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WeatherBrains 483: Very Chaotic Start

| 5:15 am April 28, 2015

WeatherBrains Episode 483 is now online (April 27, 2015). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s guest WeatherBrain works with the Capitol Weather Gang and joins us at the last minute. Jason Samenow, welcome to WeatherBrains.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: High 96 at Fort Lauderdale (Executive Airport), FL, and Death Valley, CA
  • Low: 17 at Eureka, NV, and Stanley, ID
  • MCS created disaster to regatta on Mobile Bay Sunday
  • Severe weather again along Gulf Coast
  • Anniversary of historic tornado event in 2011
  • MCS with wind knocking train off tracks in New Orleans
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer continues to bring us the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: Weather is a visual field and weather geeks often review weather conditions with pictures referred to as maps or charts. On those maps are contour lines that have special names.

    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 483:

    Dauphin Island Regatta disaster

    Interactive project looking back at Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011

    Capitol Weather Gang site

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

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – Animated gif of storms near Dallas/Fort Worth April 26, 2015 (note, large file)

    Bill Murray – Bows out for an early flight

    Brian Peters – Gets fog horn!

    John Scala – Alabama leads Nation in tornado deaths

    Kevin Selle – Train being blown off tracks

    Rick Smith – Don’t park under an overpass in a hailstorm
    NWS BHM coming to a channel near you
    James Spann and lessons of April 27, 2011

    James Spann – NCAR Ensemble Forecasts

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – NWS Blacksburg, VA, summary on April 27-28, 2011

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

    Audible.com graphic

    Sunny and Warm Sunday

    | 8:04 am April 26, 2015

    No Weather Xtreme Video this morning since I am providing weather support to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.

    Much calmer weather expected for Central Alabama today after a challenging weather situation yesterday. Morning low clouds will give way to sunshine this morning with a mostly sunny afternoon expected. Look for highs to climb into the lower 80s across nearly all of Central Alabama even though a weak cold front will be moving through the Southeast US. Much of the moisture was wrung out of the atmosphere yesterday and there is little convergence with the front to force showers. The front will also usher in slightly drier air later today, so all in all a great Sunday for Central Alabama. Showers are still possible across South Alabama and the northern Gulf Coast.

    2015-04-26_15-33-40

    Central Alabama will be between systems on Monday with a closed low over the Canadian Maritimes and a closed low over the southern Rockies. This closed low will be slow to come our way with Tuesday the day for the weather to change as clouds increase and rain chances go up late in the day as rain advances across the Southeast US. The closed low will open up late Tuesday and Wednesday so I expect to see a good deal of cloudiness along with periods of rain for Wednesday as a surface low moves along the northern Gulf. With the low so far south, I do not expect to see any severe weather with this rainy period.

    As the upper trough moves by early Thursday, we should see improving weather for the end of the week and into the weekend, great news for the races at Talladega next weekend. After a cool couple of days Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures should climb back into the 70s for the end of the week and into the weekend as surface high pressure settles into the eastern US and the Southeast US.

    Beach goers will have to contend with chances for showers through the middle of the week, but the weather should turn much better after midweek as that surface low moves east. Temperatures will be in the upper 70s for highs today and Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday will be slightly cooler thanks to lots of clouds and better rain chances with highs in the lower 70s. Highs return to near 80 for the end of the week and the weekend.

    Looking out into voodoo country, another strong trough will move across the Great Lakes around the 5th of May which is expected to bring a front along with rain chances back into the forecast. After a break in the weather another trough will bring another front to the Southeast around the 11th. So the weather pattern remains fairly active as we head into May.

    Looking forward to ending a rather busy weekend with weather and the events at Barber Motorsports Park. James Spann will have the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday. Enjoy your Sunday!

    -Brian-

    An Update on Our Situation

    | 9:27 am April 25, 2015

    By Brian Peters
    9:27 AM Saturday

    First, I am unable to prepare a Weather Xtreme Video because I am providing weather support to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. My ‘office’ is an open area with numerous people checking on the latest weather, so the video would be horrible. But I thought I would post a couple of notes about the weather for Central Alabama today.

    SimuAWIPS image showing region radar (top left), current instability (bottom left) and visible satellite and surface observations (right panel).

    SimuAWIPS image showing region radar (top left), current instability (bottom left) and visible satellite and surface observations (right panel).

    First, a large cluster of thunderstorms moved through Central Alabama early this morning helping to stabilize the atmosphere for the time being. By working over the atmosphere so much, it has helped to reduce to some extent the threat of a second round of thunderstorms. The sounding from BMX at 12Z this morning showed a CAPE value of only 6 in the wake of this cluster. In addition to this, another large cluster of storms over Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana was producing some additional clouds which may help to reduce the daytime heating across Central Alabama which could conceivably aid in lowering any destabilization of the atmosphere late this morning and into the afternoon. As this cluster moves eastward along the Gulf Coast, it may help to disrupt the moist southerly flow further northward.

    Supporting additional development today is the fact that the upper trough axis still remains to our west and northwest. SPC has an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms in the Ohio River Valley just ahead of this trough. And the GFS continues to project moderately high instabilities over 3,000 j/kg with scattered thunderstorms developing.

    Satellite imagery this morning also shows some breaks in the clouds across Central Alabama and Central Mississippi. These breaks will allow for heating of the near surface layer and help with destabilization. I have noticed, however, that the lower clouds have closed off some of the breaks which may slow the destabilizing process.

    The HRRR model shows additional thunderstorms developing into the early afternoon, so we will need to be vigilant for this development. The HRRR model continued to trend toward less development into the afternoon for Central Alabama while the NAM continued to be more robust in the development of thunderstorms. The best time period for additional development still remains from the early afternoon into the early evening generally from about 1 to 9 pm. While thunderstorms may not be widespread, those that do develop could pack a good punch!

    As always, be weather safe and be sure to have a way to get weather warnings. Stay tuned to the Blog for further updates.

    -Brian-

    Stormy Sunday into Monday

    | 7:00 am April 19, 2015

    To make the blog more user friendly for those using phones and tablets, we are now embedding the Weather Xtreme video at the top of individual posts. You can also subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    ***Note: while in production of the morning video a tornado watch was issued for Southeast Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. ***

    A large cluster of storms was moving across Central Alabama early this morning. This cluster is adding additional complexity to the forecast today as it helps to stabilize the atmosphere across the state. Stronger storms were noted across extreme South Alabama. Once these storms move east, we should have a lull in the action until the upper level storm system to our northwest brings a final round of potentially severe storms to the area.

    4-19-2015 9-03-11 AM

    Lots of questions this morning on exactly how both the storms along the Gulf Coast as well as the large rain cluster moving through Central Alabama will affect the weather later today. SPC still has an enhanced area outlooked just to our west and all of Alabama remained in a standard slight risk area. It’s worth noting that the GFS MOS numbers for probability are also down for the day and only peak around 40 percent for early Monday morning. In other words, the models are struggling, too.

    Since the early morning convection will be gone by mid to late morning, I expect the atmosphere will have enough time to recover as the GFS paints a broad area of CAPE values over 1,500 j/kg for the afternoon hours. Plus we have the mesoscale convective system that should be moving through the area. While the tornado threat is not zero, the helicity and bulk shear numbers don’t seem to be that impressive. The final round of severe potential will come as the cold front approaches late tonight and into early Monday morning, but by then the atmosphere will be worked over a good deal and with the best dynamics lifting well to our north, the storms will probably be weakening though still the potential for damaging wind and some large hail.

    The upper air pattern evolves into a broad trough over the eastern half of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday as surface high pressure settles into the region and provides a couple of very nice Spring days. But the good weather does not last long as another front approaches on Thursday and an upper level trough heads our way Friday and Saturday keeping the weather unsettled for Alabama and the Southeast US.

    Wet this morning at the beach, but beach goers should see a lull for the late morning and early afternoon before additional storms occur. Highs will be in the upper 70s. Looks like some nice beach weather for midweek.

    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)

    Stay tuned to the Blog for later updates as the current weather situation unfolds. Be safe and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    More Storms Later Today and Sunday

    | 7:35 am April 18, 2015

    To make the blog more user friendly for those using phones and tablets, we are now embedding the Weather Xtreme video at the top of individual posts. You can also subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

    Looking for a brief break in the rain and storms for the morning and early afternoon before another round of rain and storms comes our way this afternoon and tonight. Clouds will keep temperatures from changing much but we should see highs push into the lower 70s. Severe weather is expected ahead of the closed low primarily from Texas to Nebraska later today.

    The closed low over Colorado will open up and move eastward on Sunday bringing more storms. The overall pattern is conducive to a severe weather threat for Sunday with the greatest risk just to the west of Alabama, but all of Alabama is in the standard slight risk for severe storms with isolated tornadoes possible. The overall situation is somewhat messy with a highly saturated environment and the ongoing precipitation which could disrupt the overall severe weather potential for Central Alabama. Best CAPE values will be to our west and these values diminish into Sunday evening. However, better to err on the side of caution and be prepared for possible severe storms.

    The severe weather risk slides east on Monday as we finally dry out with the carving out of a trough over the eastern half of the country. Tuesday and Wednesday look dry and very nice but chances for showers reenter the picture on Thursday as another cold front moves by.

    Ridging aloft should bring a dry Friday to Central Alabama, but the pattern remains active with another trough coming out of the Rockies on Saturday that promises the potential for more rain and storms Saturday and possibly into Sunday.

    At the beach, look for wet weather. A flash flood watch is in effect until Sunday for a large portion of the Gulf Coast from Pensacola westward to Galveston, TX. Not much sun for beach goers with rain likely through the weekend. Highs will be in the upper 70s today and Sunday. The weather at the beach should dry out for Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The weather pattern remains active out into week 2 or voodoo country. The GFS is painting a large ridge which promises some much warmer weather for the start to May.

    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 here on Sunday morning. Stay up with the Blog for the latest weather information on Central Alabama weather. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    WeatherBrains 481: Floating Dumpsters

    | 5:15 am April 14, 2015

    WeatherBrains Episode 481 is now online (April 13, 2015). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

    Neal Dorst, Hurricane ResearcherTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain has worked for the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA for over 30 years. He is the Data Archivist for the Division and this led into his becoming the keeper of its history. He is the author of the recent book published by the AMS: Hurricane Pioneer, Memoirs of Robert Simpson. Neal Dorst was named NOAA’s Employee of the Month for October, 2014! Neal serves crucial roles as HRD’s historian and webmaster and has been their data manager, tape librarian, and archivist for all analog, digital, and film data from the early beginnings of the “U. S. Weather Bureau” hurricane flights in 1956 to the present day. He also led the project to preserve all this archived analog data into a digital state for use by future hurricane research scientists in perpetuity. Neal Dorst, welcome to WeatherBrains!

    Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 98 at Death Valley, CA, and 11 at Antero Reservoir, CO
  • Fairly wet pattern from Texas to the Carolinas
  • Relatively little severe weather in the US at midweek
  • Rain in driest parts of Oklahoma
  • Active southern and northern portions of the jet stream
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is under the weather for the show, so others will tackle at least one email.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: It was no April Fool’s joke with what happened on April the first 55 years ago. It was the launch of the world’s first meteorological satellite and definitely was a huge milestone in keeping an eye on the weather on our planet. So we look back a few years to that first satellite.

    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 481:

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

    1954 Hurricane Season

    Book, Memoirs of Bob Simpson

    Hurricane Center’s Wallet Project

    Information on Project Stormfury

    2015 Seasonal Hurricane Forecast from Klotzbach and Gray

    Picks of the Week (POW):

    Nate Johnson – Supercell video from Lubbock

    Brian Peters – Timeline of Weather Service History

    John Scala – Impact of Snow Storms on Boston’s Economy

    Kevin Selle – Panorama of gravity wave

    Rick Smith – NWS Damage Assessment Toolkit

    James Spann – Warning Polygons

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

    Audible.com graphic

    Transitioning to Wet Weather

    | 7:06 am April 12, 2015

    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 a very nice April day for Saturday, today will be a transition day as Central Alabama gets set for about a week of unsettled weather. The day will start out dry with some high cirrus clouds, but the clouds should thicken and lower as the afternoon goes on with a possibility of showers going into the evening hours. Highs should be in the 70s.

    The current upper air pattern features a closed low over northern Mexico with a weak ridge over the Southeast US. This establishes a good southwesterly flow with moisture coming out of the Pacific across the Southeast US. A series of weak disturbances will come out across the Southeast US in the southwesterly flow. The closed low will open into a wave as the northern stream brings a front down into the area by Tuesday. The front will stall out across the Southeast US while we maintain a wet southwesterly flow aloft keeping deep moisture in place. This translates to periods of rain and storms off and on for much of the week ahead.

    The pattern does not change much until the northern stream finally digs a closed low into New Mexico Thursday keeping us in deep moisture. The latest GFS is much slower in bringing the closed low out across the Lower Mississippi River Valley, so it looks like we will stay wet into next weekend before the closed low and trough can inch by us to finally end the wet pattern. On the bright side, we will see highs primarily in the 70s and lows 58 to 64 for much of the week ahead, so no signs of any significant temperature fluctuations.

    Rainfall for the next five days could result in totals of 3 to 5 inches. While there may be some heavy rain Monday, the flash flooding threat seems minimal since we have seen a couple of days of dry weather. However, this wet pattern could result in additional heavy rains this week that may elevate the flash flood threat.

    For beach goers, look for scattered showers and thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast this week. Expect 3 to 5 hours of sun with the daily risk of passing showers or thunderstorms. No big changes in temperatures as highs will be in the 70s, and overnight lows will be in the upper 60s. The water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was about 75 degrees. There is a danger of rip currents as the wind flow becomes strong onshore over the next several days.

    Looking out into voodoo country, the end of April appears likely to remain somewhat stormy with a substantial trough/closed low around April 22nd and then another strong short wave around the 26th/27th. So no rest in the weather department.

    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 edition of the Weather Xtreme Video here first thing on Monday morning. Enjoy the day and get the rain gear ready. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Nice Saturday After Stormy Friday

    | 7:10 am April 11, 2015

    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.

    No thunder to wake up to this morning for Central Alabama as a cold front has moved to the Gulf Coast ushering in some slightly cooler and drier air. Highs today will be about the same as yesterday, however, the air will be much drier with dew points dipping back into the 40s. But don’t get used to the nice weather since the weather pattern is shaping up to be somewhat unsettled for much of the week ahead.

    The unsettled weather with the potential for some heavy rain on Monday will be a result of the active southern stream and an upper level flow from the southwest that will keep us rather wet with precipitable water values climbing above an inch and three quarters. We will see weak ridging over the Southeast US, however, with the moisture laden southwesterly flow and a series of weak disturbances moving through that flow, our weather will be unsettled with rain chances every day until the end of the week.

    At the end of the week, a strong trough in the northern stream is forecast to dig into the Central US and hopefully kick our unsettled weather pattern east. The strong trough may bring severe weather possibilities with it, but we’ll wait on making a forecast on this feature until we get a closer to the event.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: There will be a limited amount of sunshine today from Panama City westward to Gulf Shores with a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms; highs will be in the 70s. Then, very similar weather for much of next week…. about 3 to 5 hours of sun with the daily risk of showers or thunderstorms with highs in the 70s. At last check, the sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was 72 degrees.

    The weather pattern remains somewhat active out into Week 2 or voodoo country. The GFS shows another strong trough moving through the Central US around the 20th of April and then the model closes off a low over the Ohio River Valley. If this pattern comes about we could see some much unseasonably cooler weather for the latter part of April.

    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 here first thing on Sunday morning. Enjoy this lovely April day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-