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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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Wet, Wild, and Changing!

| 7:35 am April 30, 2016

It looks like the next week or so is going to see some wet, wild, and changing weather for us in Central Alabama. It was wild yesterday afternoon and evening as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) rolled through Central Alabama producing a number of hail and wind damage reports along with numerous lightning strikes knocking out power and causing several house fires. The picture below is just one example of such a fire provided to us by the Alabaster Fire Department.

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And the present pattern appears likely to stay unsettled for the next several days and that unsettled weather will be followed by a remarkably big change in the overall pattern.

This morning we’re covered with a lot of clouds with the primary weather system located at the surface over the Central Plains of the US. The upper air pattern features a large closed low just east of Denver. That low will move eastward today with more thunderstorms forecast for Central Alabama. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has the western half of Alabama in the standard slight risk for severe weather today with damaging wind the biggest threat but isolated tornadoes will also be possible.

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For the racing this weekend at Talladega, expect a mix of sun and clouds both days with the risk of a passing shower or storm from time to time. Unfortunately with showers and storm, we aren’t able to give specific times when one will pass through, but we don’t expect a big rain mass to set in for hours. A very good chance they get the Sparks Energy 300 in today, and the GEICO 500 in tomorrow, but a delay is possible either day. Keep an eye on radar. Please remember the 8 mile lightning rule. Lightning within 8 miles, you should get inside a substantial building or inside your car or truck. Don’t mess around with it! Lightning kills – don’t be a statistic.

If your plans call for heading to the beach, scattered showers and storms are possible for the next several days. Highs will be around 80 on the immediate coast with 80s inland. Low temperatures will be around 70. You will find a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

As the upper closed low works eastward in the flow it will weaken substantially, but it will also leave behind a trough over the Southwest US. At the surface, the surface low works across the Ohio River Valley with a front slowly dragging down into the Southeast US. By Monday and Tuesday, the upper trough over the Southwest US comes out across the Plains States and we begin to see a major change in the overall upper air pattern. We stay fairly warm with highs in the 80s but continued potential for showers and storms.

By Tuesday and Wednesday, a big ridge develops over the western US while a substantial trough develops over the eastern US. This will sweep the unsettled weather out of the area Tuesday with Wednesday becoming sunny and dry once again. Temperatures will gradually come down. By Thursday and Friday, the upper trough is forecast to really dig south with a pattern that will be more representative of one we see in the winter. Friday morning appears to be the chilliest according to the latest model data and we could well see morning lows well down into the 40s. This values could be 10 degrees colder than we typically see for early May.

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The weather stays nice into the weekend as the upper ridge gradually weakens somewhat and moves eastward. Saturday we could still see some morning lows into the 40s with most places around 50 with the afternoon high in the mid 70s, the potential for a gorgeous early May weekend.

Looking further out into voodoo country, the pattern definitely stays active. The ridge keeps our weather good through May 9th. A strong trough comes across the Mississippi River around the 10th that promises some wet weather for the Southeast US. Another trough takes shape over the eastern US around the 12th of May and then the pattern begins to flatten somewhat around the 14th of May.

Looking forward to being out with other ABC 3340 staff members at Celebrate Hoover today. Be sure to come out to Veterans Park off Valleydale Road in Hoover and say hello. Lots of activities and things to see plus some great food choices. The event is free. I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 8 am or so on Sunday morning.

-Brian-

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WeatherBrains 536: I Knew Nothing About Tornadoes

| 5:15 am April 26, 2016

WeatherBrains Episode 536 is now online (April 25, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

This episode of WeatherBrains will look back five years to the historic weather events of April 27, 2011, in the Southeast US, especially Alabama. Joining us tonight is Kim Cross, author of What Stands in a Storm, a story that traces the events that day through compelling stories from the people who survived that day. Also part of the discussion includes Stephen Latimer, Forecaster NWS Huntsville, AL, and Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist-in-Charge, NWS Birmingham, AL.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 101 at Cotulla, TX, and Laredo, TX, and 13 at Mount Washington, NH
  • Moderate risk for severe weather in Nation’s heartland for Day 2 (see graphic below)
  • Drought still strong in southern California
  • Very little cold weather in US
  • High wind/dry conditions in Southwest US
  • Some winter weather in Central Rockies
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Day 2 Severe Weather Outlook

Our email bag officer (Aubrey) is back with a summary of emails from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: No WeatherBrains 101 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 536:

NOAA’s Natural Disaster Survey Report on April 27, 2011

Summary of Historic Tornado Event of April 27, 2011, from NWS Birmingham

NWS, Huntsville, AL, Remembering April 27, 2011

Kim Cross’s What Stands in a Storm

Article on families accepting diplomas after April 27, 2011

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

Picks of the Week:

Kim Cross – Bo Bikes Bama

Nate Johnson – ASCII weather art

Stephen Latimer & Jim Stefkovich – NWS interactive site for April 27, 2011, stories/pictures

Bill Murray – NOAA Interactive Maps for April 27, 2011

Brian Peters – SPC WCM 25-Year tornado averages

Kevin Selle – Turn Around, Don’t Drown

James Spann – NWS Louisville, KY, Shareholders Report

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Rocky Mtn Fire 2016, Shenandoah Valley

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, 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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Cool Start but a Warm Afternoon

| 7:48 am April 24, 2016

Just a reminder that I am providing weather support to the operations at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, so there will not be a video produced today. Here is a discussion of the weather ahead.

Sunshine will allow temperatures to rise into the lower and middle 80s across Central Alabama today. Dew points are also down a tad, so the relative humidity will be lower than usual with readings around 40 percent this afternoon. If you do have plans to see any of the races at Barber Motorsports Park, be sure to pack the sunscreen.

At the beach, look for plenty of sunshine and very nice weather today and for much of the week ahead. Afternoon highs are in the 70s along the immediate coast, with lower 80s just inland. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

A strong upper low will come out of the Rockies today and Monday producing a round of severe weather in the Central Plains States. SPC has outlooked a enhanced risk for storms for Northeast Kansas and Southeast Nebraska with an area marks as slight risk from North Central Oklahoma to western Iowa. A surface low will track eastward from western South Dakota to the Mid-Atlantic states by Tuesday. Both the upper low and the surface low will weaken as they move eastward Monday and Tuesday.

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Behind that first system, another upper trough will dig into the southern Rockies by Tuesday and begin to eject eastward. This will produce another round of severe weather in a band from North Central Texas northward into northern Nebraska (Day 3) and across a sizable area of the Middle Mississippi River Valley on Day 4 (Wednesday).

While all of the action is going on well to our west and northwest, a large ridge will remain in place across the Southeast US keeping us warm through midweek with highs in the 80s. These values will be about 5 to 7 degrees higher than we usually experience this time of year. Isolated showers will be possible to the east and south of Central Alabama as the air mass becomes warm and more moist.

Thursday a front is expected to drag into the Southeast US, so right now it appears our best shot for some rain will come in the Thursday-Friday time frame. The front is forecast to weaken and wash out, but with that boundary lingering around we could see some isolated showers into the weekend. But all indications are that we’ll continue to see warm weather with lows in the 60s and highs in the 80s, mainly middle 80s.

Looking out into voodoo country, yet another trough comes out of the Rockies on Monday, May 2, but this one promises to come out much further south as the ridge over the Southeast US breaks down. It’s much too early to state specifics, but this could bring a round of severe storms to the Southeast US in the May 2nd to 4th time frame. That trough is forecast by the GFS to be pretty deep, so we could see a round of pretty chilly temperatures in the May 5th to 6th time frame. And the GFS keeps a chillier look to the pattern through May 10th with a deep trough over the eastern US and a large ridge over the Rockies, the exact opposite of what we are seeing right now.

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James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning. Enjoy this great spring weather. Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Very Nice Spring Weekend

| 6:58 am April 23, 2016

I am handling weather support for the Honda Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports, so there will not be a video this morning. There will probably not be a video tomorrow either.

The weather looks great for the weekend with plenty of sunshine, highs in the upper 70s today and around 80 Sunday, and lower humidity so it will feel great, too. We started the day out on a cool-isa note with much of Central Alabama dipping back into the lower 50s with a few places across North Alabama in the middle and upper 40s.

For beach goers, look for mostly sunny days and fair nights on the Gulf Coast through the middle of the week with highs in the 70s on the immediate coast and 80s inland with morning lows mainly in the 60s. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the low 70s. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is being held at Barber Motorsports Park today and Sunday with sunny weather both days; 78 is the forecast high today with low 80s Sunday. Get ticket information here.

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Talladega race weekend will be next weekend. While still a little early for a very specific forecast, the pattern is looking pretty good with warm and dry weather expected.

The upper trough that brought some unsettled weather to Central Alabama yesterday is moving off the Mid-Atlantic States today as we come under a strong ridge. The upper ridge along with a surface high will keep our weather warm and dry through the middle of the week. Look for highs to rise into the lower 80s through midweek with lows in the 60s.

For the latter half of next week, there seems to be fairly good agreement between the European and the GFS with a surface low moving across the southern portion of the Great Lakes and into the Atlantic. The ridge manages to hold fairly strong for the Southeast US as the surface low drags a weakening front into the area. This brings the potential for showers during the latter part of next week and potentially into the weekend.

The system at midweek looks strong so the SPC folks have included a risk of severe storms into Day 4 and Day 5. All indications are that this could be a fairly significant severe weather episode over a couple of days.

Looking out into voodoo country, the pattern remains active with a pretty stout trough around May 3rd that could spell some cooler weather for the eastern half of the county. Another low latitude trough enters the picture around May 6th that could spell some wet weather for the Central Gulf Coast area and the Southeast US. A deep closed low follows that on May 8th that has the potential for producing another round of severe storms.

And if you have been following the tropics at all, Fantala continued to church in the South Indian Ocean north of Madagascar but much weaker that it was a week ago. After going back and forth several times, the latest forecast track takes it into the eastern coast of Africa in a weakening condition around the 28th of April.

I will plan on posting another weather discussion tomorrow morning around 8 am or so. The conditions for producing a video are just not very conducive with people coming and going and the roar of race cars.

-Brian-

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WeatherBrains 535: I didn’t use the bail money

| 5:20 am April 18, 2016

WeatherBrains Episode 535 is now online (April 18, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Kory HartmanOur Guest WeatherBrain tonight is Kory Hartman. Kory is a veteran of WeatherBrains having appeared on episodes 385, 315, 126, and 117. Kory Hartman is the CEO at SevereStudios, a site that is familiar to everyone on this show. He is also a member of the weather staff at KSFY in Sioux Falls as a weekend meteorologist and webmaster.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 97 at Death Valley, CA, and 15 at Big Piney, WY
  • Absolutely incredible flooding in Houston/Harris County Texas
  • Authorities performed over 1,200 high water rescues today
  • And the rain continued to fall in Southeast Texas
  • Cyclone Fantala churning in the South Indian Ocean
  • Other areas relatively quiet
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer is trying to catch up, so the email bag will be summarized fully next week.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: The 101 segment will occasionally profile a person who has had a major impact on the science. So in remembrance of the passing of Dr. Bill Gray, hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, this episode details his life and some of the major accomplishments he achieved in more than 50 years in weather.

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 535:

Severe Studios

Chaser-Spotter article 1

Chaser-Spotter article 2

Chaser-Spotter article 3

ARRL/NWS Memorandum of Understanding

NWS SKYWARN Weather Spotter Program

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

Picks of the Week:

Kory Hartman – Video discussing safety lessons from El Reno Tornado

Nate Johnson – NEXLAB Models for iPhone

Brian Peters – Houston Chronicle viewer flooding pictures

John Scala – Weather for previous Boston Marathons

Kevin Selle – Practical Meteorology, An Algebra-based Survey of Atmospheric Science and Meteorology for Scientists and Engineers, 3rd Edition

Rick Smith – Photographer experiences rising water firsthand

James Spann – Is There Any Hope for TV Meteorologists

Aubrey Urbanowicz – Shenandoah National Park fire

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Dr. John Scala, 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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Sunshine for Several Days

| 7:08 am April 17, 2016

Saturday turned out to be a fairly nice day, though the strong east wind was a little brisk especially during the morning. But overnight the upper level weakness continued to dissipate, and most of Alabama is waking up to clear skies this morning. With plenty of sunshine look for the afternoon highs to reach well into the 70s with most places in the middle 70s.

Beach weather looks good, too, with plenty of sunshine ahead for those at the beach. Through midweek there will be dry weather with more sun than clouds, so be sure to use the sunscreen. Afternoon highs will be in the 70s. This latest reading at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach showed the water temperature at 68 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

There is not much to say about the weather in Central Alabama from Monday through Wednesday. We will see lots of sunshine with a gradual warming trend as highs climb to the lower 80s by Wednesday. Morning lows will be cool but not too chilly with readings around 50 Monday and Tuesday and into the upper 50s Wednesday.

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Yesterday the GFS seemed to be struggling with exactly what to do with the weather for the end of the week. Well the latest GFS run has a pretty big change that will mean drier weather for next weekend. The upper low over the Southwest US eventually lifts out to the north and then phases with the large trough over northern Canada to move eastward across the Middle Mississippi River Valley. Below this upper trough, a surface low will develop in the vicinity of Paducah, KY, and move northeast into New England by Friday. This drags a cold front across Alabama late Thursday and early Friday. This represents a big change in the overall pattern from yesterday which brought the front into the area and stalled it.

This solution is also very close to the solution presented by the European model, so confidence is fairly high with both global models in close agreement. This solution puts our best rain chances from late Thursday afternoon into the first half of Friday. The front pushes well off the Southeast US coast on Saturday, so Saturday and Sunday should be very nice days with temperatures close to expected seasonal values with lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be at Barber Motorsports Park next weekend, April 22-24, and the latest model projections suggest some great weather for racing. You can get ticket information here.

Looking further afield, both the GFS and ECMWF are suggesting a large upper ridge over the eastern US for the first half of week 2. The ridge holds into the second half of the week, but a fairly strong short wave trough around April 29th promises some active weather late that week.

I had a great time at the Mutt Strut on Saturday morning with Meaghan Thomas. She ran the race while I held down the meet-and-greet tasks at the ABC 3340 booth. Nice to have a dry event for the Mutt Strut and the steady to brisk east wind kept everyone cool. Our promotions director, Karen Swann, was in the race, too, but she did a combination of walk/run. Both ladies mentioned that the race course was a tough because of the numerous hills.

James Spann will be back in the saddle come Monday morning with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. You can always check in with the blog for the latest notes on the weather. Enjoy the sunshine and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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