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WeatherBrains 444: Holding Nate Back

| 5:15 am July 29, 2014

WeatherBrains Episode 444 is now online (July 28, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest Panelist is the Morning and Midday Meteorologist at KFSN, the ABC O&O in Fresno, CA. She is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University. She is famous for her 3D weather cakes which have attracted a cult following.

When you look in the dictionary for the definition of the word climatologist, you see tonight’s picture next to it. She served in state climatology offices for nearly twenty years, serving in the position of State Climatologist for Wisconsin from 1989-1996 and Assistant State Climatologist for Georgia from 2001-11. She is a Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists and she is a CCM as well. She currently serves as the Agricultural Climatologist for the Crop and Soil Sciences Department at UGA. And she does all this while keeping one of our favorite guests, Dr. John Knox, straight. Dr. Pam Knox, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 111 at Glendale, AZ, and 33 at Pahaska, WY and at Snake River Ranger Station, WY
  • Atlantic quiet but a wave moving through South Central Atlantic may become second named storm
  • Bill eating Indian food in Calgary, Alberta
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: Sometimes there are terms which just don’t seem to fit the meaning that they have. We’re not making fun of this word, but when put in context of other things in life, it seems to be contrary in meaning. So see how this applies to extratropical.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of July 28th.

    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 444:

    ABC 30 Fresno, Shelby’s station

    On the Case – Knox Blog

    John Christy/Kerry Immanuel Climate Discussion

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – KickStarter Project – Forecasting toolkit for iPad

    Bill Murray – Experimental

    Brian Peters – Gets the Fog Horn!

    James Spann – Atlantic Wind Shear

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – Blog on El Nino Status

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

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    Hot Again Today But a Change Coming

    | 6:52 am July 27, 2014

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

    The upper ridge to our west forced itself eastward yesterday bringing Central Alabama one of the warmest days of the year. Today heat values will be up while we stay dry across the northern two-thirds of the state of Alabama. Highs will be in the 93 to 98 range today with heat indices climbing into the 100 to 105 range in the area generally south of Birmingham. The National Weather Service has posted a heat advisory for the southern portion of Central Alabama including places like Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa, Clanton, Troy, and Demopolis to name a few. But another major change is coming with yet another summer cold front promising to bring thunderstorms on Monday with much cooler and drier air to the Southeast US on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The upper ridge gets pushed back later today with the digging of a strong trough across the Great Lakes region and into the eastern US. This will force a cold front – the fourth one in July this year – into the Southeast US and bring a round of thunderstorms to the area Monday. With the front coming in just a tad faster than I thought yesterday, SPC has defined a specific slight risk area for the development of isolated severe storms capable of damaging wind and perhaps large hail with the front on Monday afternoon mainly in South Alabama and stretching eastward into South Georgia and the coastal area of the Carolinas.

    The trough sweeps in pushing the front well down into the Gulf of Mexico Monday evening setting us up for cooler and drier air once again. Wednesday morning we could see record lows set in Central Alabama. The current record for July 30th is 61 set in 1994 for Birmingham.

    The pattern remains unchanged with a trough over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week, so we’ll see a gradual warming trend as moisture levels slowly come back up. But with the trough pattern over the East I expect us to stay below seasonal averages with highs mainly in the 80s for the latter part of the week and only small chances for showers by the end of the week.

    Not quite as hot and dry at the coast for beach goers. There will be a good supply of sunshine for the coast today with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and Gulf water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s. Monday will be stormy at the beach especially for the afternoon hours, but the weather improves for the rest of the week.

    The tropical Atlantic basin remains generally quiet. NHC is keeping an eye on a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Islands. Tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend but this could change into next week as the wave moves into an area where conditions are expected to be more conducive for development.

    The first half of voodoo country as we head into August looks like a continuation of the eastern US trough pattern. The GFS does indicate a change to a more ridge like pattern with increased warmth as we get into the middle of August.

    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 James Spann to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted Monday morning as we watch yet another summertime front come into Alabama. Stay cool today and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Hot and Dry for the Weekend

    | 6:52 am July 26, 2014

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

    The dreaded upper ridge to our west will force itself eastward today and Sunday bringing heat values up while we stay mostly dry across the northern two-thirds of the state of Alabama. Highs will be in the 91 to 95 range today and Sunday with heat indices climbing on Sunday into the 100 to 105 range. But hold on for the weekend, because another major change is coming with yet another summer cold front promising to bring thunderstorms on Monday with much cooler and drier air to the Southeast US on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The upper ridge gets pushed back toward the west late Sunday and into Monday with the digging of a strong trough across the Great Lakes region. This will force a cold front – the fourth one in July this year – into the Southeast US and bring a round of thunderstorms to the area Monday. While no specific slight risk area is defined by SPC, we’ll need to watch for the development of isolated severe storms capable of damaging wind and perhaps large hail with the front on Monday.

    The trough sweeps in pushing the front well down into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday setting us up for cooler and drier air once again. Wednesday morning we could see near record lows for Central Alabama. The current record for July 30th is 61 set in 1994 for Birmingham.

    The pattern remains stuck with a trough over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week, so we’ll see a gradual warming trend as moisture levels slowly come back up. But with the trough pattern over the East I expect us to stay below seasonal averages with highs mainly in the 80s for the latter part of the week.

    Not quite as hot and dry at the coast for beach goers. There will be a good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Mobile through the weekend with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and Gulf water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

    The tropical Atlantic basin remains generally quiet. NHC is keeping an eye on a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Islands, but tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend and into early next week.

    The big news for voodoo country watchers is the continuation of the overall troughiness in the upper air pattern for the eastern half of the country. This will keep us out of any extreme heat and ever watchful for more of these anomalous summer-time cold fronts which seem to have become the new standard.

    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 Sunday morning. Stay cool and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Return to Summer-ish Weather Ahead

    | 6:59 am July 20, 2014

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

    Our weather pattern continued to somewhat complex with a weak front draped across Central Alabama with moisture values high to the east and south of the Birmingham area. A weak short wave moving across northern Mississippi was helping to produce showers across South and East Alabama where dew points were in the lower 70s. Some fog was being reported across the northwest portions of Central Alabama. As the weak short wave moves by today, showers remain possible with the greater risk once again generally east and south of the Interstate 59 corridor. Clouds will once again limit daytime heating but most areas will see the middle 80s with some upper 80s possible.

    As we get into the upcoming work week, a summer-like pattern with some moisture in place will keep the potential for daily showers in the forecast through the middle of the week. Moisture levels slowly work up as does the heat so showers may become a bit more widespread into Tuesday and Wednesday. I expect afternoon highs to climb into the 88 to 92 degree range.

    The next big challenge in the forecast will be the approach of yet another front Thursday and Friday with the deepening of another trough over the eastern half of the country. As I’ve noted before, we don’t usually see fronts plowing through the Southeast during July and August, but this summer seems to be the exception. Our major two long range models are in fair agreement on the idea of the front going all the way to the Gulf but the GFS was more bullish than the European which was washing the front out. The approach of the trough and the front could signal an increase in showers and thunderstorms for the end of the week, but we’ll have to watch for adjustments to the forecast.

    The upper flow with the deepening trough also goes north to northwesterly, so there is some risk for large clusters of storms to form over the Central US and move into the Southeast US, but it is certainly too early to be that specific – just wary to that kind of development.

    There is little change in the overall pattern of the trough in the East and the ridge in the West, so we continue to hang onto the idea of little extreme heat for the Southeast US as we stay somewhat unsettled.

    Beach bound folks will see some decent rain chances today, but the weather should become more seasonal this week as showers return mainly during the afternoon, and most likely along the sea breeze front as it moves inland. Cloudy today with 4 to 6 hours of sunshine but more sunshine early this week with 6 to 8 hours likely. Highs will be in the upper 80s with overnight lows in the upper 70s. Water temperatures along the coast are in the lower 80s and likely to hold there.

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

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

    James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning. Enjoy your day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Still Cool for July

    | 6:51 am July 19, 2014

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

    From the National Weather Service, we note that there were several record low maximum temperature values set in Central Alabama yesterday.

    SITE        JULY 18 HIGH  OLD MINIMUM HIGH  YEAR
    ----------  ------------  ----------------  ----
    ANNISTON         80               82        2009
    BIRMINGHAM       76               79        1906
    TUSCALOOSA       75               86        2012
    

    Yesterday was not your typical July day with clouds and widespread rain over Alabama keeping temperatures in record territory. The heaviest rain was over the northern and western counties where some spots received over one inch of beneficial rain. Many places saw around half an inch of rain.

    A weak surface low was situated over Northeast Mississippi this morning, as the upper trough supporting the rain will weaken over the weekend bringing showers and thunderstorms down to more scattered variety with the better rain chances across East and South Alabama. The sun will peek out at times today, and the afternoon will be warmer as our high returns to the mid 80s.

    Sunday should be brighter and drier with a mix of sun and clouds and a few scattered showers and thunderstorms. The high Sunday should be up in the mid to upper 80s as we dig out of the “July deep freeze”, as James dubbed it.

    The weather returns to more of a summertime routine for the first half of the week with partly sunny weather Monday through Wednesday with the usual risk of scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs should be in the 87 to 90 degree range. Once again the GFS is signaling an increase in showers and storms over the latter half of the week as another a surface boundary approaches from the north. Fronts typically do not reach the Southeastern US in mid summer but given the track record of this July, I’ll have to put some weight on this occurring. The ECMWF is also in fairly good agreement on the front approaching, too.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: Showers and storms are likely today with only limited sunshine, but look for improving weather Sunday and into next week with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day along with a few scattered thunderstorms. Highs will be in the mid 80s today, with upper 80s Sunday through much of next week along the immediate coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower 80s.

    TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is still very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected for the next five days. There remains a steady train of tropical systems in the western Pacific.

    Voodoo country continues to stick with the idea of the trough in the East and the ridge in the West which keeps the summer heat away from us.

    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 plan to post the next Weather Xtreme Video on Sunday morning. Enjoy another cooler July day. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Another Hot One But Change Ahead

    | 7:05 am July 13, 2014

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

    As the upper ridge loosens its grip we will see another hot and mostly dry weather day for Central Alabama on this Sunday in the middle of July; highs will be in the 92 to 95 degree range with hazy sunshine. A few afternoon showers or storms will kick off in afternoon heat, but they should be fairly widely spaced much like we saw yesterday. A weak convergence boundary could set up along or just northwest of the Interstate 59 corridor where we may see the greatest threat for those isolated showers.

    The ridge slides west into early next week, and models continue to develop a strong long wave upper trough for mid-summer over the eastern half of the nation. Afternoon showers and storms are possible Monday, with showers and storms to become likely Monday night and Tuesday in advance of a cold front pushing into the Southeast from the north and northwest. There is fairly good agreement between the GFS and the European in bringing the frontal boundary through Central Alabama, so this adds to the overall confidence in seeing a mid-July cold front make it into the region.

    Much like July 4th and 5th, I expect to see some dry, continental air invade Alabama Wednesday and Thursday with lower humidity and cooler nights. Lower humidity is always refreshing in July. But unlike the model runs yesterday, moisture levels don’t stay down long and they begin rebounding on Thursday and into Friday putting showers back in the forecast. A short wave trough moving across the Central US Friday will aide in moisture return from the southwest and perhaps bring us some good rain chances for next weekend.

    For those headed to the beach, look for 7 to 9 hours of sunshine along the Alabama Gulf Coast through Monday with widely scattered storms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower and mid 80s along the Alabama and North Florida shoreline. Showers and thunderstorms will be more likely along the coast by Tuesday.

    Voodoo country looks really hot with a 600 height contour over the western half of the US with a deep trough situated over the East Coast. This pattern would bring a northwesterly flow to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, so will always have to be cautious about the development of long-lived MCCs – Mesoscale Convection Complexes – coming out of the Central US.

    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)

    Thanks for staying tuned to the Blog. James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video update on Monday morning. Watch the heat today and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Hot Weekend, But…

    | 6:57 am July 12, 2014

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

    An upper ridge will mean hot and mostly dry weather for Central Alabama today and Sunday; highs will be in the 92 to 95 degree range with hazy sunshine. A few afternoon showers or storms will fire up in afternoon heat, but they should be few and far between.

    The ridge moves west into early next week, and models continue to develop a strong, long wave upper trough for mid-summer over the eastern half of the nation. Afternoon showers and storms are possible Monday, with showers and storms to become likely Tuesday in advance of a cold front pushing into the Southeast from the north. Nice to see fairly good agreement between the GFS and the European which adds to the overall confidence in seeing a mid-July cold front make it into the region.

    Much like July 4th and 5th, I expect to see some dry, continental air invade Alabama Wednesday through Friday with lower humidity and cooler nights. As James noted yesterday, we might make a run at record lows early Thursday morning with temperatures reaching the 58-62 degree range. Highs over the latter half of the week will be in the 80s with low humidity levels. Lowered humidity is always refreshing for July.

    Moisture levels come back Friday and into next weekend returning showers to the forecast.

    For those headed to the beach, look for 7 to 9 hours of sunshine along the Alabama Gulf Coast through Monday with only widely scattered storms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower and mid 80s. Showers and thunderstorms will be more likely along the coast by Tuesday.

    Voodoo country features the 594 heat bubble over the western half of the US with a long wave trough situated over the East Coast. This pattern would bring a northwesterly flow to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, so will always have to be anxious about the development of long-lived MCCs – Mesoscale Convection Complexes – coming out of the Central US.

    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 anticipate posting the next Weather Xtreme Video by 7:30 or 8 Sunday morning. Stay cool and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    WeatherBrains 441: Plenty of Time for a Snafu

    | 5:15 am July 8, 2014

    WeatherBrains Episode 441 is now online (July 7, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

    Kim RunkTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is currently serving as Acting Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Operations Proving Ground (OPG) in Kansas City, MO. His career in operational meteorology spans more than 35 years, first with the US Air Force, then with NOAA and the NWS. Kim Runk, welcome to WeatherBrains!

    Three WCMs are on the show tonight, including Kim, of course Rick and a retired WCM in Brian. Going to put Rick and Brian in the hot seats with Kim tonight for a little world of WCM discussion.

    Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 119 at Death Valley, CA, and 38 at Stanley, ID, and Snake River, WY
  • Severe storm risk from Nebraska eastward to southern New England
  • Since our last show, Hurricane Arthur came and went along East Coast
  • Tropics quiet for now
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is out again, so the mail bag is getting heavy.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: This episode of WeatherBrains 101 puts in a plug for child safety in hot cars. Did you know that 15 children have died this year already from heat stroke brought on by being left in an unattended automobile. There needs to be more attention drawn to this danger of hot weather.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of July 7.

    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 441:

    NWS Operations Proving Ground Charter

    NOAA Testbed and Proving Grounds

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – Lamp Simulates Thunderstorm

    Bill Murray – Kim Runk’s Video on Culture Change in the NWS

    Brian Peters – Kids and Cars on Heat Stroke

    Kim Runk – @nwstornado – any NWS tornado warning will have this hashtag

    Rick Smith – Leading Culture Change in the NWS

    James Spann – Joint Typhoon Warning Center

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

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

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