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Strong Storms Tonight; Much Colder Thursday

| December 5, 2016 @ 6:28 am

COOL, DREARY, DAMP DAY: We begin this Monday with low clouds, fog, and drizzle across much of North/Central Alabama; temperatures are mostly between 46 and 51 degrees… they really haven’t changed much over the past 24 hours.

Showers will increase later today as a surface low forms west of the state; that low will move from near Lake Charles, Louisiana this morning to Muscle Shoals late tonight. A warm front, extending eastward from the low, will lift northward later today and tonight, putting the southern half of the state in a warm, unstable airmass. And, that will set the stage for active thunderstorms tonight.

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT TONIGHT: SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather defined for areas south of a line from Demopolis to Verbena to Demopolis… with a “marginal risk” to just north of Birmingham…


All modes of severe weather will be possible over the southern half of the state tonight, including storms with large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes. The risk is much more limited along the I-20 corridor (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston) as the most unstable air remains just to the south, and for now we don’t expect any severe weather issues for the northern third of the state.

The main window for severe storms over South Alabama will come from about 10:00 tonight through 6:00 tomorrow morning; be sure you have a way of getting warnings (NOAA Weather Radio, good smart phone warning app like WeatherRadio by WDT) since this will come during the late night and pre-dawn hours.

TOMORROW/WEDNESDAY: Rain and storms will end early tomorrow morning as the surface low pulls away; clouds will linger much of the day, although we could see late afternoon clearing. The high tomorrow will be in the low 60s. Then, on Wednesday, the day will be cool and dry, but only a limited amount of sun is expected. Wednesday’s high will be in the mid to upper 50s.

ARCTIC AIR BLAST ARRIVES THURSDAY: An Arctic front will blow through Alabama Thursday. Moisture will be limited, but some light rain could accompany the front… then after its passage strong north winds will kick in and usher in the coldest air so far this season. We will have a hard time getting past the low 40s Thursday afternoon, and a north wind of 15-30 mph will make it feel colder. By Friday morning we should reach the low 20s, and during the day Friday we won’t get out of the 30s despite sunshine in full supply. Some communities up in the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama could stay below freezing all day Friday.

By Saturday morning, expect a low between 18 and 22 degrees across North/Central Alabama.

THE WEEKEND: Saturday will be sunny with a high in the upper 40s; clouds will begin to increase Sunday, but for now the weather looks dry with a high back in the 50s.

NEXT WEEK: Another rain event should unfold Monday, with potential for a few storms Tuesday as the air becomes unstable. Then, more cold air is due in here over the latter half of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…


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A Quick Sunday Afternoon Update

| December 4, 2016 @ 4:37 pm


Clouds are thick across Central Alabama on this Sunday afternoon. There is some fog as well as low level moisture is starting to seep into the area from the south, warming those dewpoints. We will be in the upper 40s overnight.

There is a surface low along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, sliding east. The main surface low is building to the east of Brownsville this afternoon. It will bring the main rain and storms tomorrow night.

In between, we remain in a strong southwesterly flow aloft. It is shaking out a few showers from time to time.

There is a confluence zone right along I-59 that is leading to some enhanced enhanced showers along I-59 near and northeast of Meridian. These heavier showers will move across areas along and south of I-20 over the next few hours.

As the surface low moves northeast, additional moisture will surge into Alabama from the south and more showers will start arriving later tonight. Expect waves of rain tomorrow, with thunder eventually being mixed in.

if the warm front comes far enough north, storms could be strong tomorrow night with a few reports of damaging winds or even isolated tornadoes. The main severe weather threat is from Moundville to Clanton to Auburn and back to the south.

Rainfall amounts should be around 1.25 inches through Tuesday morning.

An arctic surge will arrive Thursday with a chance of a few showers, but not much beneficial rain. Highs on Friday will remain in the 30s mostly with a few spots across North Alabama not getting above freezing. We will be in the lower 20s by Saturday morning.


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Wet, Wet, Wet

| December 4, 2016 @ 7:06 am

It was a rather wet overnight period for North and Central Alabama with widespread rainfall that totaled generally a third of an inch for many locations. At sunrise, the radar was fairly active across the state with the bulk of the rain in an area from Birmingham to Montgomery to Columbus, GA, to Rome, GA, and back to Birmingham.

For folks heading to the beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida, clouds and rain will prevail through the middle part of the week. Highs will be in the 60s, while lows will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Late in the week, the highs will fall into the 50s as the weather turns drier. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The closed low over northern Mexico slowly moves into Texas today and tonight while a trough in the northern stream moves quickly by. This should lead to a bit of a break in the rain this evening and into early Monday, but the clouds stick around and the easterly flow keeps us cool today and tonight.


That closed low ejects northeastward Monday and Tuesday as a surface low forms in the Northwest Gulf of Mexico and moves northeastward into the southern Appalachians. The SPC has outlined a slight risk for severe storms along the Gulf Coast from Southeast Louisiana across southern Mississippi and Southwest Alabama into the Florida Panhandle. A marginal risk for severe weather extends northward into Central Alabama but is kept south of Birmingham. It looks likely that the highest CAPE values will remain along the Central Gulf Coast, but the GFS also showed a brief surge in CAPE values along and just ahead of the front as it moves across Central Alabama during the morning Tuesday. This will need to be watched for the potential for severe weather. Temperatures should surge well into the 60s early Tuesday morning as the warm front makes its way by us.

Rainfall during the next couple of days is still expected to be in the range of 1.5 inches to 3 inches across much of North and Central Alabama. Like the last event, this will help to put a good dent in the drought conditions, but even with good rains, our deficit will still be 5 to 7 inches.


The upper trough zips out of the picture late Tuesday and Wednesday, so we should see our weather dry out for the afternoon Tuesday and Wednesday. This is where we run into model differences between the GFS and the ECMWF. A broad trough comes across the eastern US Thursday with a surface low in Canada. A cold front is forecast to move briskly across the eastern US on Thursday. The GFS is very conservative on rain potential for Thursday while the ECMWF is much more bullish bringing another round of rain and storms across the Southeast. For now, with confidence on the amount of showers somewhat low, I’ll stick with low percentage probabilities for rain on Thursday.

But as the upper trough sharpens up into Friday, our temperatures are forecast to plunge. I expect to see morning lows dip into the 20s with daytime highs mainly in the 40s.

Weak ridging occurs Saturday but we should still stay chilly but dry. A fast moving upper trough comes out of the northern Rockies on Sunday and promises a round of showers for Sunday with a cold front moving through the Southeast US. Moisture is not expected to be nearly as plentiful as our current pattern, so rainfall is not expected to be very high. By Sunday we should be moderating a little with highs into the 50s.

The GFS was promising us a really cold pattern for week 2 or voodoo country on the run yesterday. That is completely off the table with this run. In fact, the week 2 period is dominated by strong ridging across the eastern half of the country. If this verifies, we’d see warmer than typical temperatures and a number of days of dry weather.

I had a great time yesterday emceeing the Helena Christmas Parade. Sprinkles occurred during the parade, but those sprinkles didn’t dampen the crowds as people hung around until Santa came by on the Helena fire truck. James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video bright and early Monday morning.




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Rain,Storms, Then Very Cold

| December 4, 2016 @ 6:36 am

Here is a quick look at the three banner weather events for Alabama over the next week…

RAIN CONTINUES: Today will be a cool, wet day for Alabama with periods of rain. A warm front is over South Alabama, and will move only slowly northward today; the northern counties will stay in a cool airmass with temperatures struggling to get out of the 40s.

We should mention strong storms are possible today over far South Alabama, south of the warm front, where the air is unstable. SPC has a “marginal” risk of severe storms defined there…


Rain continues at times into the day tomorrow as the unsettled pattern continues.

UNSTABLE AIR ADVANCES NORTHWARD: As the warm front lifts northward in response to low pressure developing just west of Alabama, strong storms will be possible deeper into our state tomorrow night into Tuesday morning. We have the standard “slight risk” of severe weather defined for areas south of a line from Grove Hill to Dothan, with a “marginal risk” up to Moundville, Verbena, and Auburn.


For the moment it looks like the risk of severe weather for the northern half of the state tomorrow night is rather low, but but zero. All a matter of how far north the “warm sector” moves. The main window for the stronger storms over the southern counties will come from about 10:00 tomorrow night through 10:00 Tuesday morning. A few storms over South Alabama could produce damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes.

RAIN AMOUNTS: Storm totals (counting the rain that came down yesterday) will be in the 3-4″ range for most of Alabama by Tuesday, when the rain will end from west to east. This won’t end the drought, but we are moving in the right direction. Birmingham’s rain deficit for the year is 11.71″ as of late last night.

ARCTIC BLAST: The coldest air so far this season invades the state late this week; by Friday the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama could stay below freezing all day, with highs only in the mid 30s for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden…


There could be a few sprinkles or flurries as the cold air rushes in Thursday, but nothing significant with a very dry airmass in place.

No sign of any winter weather woes (snow, ice, etc) for Alabama for the next 10 days…


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Rainy and Chilly Weekend Weather

| December 3, 2016 @ 1:27 pm


Clouds are here, and if you look at the radar, it looks like the rain is falling across much of the state, but that is not the case.


The lower levels of the atmosphere are very dry, and the rain is evaporating before it reaches the surface, but as the rain falls through these dry layers, it is moistening those layers of the atmosphere. That means, if you haven’t seen the rain yet, you are going it before the long. The rain is reaching the surface mainly west of Interstate 65 but will continue to spread east today. It is a rather cool Saturday afternoon with temperatures in the 50s.

Looking towards the west, there is a lot of rain heading our way, and we are in store for a rainy night across North/Central Alabama. It is going to be a nice steady soaking rain through out the night; temperatures will hold in the mid 40s all night, and certainly no threat of severe weather, just some great sleeping weather.


You’ll certainly want the umbrellas and rain gear close to hand heading out the door tomorrow. Our Sunday will feature clouds, periods of rain, and chilly temperatures. Thankfully no severe weather is expected, and I doubt we will hear much thunder in North/Central Alabama, but there could be some across southern portions of the state. Thunder or not, it will be a rather wet day. Temperatures tomorrow afternoon will hold in the lower 50s much of the day, and some spots may sit in the 40s all day.

MORE RAIN AND STORMS: A low pressure system will develop off the Texas coast and will lift north across the southeastern United States, bringing with it another round of strong storms late Monday and into early Tuesday. Now the latest GFS has the low lifting right across Central Alabama, which is not ideal for severe weather for us, but that track of the low, will allow a warm sector to surge north across the state and that will allow for those storms across the state, with the best chance for severe storms over South Alabama. Currently, on their day three convective outlook, the SPC has locations along and south of the U.S. 82 corridor from Tuscaloosa, to Montgomery, to Phenix City in a “marginal risk for severe storms, while the standard “slight risk” covers locations across Southwest Alabama such as Mobile, Gulf Shores, Monroeville, and Evergreen.


The exact northward extent of the severe weather will depend on how far north the warm, moist air mass makes it inland. The best chance of storms will come Monday night and early Tuesday. We will start to dry out by the time Tuesday evening arrives as the low lifts northeast of the area, and behind it, dry air will be pulled south. Highs will be in the upper 50s and lower 60s across the area on Monday, and back up into the lower to mid 60s for Tuesday.


For much of Alabama, by the time the rain is finished Tuesday evening, rainfall totals for much of the area will range from 2-4 inches, with a few spots perhaps getting more. We need every drop, but unfortunately some flash flooding could be possible with all of the heavy rainfall, but overall, these soaking rains will not end the drought, but should hopefully put a nice dent in the conditions.


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Clouds Here, Rain Expected

| December 3, 2016 @ 7:15 am


Alabamians are waking up to a mostly cloudy morning with temperatures a trifle milder than the last several days with readings in the lower 40s for many locations. Temperatures were at or below freezing across the northeastern quadrant of Alabama. Radar continued to show some light rain over western counties and back into Mississippi. Much of that showing up on radar is not reaching the ground due to the deep dry layer in place from the ground to about 20,000 feet. This will be gradually changing as those echoes rain into that dry layer and gradually moisten it up from the top down. Rain is expected to begin affecting the ground especially across West Central Alabama during the early afternoon with rain spreading across the rest of Alabama late this afternoon and this evening.

For beachgoers, clouds return with rain for the beach this evening and these conditions stick around through the middle part of the week. Highs will be in the lower 70s through Monday dropping into the 60s after that. Lows will be in the 60s through Monday dropping into the 50s Tuesday and Wednesday. Please note that there is a high risk for rip currents along the Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island to Panama City through Sunday afternoon. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

While the SEC Championship Game is indoors at the Georgia Dome set for a 3:00 pm CST start, conditions getting to and from the game will be dry today with temperatures in the upper 50s. Rain will spread into the Atlanta area shortly after the game ends and Sunday looks to be a cool and wet day there.

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended this week. SPC has a marginal risk for severe weather along the Texas Coast today. No severe weather is expected in the US on Day 2, Sunday into early Monday. For Day 3, there is a slight risk of organized severe weather along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida coastal area with a marginal risk extending across the southern half of Alabama.

The upper air pattern featured a deep closed low and associated trough over Northwest Mexico this morning with ridging over the Southeast US. This was setting the stage with lots of Pacific moisture coming across Mexico and into the Southeast US. A second trough coming out of the Northwest US will contribute to a wet pattern for much of the Southeast US for Sunday and Monday. A surface low is forecast to move along the Gulf Coast during this period. The result will be a soaking rain with rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches across Mississippi and Alabama. Much of the northern half of Alabama should see amounts in the range of 2 to 3 inches.


The upper trough/closed low over Northwest Mexico ejects to the northwest on Monday reaching the southern Appalachians by Tuesday. The surface low is forecast to be over East Tennessee by the GFS on Tuesday so the widespread precipitation should be coming to an end by Tuesday afternoon.

The forecast becomes a little less clear after midweek with substantial differences between the GFS and the ECMWF. The upper air pattern goes nearly zonal on Wednesday, but a strong trough is forecast by the GFS to dig into the mid Mississippi River Valley by Thursday. This sets up a general troughiness over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week. This should contribute some colder air to the eastern half of the US. But when it comes to precipitation, the models are quite a bit apart. The ECMWF is considerably more aggressive with precipitation on Thursday while the GFS is pretty dry. I suspect the actual result will be something between these two, so we’ll maintain some low chances for Wednesday and Thursday.

Both models agree on drying it out for the end of the week and into the weekend a cold surge for Friday and Saturday with highs potentially reaching only into the 40s.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS maintains a trough pattern across the eastern US all the way out to the 18th of December. And by that time, the GFS has a very deep trough with a distinctly frigid look to it.

Looking forward to emceeing the Helena Christmas Parade this afternoon at 1 pm. The reviewing stand will be in the parking lot of the Helena Baptist Church at the corner of Highway 52 and 261. Be sure to stop by and say hello. After that I will be filling in for Meaghan Thomas on ABC 3340 so you can the latest weather forecast at 6 and 10 pm. I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 7:30 or so on Sunday morning.




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