monday

| 7:09 am July 10, 2016

The weather is expected to remain somewhat stormy across Central Alabama again today and Monday. But as I saw yesterday, even though the storms were fairly numerous, not everyone will get rain. I saw storms come very close to my weather station in Helena, but I saw no rain of any significance – I was one of THOSE! The overall weather pattern remained somewhat unsettled and is likely to stay that way through Monday. There were more clouds present this morning leftover from all of the storms we watched on radar yesterday. The presence of clouds and storms will help to hold temperatures down with highs mainly around the 90-degree mark. At least a little relief from the heat, but no relief from the humidity. Rainfall over the next several days is expect to range from near 0 – the unlucky ones who miss out on getting a storm – to as much as an inch and a half. Rainfall could be heavy for brief periods, so it is possible to see local flash flood issues as we saw in Jasper yesterday afternoon.

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Beachgoers will see scattered showers and storms for the next few days, but you will still see plenty of sun at times along the Northern Gulf Coast. Improving weather is expected toward the end of the week, as a more typical set up is expected, with six to eight hours of sunshine and those daily threats for storms. Rip currents have been in the moderate range most of the week, and that should continue the next several days. Highs on the immediate coast between 87 and 90 with mid 90s inland. The sea water temperature at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach was 83 degrees. You can find the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The tropical Atlantic remained quite, but there were two storms and a disturbed area of weather in the Eastern Pacific. Blas was down to depression strength and Celia remained a tropical storm.

The SPC folks have outlined a marginal risk for severe storms in a wide swatch across the Southeast US including Central Alabama for today and again on Day 2. The main risk for organized severe weather is over the North Central US focused on North Dakota today and over Wisconsin and Iowa on Day 2. For Day 3, the slight risk of storms shifts into the Great Lakes area over parts of Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois.

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The weakness in the upper air pattern today is forecast to stick around on Monday, move east a little on Tuesday, and finally shift into the Carolinas on Wednesday. This upper weakness or area of lowered pressure will combine with daytime heating to generate storms again Monday. GFS MOS guidance numbers suggest less storms on Tuesday, but with that weakness aloft over our area, I suspect we’ll see another round of fairly numerous thunderstorms. Through Tuesday, highs are likely to remain around the 90-degree mark with the extra clouds and storms.

For the latter portion of the week ahead from Wednesday through next Sunday, the upper air pattern gradually shifts back to a ridge pattern as the upper ridge to our west strengthens and gradually pushes the traveling westerlies further north. This certainly suggests that the heat will return with the highs getting back into the middle 90s for sure and perhaps pushing into the upper 90s across southern sections of Central Alabama. With the absence of any significant feature we will see just daily chances for those isolated thunderstorms.

Looking into voodoo country, that ridge grows really strong around the 19th of July over the Central Plains. But unlike the hot pattern we saw in voodoo yesterday, the latest GFS run is developing another deep trough along the US East Coast around the 22nd. This pattern looks almost too deep/strong for this time of year. By the end of the period around the 25th, the ridge is over the West Coast with general troughiness over the eastern two-thirds of the country which would keep us out of any real extreme heat. But this is voodoo country, and there’s not a lot of skill this far out as we see in the flip from the pattern suggested yesterday.

James Spann will be back the with next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday. Please remain weather aware today and do not become a statistic either with the lightning or any flash flooding that may occur. Still hoping my yard will get some rain today! Have a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Afternoon Update – Storms Here and There

| 2:31 pm July 9, 2016

Thunderstorms have erupted in the afternoon (or late morning for some) heat with a few of these thunderstorms placed within severe thunderstorm warnings. SPC has actually shifted the marginal risk for severe storms slightly south of the original issuance earlier today.

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As you can see from radar, most of the storms are relatively small, but nearly all of the storms are producing a good deal of lightning strikes. Those cloud to ground strikes are the ones that can kill people, so be sure to stay alert to the presence of storms in your area – When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! Thunderstorms were moving generally from west to east with only a slight southward component to storms over Northeast Alabama.

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Most of Central Alabama was seeing temperatures in the middle and upper 90s with heat indices from as low as 96 at Huntsville to as high as 110 at Alexander City. The NWS in Birmingham has posted a heat advisory for much Central Alabama excluding a row of counties along the Alabama-Georgia line. There was also no heat advisory from the NWS in Huntsville for the Tennessee River Valley counties.

A weak upper level short wave was still expected to aide afternoon heating to produce numerous thunderstorms Sunday and Monday. The presence of more clouds and more numerous thunderstorms should give us a little relief from the heat with highs around the 90 degree mark on Sunday and Monday.

-Brian-

PS A storm moved by just south of the City of Tuscaloosa and the observation site at the airport. The temperature dropped 15 degrees from 95 to 80 while the humidity went up 20 percent. Hard to tell for sure from the hourly observation, but it appears the observation site did not get any measurable rain.

Weekend Stormy with Relief from Heat

| 7:10 am July 9, 2016

The weekend across Central Alabama is looking somewhat stormy which could bring some relief from the heat. Birmingham has seen highs of 90 degrees or higher for the last 10 days and our overnight lows have been in the upper 70s and lower 80s for the last week. For today, the NWS in Birmingham has covered much of the southern half of Central Alabama with a heat advisory as seen here.

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Today will be an interesting race between the heat and the storms. Thunderstorms were occurring in parts of West Tennessee in the vicinity of Savannah and Selmer (TN) moving southeastward. So the first question of the morning is just how far those storms will be able to travel. Current motion suggests reaching Cullman in about five hours, between 11 am and noon – IF they hold together. That remains a big IF, too. Whether they do remain intact or not, these storms will leave mesoscale boundaries that will likely be the focus for additional thunderstorms to develop in the heat and humidity of the afternoon.

All of these storms are along and just south of a boundary stretching east to west from northern Kentucky to Southeast Nebraska which will likely slowly sag closer to Alabama without actually arriving here. Complicating the surface situation is an upper air short wave trough over eastern Oklahoma this morning that will move into the Southeast US Sunday. This feature should help to enhance our chances for thunderstorms on Sunday, so while chances for storms are good today, they should be even better on Sunday and Monday.

The tropical Atlantic remained quiet this morning, but we have Blas and Celia currently roaming the Eastern Pacific. Nepartak in the Western Pacific was a mere shadow of itself as it was going ashore in China as a dissipating tropical storm.

Back in the Southeast US, the upper air short wave that will enhance storm chances on Sunday is projected to make forecasting the weather a real challenge as we head into the early days of next week. Monday the GFS is creating a weakness in the 500 millibar flow over the Lower Mississippi River Valley. This weakness in the pressure pattern sticks around until early Wednesday when it finally edges away from Alabama over the Carolinas. This weakness in the upper level pattern should keep thunderstorm chances fairly highly through Tuesday. By Wednesday and for the latter part of the week ahead, the ridge to our west becomes a major player in our weather taking us back to heat and small, daily chances for showers and thunderstorms.

gfs_z500_vort_conus_15

High temperature forecasts will also be a challenge. With that upper low in our vicinity, we should see additional clouds and more numerous storms, so I expect our highs to be in the range of 87 to 92 degrees. As the upper ridge increases its hold on the pattern for the latter part of the week we will see highs climb back into the lower and middle 90s.

The longer range map projections by the GFS suggest a relatively hot period from the 18th of July through the 24th of July with a complete absence of any weather system to provide us with even the smallest amount of heat relief. The GFS Ensemble highs even reach 100 degrees – ouch! But you know how these voodoo country predictions can be.

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here first thing on Sunday morning – by 8 am or so. I hope you will enjoy your day. Please be aware of thunderstorms in your vicinity and head the threat that lightning poses – When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! Godspeed.

-Brian-

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