Find us on Google+

Category: Hodgepodge

Hear EM Speak About 4/27/2011 Operations Tonight at NWA Meeting

| 9:00 am April 27, 2015
Stitched Panorama

Stitched Panorama

Tonight is our first Chapter Meeting of 2015! The meeting will be at the NWS Birmingham with special quest speaker, Eric Jones, Elmore County Emergency Manager.

Eric, Emergency Management Director for Elmore County and former Director for the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers, will discuss how the Alabama Emergency Management Agency utilizes National Weather Service information prior to and during hazardous weather events. As it is the anniversary of the April 27, 2011 outbreak, Eric will also discuss EMA operations both during and after that historic event, providing an unique prospective of first responders from across the state.

Everyone is invited to arrive between 530-545pm to see the evening weather balloon launch and enjoy pizza (food and drink provided by the NWA). The meeting will begin around 615pm, after the balloon launch. After Eric’s presentation, Jim Stefkovich and Holly Allen will be available to give office tours for those interested. If you haven’t joined or renewed, please do so and be there tonight. Chapter website

70s Tomorrow; Ice Thursday

| 3:36 pm March 3, 2015

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

WILD WEATHER SWINGS: A warm front is moving through North Alabama this afternoon; south of the front temperatures are nearing 80 over the southeast corner of the state; on the north side readings are in the 50s over the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama.

All of the state gets in the warm air tomorrow with highs generally in the 70-75 degree range. A few showers are possible during the day, but they will be scattered in nature and it certainly won’t rain all day. The most widespread rain comes tomorrow night as the Arctic front approaches.

Thunderstorms could be involved, but organized severe weather is not expected around here. We do note SPC has a “marginal” severe weather risk defined over parts of Central Mississippi and far West-Central Alabama for late tomorrow and tomorrow night.

WINTER STORM WATCH: NWS offices in Birmingham and Huntsville have issued a winter storm watch for parts of North and West Alabama for Thursday, as Arctic air spills into the state and an upper trough approaches from the west. The winter storm watches are generally west of I-65, and north of a line from Millport to Dora/Sumiton, where ice accumulation is expected to exceed 0.25″.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.07.12 PM

TIMING: The freeze line should be near Muscle Shoals at midnight tomorrow night… near Cullman at 4:00 a.m. Thursday… I-59 (Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden) at 7:00 a.m…. and Anniston at 8:00 a.m. Understand these are approximate times and could change.


PLACEMENT: Some icing is possible as far south as a line from Eutaw to Chelsea to Heflin during the day Thursday as the freeze line keeps moving south. The most significant ice accumulation will be north of I-59.

As usual, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, and Gadsden are on the border between rain and freezing rain, but models are in decent agreement that the freeze line will slip a little south of these cities by 8:00 Thursday morning, and icy travel is a very real possibility there.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: Most of this event Thursday morning will feature freezing rain (rain in liquid form that falls with surface temperatures below 32) and sleet (ice pellets); snow flurries are possible Thursday afternoon as the event winds down.

ACCUMULATION: Ice accumulation up to 0.30″ is possible in the winter storm watch areas (west of I-65, and north of a line from Millport to Dora/Sumiton). Elsewhere, amounts will vary from very little to 0.20″. For now significant snow accumulation is not expected with just light flurries on top of the ice.

IMPACT: Where freezing rain falls, travel conditions will become icy and dangerous. Also, where 0.25″ of ice or more accumulates, scattered power outages are possible due to the weight of the ice on trees and power lines, and a north wind of 10-20 mph.

DURATION: Temperatures will stay below freezing all day generally north of I-59, meaning icy travel could continue through the day Thursday, Thursday night, and possibly into Friday morning. Temperatures warm above freezing by mid-morning Friday when conditions will improve greatly.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and will change. Check the blog for updates as we get closer.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: These three days will be dry, with partly sunny days and fair nights. We reach the upper 40s Friday afternoon, with mid 50s Saturday and Sunday.

Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for the 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.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Google Plus

I had a great time today seeing the kids at Randolph Elementary in Bibb County… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Forecast Verification

| 2:23 pm February 16, 2015

A look back at the forecast for today, since it has brought out a number of Facebook trolls.

LAST FRIDAY: This is the forecast I produced Friday morning, 72 hours before this morning’s event…


While this was not correct, note we never forecast a snow event for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden. Looked like it would be a freezing rain/sleet event at that point. Most of the trolls claim we “forecast a big snow for Birmingham” today, which is simply not true.

SATURDAY NIGHT: This was the forecast 36 hours before the event.

sun-snow (1)

Models trend warmer, the wintry precipitation forecast was shifted north.

SUNDAY MORNING: And, 24 hours before the event…


This was pretty accurate, with ice reported this morning down into Blount and St. Clair County.

This is a reminder of the “10 important things people need to know about winter weather forecasting”.

Number four says: We try to provide you with our best forecast of snow/sleet/ice amounts as far in advance as we can. The first forecast numbers won’t usually be as good as the ones closer to the event. That’s just the way it is.

As we roll along this week, please keep checking these discussions for up to date information…

Number six says: If you want the most accurate and up-to-date information, you will have to check the forecast several times a day. Otherwise, you’re working with old information.

A new discussion will be posted shortly…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Need To Get In Touch With James Spann?

| 9:40 pm December 18, 2014

I always enjoy hearing from our viewers, listeners, and readers. Thanks to social media, broadcasting has become a two way conversation, and I do my best to give you easy access for weather questions, pictures you want to share, severe weather reports, and weather program requests.

Want to get in touch with me? Here ya go…

For weather program request for a school, or speaking request for a church or civic club, email is the best way.

EMAIL:  I have a countless number of email addresses, but my “hub” is the GMail account…

Want to email the WeatherBrains crew (our weekly podcast about weather)? Use

SOCIAL MEDIA: I dabble in this pretty heavily; here is what to expect if you “follow” me…

TWITTER: I am @spann. My twitter feed is special, not because of me, but because of the information my followers bring to the table. I have over 165,000 followers, and they share a rather eclectic array of information that I retweet. Following the @spann account is basically like subscribing to a newswire; if there is something big happening around here (Alabama), you will know about it first. Whether it is weather related, a big wreck shutting down a highway, a fire, explosion, “boom”, meteor, you will be in the loop.

It is also a place to find some remarkable photography. Sunrises and sunsets flow, along with a hodgepodge of sky scenes. And, of course, it is also about all things weather. Not just in Alabama, but nationally and globally. I am pretty quick to respond to questions, and since I don’t sleep much, the account is very active.

FACEBOOK: This platform is extremely frustrating since much of the content is filtered. Organic reach has dwindled to less than 10 percent, meaning of the 190,000 that follow me, only about 15,000 see most posts in their newsfeed. Find me here:… and be sure and choose to receive notifications; that will increase your odds of seeing my content on a more regular basis. I respond to Facebook messages, and the page is open for you to post pictures or other content. You will find great weather information here, along with some really good pictures.

GOOGLE PLUS: Some call this platform “Facebook without the drama”… I find great engagement, and there is little filtering. The Google Plus feed here is close to being a mirror of my Facebook feed, but occasionally I will post unique content.

INSTAGRAM: This is where I post the “best of the best” of the pictures sent to me via social media. It is a stunning collection of weather related photos…

With all of the time dedicated to social media and responding to email, I should mention you don’t need to call me; I have not answered my phone at work since 1998. I don’t know my number, don’t know how to get voice mail, and don’t even know where the phone is located. I have just “opted out”… I can’t talk on the phone at the station since I work in a studio, and when I have the time to call people back, it is close to midnight, and most folks just don’t appreciate calls that late!

Sun Dog Sunday

| 3:47 pm December 7, 2014

An upper level disturbance to the west of Alabama has spread a nice layer of cirrostratus clouds across the northern third of the state this afternoon. It has resulted in some beautiful sun dogs, an optical phenomenon caused by the refracting of sunlight through ice crystals.

Here is an example I captured on I-20 near Talladega:


You can actually see both sides!

You can actually see a band of cirrocumulus over northern Mississippi extending into the Tennessee Valley caused by forcing ahead of the disturbance.

Temperatures are in the 50s. We will drop to near 40 overnight with mostly cloudy skies. Skies will become partly cloudy on Monday with highs in the 50s. Colder air will spread in behind the disturbance on Tuesday leading to below freezing overnight readings and highs in the 40s in spots Wednesday and Thursday. No rain expected next seven days.

Atlanta Snowjam Will Be Topic At NWA Chapter Meeting Monday Night 11/17

| 1:08 pm November 11, 2014

-Credit Mark Bradley AJC

Sorry for the late notice, but finding a venue for our last full chapter meeting was difficult this time. However, we have an outstanding speaker lined up for the meeting this coming Monday, November 17th at 7 p.m. at the Medical Forum Building at the Civic Center downtown.

Keith Stellman is the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Atlanta. He is responsible for forecasts and warnings for 96 counties in the northern part of Georgia. He will be speaking on a subject that is near and dear to our hearts: the January 28th winter storm in the Southeast U.S.


Like Birmingham, Atlanta has rarely been exposed to the unique and devastating combination of dramatically below freezing temperatures at onset of frozen precipitation on a weekday. Like here, a humanitarian crisis ensued with tens of thousands of commuters stranded on area highways.

Keith will focus on the meteorological factors that made this event so significant, the forecasts and warnings and lessons learned from them as well as the human and government response.

The meeting will be held in Meeting Room F in the Forum Building at 950 22nd Street North. This is the building to the east of the Sheraton and has an entrance at ground level on 22nd Street. You can also access it from the 3rd level of the parking deck.

You can park in the 22nd street deck and we will have parking validation. Or you can park on the street around the complex.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting and presentation will start at 7 p.m.


The meeting is free to members of the Central Alabama Chapter of the National Weather Association. Visitors may attend for $10. You can join the chapter at:

The Chapter Holiday Party will be announced at the meeting.

This meting is being sponsored by the Westin and BJCC. Thanks to them for their support.

-Bill Murray