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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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Another Hot One Before a Break

| 7:11 am June 26, 2016

As the upper ridge to our west holds on across mainly the western half of Alabama, the NWS in Birmingham has gone ahead with another heat advisory for today generally west of the I-65 corridor. Look for highs to once again climb into the middle and upper 90s across Central Alabama, and the heat will again generate afternoon thunderstorms. As we saw yesterday, a few of these storms may be severe with damaging wind the greatest threat.


Beautiful weather is in store for beachgoers to the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida for the next couple of days. Expect plenty of sunshine, with only an isolated afternoon and evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs will be near 90 degrees each day, while lows will be in the middle 70s. Rain chances go up at midweek, but thunderstorms will not create a complete washout. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was 89 degrees.

SPC maintains a marginal risk for organized severe storms generally along the front stretching from the eastern Great Lakes area into the Texas Panhandle for today, Day 1. Day 2 and 3 each feature an area of slight risk in western Nebraska and eastern Colorado. And the tropical weather picture remains quiet with no specific areas of concern.

The heat ridge will slowly ebb westward Monday and Tuesday as a large upper closed low traverses southern Canada. This upper low will gradually dig out a trough over the eastern half of the US to complete a pattern shift by the latter half of the week. A surface front will be approach the Southeast US on Monday helping to increase thunderstorm coverage for us. The front moves into South Alabama on Tuesday which should also bring some better rain chances to all of Central Alabama. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches will be possible in parts of Central and South Alabama over the next five days with the best chances coming Monday and Tuesday. With the presence of more thunderstorms as well as clouds, we should see the highs held to the lower 90s.


Wednesday and Thursday we should see dry weather. With dew points forecast to be lower – generally in the lower 60s – highs in the upper 80s are possible and that lower humidity will help make it feel not quite as hot.

The upper air pattern will flatten by Friday as we see moisture levels rise once again. This means a return to those heat-driven afternoon and early evening thunderstorms as we head into the weekend. Highs should climb into the lower 90s again.

While we are under the northwesterly flow during the middle and latter part of the week ahead, we will have to be vigilant for the development of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the Central US. These thunderstorms clusters can travel hundreds of miles and completely bust a forecast, but there is no skill this far in advance to specify the time and location of their occurrence. Knowing that this pattern will exist keeps us alert to their formation and makes us ready to make adjustments to forecasts as needed.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS maintains a trough across the eastern US until July 9th. From the 9th to the 11th, the pattern gradually morphs back into a ridge over the Mississippi River Valley. This ridge does not appear to be quite as strong as the one we’re just coming out of, but it does mean a return to warmer than typical temperatures.

James Spann is expected back from his vacation on Monday morning with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. Please be aware of the heat and use common sense to stay hydrated and to not overdo it with your outside activities. Have a great day and Godspeed.



Observation Confirms the Heat

| 1:58 pm June 25, 2016

The observation at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport reach 97 just before the 1 pm observation time, and that temperature establishes today as the hottest day so far in 2016. And that may go even higher yet. Remember, there is a heat advisory in effect until 9 pm this evening, so be sure to factor in the heat with whatever you plan to do outside.

Radar also showed isolated showers developing in that afternoon heat across North and Central Alabama. Very few spots were getting any rain. One shower developed very close to my weather station which produced a few large drops on my driveway as well as a temperature drop of 10 degrees. Unfortunately, the humidity went up and the temperature has recovered most of those lost degrees as the shower move away from my location.

Another hot day tomorrow, but there is a pattern shift coming that promises some slightly cooler weather along with some lower humidity at midweek.



Hotter Each Hour

| 10:22 am June 25, 2016

The weather observation at 10 am at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport was 91 degrees which is 4 degrees warmer than the temperature at the same time yesterday morning. So today is shaping up to be one of the hottest days we’ve seen in 2016. The hottest temperature so far this year according to National Weather Service data at the airport was 96 degrees on June 13th. Based on the morning warmth so far, it looks like we’ll probably see that fact change with a high of 97 or 98.

It’s no wonder the temperature is higher today when you consider where we started. The morning low this morning was 80 degrees in Birmingham which is THE warmest low recorded so far this year.


Just a reminder that most of North and Central Alabama with the exception of East Central Alabama (see image above) will be under a heat advisory beginning at noon today and extending until 9 pm. Just keep the heat in mind and adjust your outside activities by taking it easy with frequent breaks and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.


Hot Weekend for Central Alabama

| 6:51 am June 25, 2016

The early morning satellite image reveals just a few patches of clouds in spots across Alabama, so almost everyone will be waking up to plenty of sunshine for the morning. And just like we’ve been seeing for the past several days, there will be some of those puffy cumulus clouds forming in the afternoon sky with the potential for an isolated shower or thunderstorm, but most of us remain dry. The heat is up with the highs expected to be in the middle and upper 90s across the state. The warmth along with the relatively high humidity will result in heat indices reaching the 105 mark today, so the NWS has posted a heat advisory until 9 pm this evening for much of the western and southern sections of Central Alabama along with the Tennessee River Valley counties.

For beachgoers, this weekend promises to be beautiful along Alabama and Northwest Florida beaches. It will be seasonably hot, with highs around 90 and lows in the middle 70s. Rain chances will pick up by Monday afternoon and will stay fairly high from Monday afternoon through Wednesday.

The main focus for organized severe weather will be well north of Central Alabama in the western Great Lakes area including parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and eastern Nebraska. The Day 2 outlook shifts the area eastward to Michigan. By Day 3 there is a slight risk further west in parts of eastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, and northwestern Kansas.

Tropics remain quiet. The area of cloudiness over the Southwest Gulf of Mexico remains on a steady course west-northwestward without any signs of development.


The 594 height contour will be centered over Mississippi today with just a small nudge westward on Sunday. But the big change starts on Monday as the large upper closed low moves across southern Canada and into the southeast part of Canada on Monday. This begins the process of initiating a pattern change that will end up with a trough over the eastern part of the US. Monday that big upper low will drag a surface front down into Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys and boost the chances for showers and thunderstorms especially just to our north. That front slowly sags into Central Alabama on Tuesday bringing our best chances for numerous showers and thunderstorms. The combination of that big ridge being forced back west, the additional clouds, and the presence of more showers and storms should result in highs in the lower 90s.

Small chances for showers linger early Wednesday, but by late Wednesday and Thursday the upper trough along with a surface high positioned over Illinois should bring another break in the heat and humidity with dew points falling off nicely to around 60. That 12 to 15 degree difference from dew points today will certainly feel nice with highs holding in the range of 88 to 91.


As we end the week and head into next weekend, the upper air pattern is expected to remain with a trough over the easter US and a ridge over Arizona and New Mexico. There is a potential to see some short waves rotating through this trough, so we may see the potential for isolated showers and storms returning as we begin to warm back up again with highs by Saturday in the lower 90s. All good things must come to an end.

The upper troughiness sticks with us through the 4th of July, but after that the pattern slowly changes once again as a large upper ridge reestablishes itself over the Southeast US. This signals a return to hot and mostly dry weather from the 5th through the 10th of July.

I will be filling in for Meaghan Thomas today on ABC 3340 News at 6 and 10 pm, so be sure to tune in to catch the latest forecast. I plan to post the next Weather Xtreme Video here by 8 am or so on Sunday morning. Have a great day, be careful with outdoor work and play in the heat, and Godspeed.



Heat Slowly Rising

| 7:09 am June 24, 2016

The remnants of a couple of MCSs (Mesoscale Convective Systems) moving through Tennessee this morning are helping to produce cloudiness over the northern third of Alabama, mainly the Tennessee River Valley counties. These MCSs continue to dissipate but are leaving some mesoscale boundaries in place across North Alabama where we may see some scattered thunderstorms develop this afternoon. I’m expecting to see an isolated thunderstorm or two develop in the afternoon heat across Central Alabama, but most people will remain dry. If you were watching the radar carefully yesterday afternoon, being sure NOT to blink, there were two small showers that developed and dissipated very quickly. And the heat continues to slowly increase with highs mainly in the middle 90s expected this afternoon as that huge ridge

This weekend promises to be beautiful along Alabama and Northwest Florida beaches. It will be seasonably hot, with highs near 90 and lows in the middle 70s. Rain chances will pick up by Monday afternoon and will be fairly high Monday afternoon through Wednesday. Water temperatures were in the middle 80s at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Tropics remain quiet with the exception of the area of cloudiness I mentioned over the western Caribbean yesterday. Any development of this area will be slow to occur as it moves on a motion to the west-northwest.


SPC has outlined the standard slight risk area for severe weather today across the Carolinas and Virginia along with an area centered primarily on northern North Dakota. Day 2, Saturday, the risk will in the region of the western Great Lakes. Sunday, or Day 3, the slight risk area moves into the eastern Great Lakes area with a marginal risk along the front trailing southwestward into the Central US.

The big heat ridge moves over the eastern half of the country on Saturday, so I expect to see highs in the middle and upper 90s. Heat indices will be flirting with the 105 value, so a heat advisory may be required. Just be aware of the heat and slow down your outdoor activities and be sure to stay hydrated by drinking water.

The heat continues into Sunday with another hot day with highs in the middle and upper 90s. Again, a heat advisory may be necessary.

But changes begin to occur on Monday as that strong closed low moves eastward into Southeast Canada with a cold front trailing southwestward into Tennessee and Arkansas. This helps to beat that big heat ridge back to the west. That together with more clouds and the potential for scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms will help to keep the heat in check with highs mainly in the lower and middle 90s. Not much of a reduction, but it should be enough to get us away from the need for heat advisories.

Our better chances for rain will come Monday and into Tuesday with the cold front in our area. The GFS has trended a bit slower with the front, so Tuesday will probably be the best day for many people to get wet.

The overall upper air pattern from Wednesday through Friday will be a trough over the eastern US with the ridge once again established over the Southwest US in the vicinity of the Four Corners area. This pattern should offer us some additional heat relief with highs in the 90 to 93 range for the end of next week. This pattern also favors slightly lower humidity with dew points falling back into the middle 60s. Again, not a big change, but just enough to keep it from feeling so oppressively hot.


The trough, though, establishes a northwesterly flow aloft, so the Southeast US will need to be vigilant for the potential development of these MCSs over the Central US that can travel hundreds of miles and bring stormy weather to the Southeast US. The GFS hints at the potential for this to happen. There is no skill this far out in determining exactly when and where these may occur, so we’ll just have to be watchful and be prepared to adjust forecasts as we see them develop.

The overall pattern of the trough in the eastern US is maintained by this run of the GFS all the way through week 2. This keeps us out of any extreme heat. And if you saw the Weather Xtreme Video yesterday, that tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico that took aim on Louisiana is, yup, you guessed it, G-O-N-E!!

I’ll have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here on Saturday morning. Enjoy the day and Godspeed.



Summer Heat into the Weekend

| 6:58 am June 23, 2016

Once again this morning Central Alabama finds itself coming under a large upper ridge that will keep it hot through the weekend. There were a few clouds in the morning sky, but we’ll still see plenty of sunshine today to warm the air into the lower and middle 90s.


The rest of this week and into the weekend promises to be beautiful along the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. It will be seasonably hot with highs near 90 and lows in the middle 70s. Rain chances will pick up by Monday afternoon and will be fairly high Monday afternoon through Wednesday. Water temperatures remained warm with 83 degrees reported at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has an enhanced risk for severe storms over West Virginia, southern Ohio, and northern Kentucky today as the system that brought the severe storms to northern Illinois and Indiana progresses eastward. Day Two (Friday) shows a slight risk along the eastern Carolinas and across northern North Dakota. Day Three (Saturday) will see the best chances for organized severe weather across Wisconsin and Minnesota with a marginal risk extending southwest into the Texas Panhandle.

The tropics remain quiet. A large area of cloudiness was noted over the western Caribbean and the Yucatan Peninsula, but there were no signs of any development in that area.

That upper ridge will remain the primary weather feature in the weather pattern for Central Alabama through Sunday. A strong upper low moving across the southern section of Canada will begin to beat that ridge back to the west on Monday as the overall upper air pattern makes a significant change. This means that we stay quite warm into the weekend with highs in the middle 90s and some spots pushing the upper 90s. Heat index values could push that 105 mark, so a heat advisory might be required.

By Tuesday, a trough has begun digging into the eastern US which will help to push a front into the Tennessee River Valley. So Monday and into Tuesday we should see better chances for rain although it will continue to be the showery variety so not everyone may get wet. Temperatures will fall back too as a result of the clouds and the presence of more showers. Look for highs to top out in the lower 90s, basically 90 to 92.


The upper air pattern keeps that trough along the East Coast of the US, so we’ll be under a northwesterly flow. The GFS is once again hinting at the potential for the development of an MCS or two in that flow. This is the development of a large cluster of thunderstorms over the Plains states that will make its way southeastward and could affect parts of the Southeast US. There is no skill this far out to be specific on exactly when and where these develop. This requires keeping a watchful eye for this type of thing to happen with adjustments to forecasts sometimes at the last minute.

Looking out into voodoo country, tropical weather enthusiasts will probably like what the GFS is cooking up now. The GFS maintains a trough over the eastern half of the US as we enter July. That means we should stay warm but keep out of any extreme heat. From July 4th through July 6th the GFS picks up on what could be another tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico that takes aim for Louisiana. We’ll watch this feature in future runs, IF its there.

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 7 to 7:30 on Friday morning. I hope you enjoy your day. Godspeed.



Heat Continues That Upward Trend

| 7:05 am June 22, 2016

There were a few clouds in the Central Alabama sky this morning, but as that huge ridge to our west continues to nose slowly into the Southeast US, the heat will continue to climb. I expect to see highs mainly in the lower 90s – high in Birmingham yesterday was 92 – but some spots will certainly challenge the mid 90s. If you are looking for some real heat, try Death Valley, CA, where the high yesterday was 126 degrees, but the humidity was around 5 percent.

The Midwest is looking at a very active day today in a band running from southern Minnesota across the Chicago area and into western Ohio to about Cincinnati. All modes of severe weather will be possible, and there is a potential to see a long-lived derecho event. The severe weather in the vicinity of Chicago is likely to wreak havoc with flights later today and into tonight.


The severe weather risk shifts to the Mid-Atlantic states on Day 2, Thursday. By Friday, still a slight risk in the Carolinas and another one centered on northern North Dakota.

Fortunately, the tropics remain quiet.

Great week for beachgoers underway along the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. You’ll find mostly sunny skies, only isolated afternoon and evening showers and storms, and warm temperatures typical of June this week. Highs will be near 90. Lows will be in the middle 70s. The sea water temperature at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach was 82 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The ridge will remain the feature of interest in our weather pattern through the weekend and into Monday. A front drags into the Southeast US Friday, so it looks like isolated showers will be possible on that day and into the weekend. Because the upper ridge is going to build stronger on Saturday, we will probably see some pretty hot days with highs in the upper 90s. And with humidity values up, heat indices could increase to 105 degree or higher, so a heat advisory may be required over the weekend. This kind of heat can certainly sneak up on you, so be sure to use good sense by limiting outdoor work, exercise, or play and be sure to stay hydrated while you are active outside.

A strong trough/closed low moves along the US-Canadian border on Sunday and Monday which will help to beat back the ridge and force it to retrograde. This action should lower the heat for us by Monday. Combine this upper air action with the approach of a cold front Monday and Tuesday which will improve rain chances and produce considerably more clouds, and it sure looks like we will see a break in the heat. Highs Monday and Tuesday will probably drop back to around 90.


Come Wednesday, the GFS is projecting a broad trough across the eastern US which places the Southeast US under a northwesterly flow pattern. The GFS is hinting at the potential for a minor short wave in the Kansas/Nebraska area. While there is not much skill in the specific forecast of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) this far out, it is a reminder that we’ll need to stay on our toes and be vigilant about one of these long-lived thunderstorm events that can impact us.

The GFS maintains the idea of troughiness in the eastern US well out into voodoo country. There is also a potential to see a weak closed low over the Lower Mississippi River Valley around July 3rd which means limited summer heat and enough forcing to make thunderstorms somewhat more numerous.

Just a reminder that James Spann is currently on vacation, so we are on a one-a-day schedule with the Weather Xtreme Videos. So I expect to have the next one posted here in the 7 to 7:30 time frame on Thursday morning. Enjoy your day and stay cool. Godspeed.



Here come the 90s

| 7:03 am June 21, 2016

The high in Birmingham yesterday was 89 degrees, and that was probably the last time we’ll see values under 90 degrees for at least a week. There are some high cirrus clouds across Alabama this morning from convection that went on yesterday well west of us. A cold front dropping into Kentucky this morning may generate a few storms north of us, but Alabama is expected to stay dry as that huge ridge to our west expands its influence into the Southeast US. This means temperatures will go up with lower 90s for highs today. And it won’t feel quite as nice as yesterday as the dew points join the temperatures by moving upward.

Great week for beachgoers underway along the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. You’ll find mostly sunny skies, only isolated afternoon and evening showers and storms, and warm temperatures typical of June this week. Highs will be near 90. Lows will be in the middle 70s. Water temperatures are climbing out of the lower 80s into the middle 80s. The detailed beach forecast can be found here.

Tropical Storm Danielle has moved into eastern Mexico and the National Hurricane Center has issued the last advisory on that storm. Elsewhere across the Tropical Atlantic things are quiet for now.

The weather system and front moving through the Great Lakes area and Mid-Atlantic States will be the focus for organized severe weather for the next three days. In fact, SPC has outlined a moderate risk for severe storms on Day 2, Wednesday, centered over Chicago. The primary threat for Day 2 will be large hail.


The upper ridge will be the primary feature in the weather pattern for the Southeast US for the next several days. The 594 height contour will cover the southern tier of the US from coast to coast Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. A weak front will approach the Tennessee River from the north on Friday perhaps aiding in the development of afternoon showers and thunderstorms, but I’m not optimistic that many people will see rain. By Friday highs will be well into the middle 90s with some places pushing the upper 90s.

A strong upper low coming across Montana on Saturday will pump up the ridge over the eastern US even more producing what may be the hottest day we’ll see in the week ahead. Look for highs to climb into the upper 90s. A heat advisory may be required as the heat indices surge into the 105 to 108 range. Without a great deal of change, Sunday will also be hot like Saturday.

But the upper low moving across the Great Lakes on Monday and Tuesday will beat that huge ridge back to the west. That together with the front that it will drag into the Southeast US should be enough to provide us with fairly good chances for thunderstorms. Clouds and the presence of thunderstorms should also bring some relief in the heat with highs held to the lower 90s.

Did you see the Weather Xtreme Video yesterday? If you did, you may remember the impressive closed low over Arkansas around July 5th or so. Well, the GFS is sticking to its guns – sort of. The GFS still has a closed low over Arkansas on July 6th, but this one is considerably weaker than the one we saw yesterday and much more believable. Of course, we’re still talking about voodoo country.

I plan to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here around 7 to 7:30 tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back her for later updates on the Alabama weather scene. Have a great day and Godspeed.



WeatherBrains 544: Pushing Buttons in the Elevator

| 5:15 am June 21, 2016

WeatherBrains Episode 544 is now online (June 20, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you! Show was actually recorded on Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Dr. James Fleming, Colby CollegeOur guest WeatherBrain for this show is Dr. James Fleming, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. Dr. Fleming has a BS in Astronomy from Pennsylvania State University, an MS in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University, and an MA and PH.D. in History of Science from Princeton University.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 107 at Carlsbad, NM, and 25 at Winnemucca, NV
  • Disturbed area in western Caribbean but over land
  • Northwest flow storms in Mid-Atlantic and Southeast US
  • Big heat ridge over Southwest US
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer tries to get a handle on the incoming messages from our listeners for the last couple of weeks.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: There is no WeatherBrains 101 segment for this podcast. It should return on the next 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 544:

Colby College, Waterville, ME

Colby College, Science, Technology, and Society Dept.

Fixing the Sky

Inventing Atmospheric Science

Blog by Dr. Fleming

History of Project Cirrus

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

Picks of the Week from the WeatherBrains Gang:

Dr. James Fleming – Courses at Colby

Bill Murray – gets the fog horn!

Brian Peters – WeatherRadio app by WDT

Kevin Selle – can’t find it!

James Spann – National Data Buoy Center

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. graphic

TD 4 Becomes Danielle

| 6:47 am June 20, 2016

In the process of putting together the Weather Xtreme Video, NHC has upgraded TD 4 to Tropical Storm Danielle. Danielle will be moving slowly into the east coast of Mexico during the day today producing heavy rainfall in the 6 to 10 inch range along with gusty wind. The advisory on Danielle is produced below.



700 AM CDT MON JUN 20 2016


LOCATION...20.6N 96.0W




A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Laguna Verde to Rio Panuco Mexico

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor
products issued by your national meteorological service.

At 700 AM CDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Danielle was
located near latitude 20.6 North, longitude 96.0 West.  Danielle is
moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph (11 km/h), and this
general motion is expected to continue over the next day or so.  On
the forecast track, the center of Danielle is expected to move
inland over eastern Mexico later today or tonight.

Recent reports from an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance
aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to
near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening
is forecast before Danielle makes landfall in Mexico later today.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km)
from the center.

The minimum central pressure recently measured by the reconnaissance
aircraft was 1008 mb (29.77 inches).

RAINFALL:  Danielle is expected to produce total rainfall
accumulations of 6 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of
15 inches possible in higher terrain over the Mexican states of
Veracruz, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, Hidalgo, and
northern Puebla.  These rains could cause life-threatening flash
floods and mud slides.

WIND:  Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the coast
within portions of the warning area later this morning, making
outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Next complete advisory at 1000 AM CDT.

Forecaster Stewart