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Category: Alabama’s Weather

40 Laps To Go

| 2:44 pm May 1, 2016

5-1-2016 2-39-21 PM

Well, they have avoided the rain successfully throughout the race at Talladega today. Hopefully, the race will be finished before it arrives.

Right now, there is less than 50 laps to go and the nearest shower looks like it will miss the track. Heavy will not arrive until after 4 30 p.m. unless there is new development.

5-1-2016 12-29-08 PM


A large area of showers and thunderstorms is pushing east and northeast across areas west of I-65 this afternoon. The strongest storms are:

…over the intersection of Fayette, Marion, Winston Counties near Nauvoo.
…over Bibb, southern Tuscaloosa, western Chilton and Autauga Counties.

In the Birmingham area, a strong storm is approaching Lake View, and another is west of Alabaster. The Metro will experience lots of lightning and some heavy rain and gusty winds

A new storm is forming on the Talladega/Shelby County line between Columbiana and Sylacauga.

Welcome to May!

| 2:00 pm May 1, 2016
Infographic by AlabamaWX Meteorologist Scott Martin - Click to Enlarge

Infographic by AlabamaWX Meteorologist Scott Martin – Click to Enlarge

The fifth month of the year is one of my favorites in Central Alabama. We see some of the finest weather of the year, with runs of fine, warm and sunshine filled days. It reminds me a lot of October, its closest cousin, but generally warmer and somewhat stormier. The average percentage of possible sunshine is 66 percent, equal to October, which is the other sunniest month of the year.

The average high and low for the month in Birmingham is 81.5F and 59.7F respectively. At the start of the month, the average high is 78F, but it rises to 85F by the end of the month. Overnight lows really warm, rising from 55F on May 1st to 64F on the 31st. The coldest May reading ever in the Magic City is 36F on May 4, 1971. The warmest reading ever in May was 99F on May 28, 1962 and May 29, 1898. It generally reaches 90F or warmer 1.9 days in the month.

Heating degree days are nearly zero in May, but cooling degree days start to really rise as we head toward the unrelenting heat of summer.

May used to be a drier month than April. Until 2003 that is. 5.71 inches of rain fell on the 7th that month, which skewed the average higher. The average May rainfall at the Birmingham Airport jumped from 4.4 inches to 4.99 inches because of that single event. A tremendous flash flooding event occurred across Central Alabama that day, with higher amounts reported just northeast of the Airport. 10.50 inches of rain fell on Edwards Lake Road and JB Elliott recorded 9.82 inches just northeast of Trussville. Not surprisingly, May 2003 went on to become the wettest fifth month with 17.22 inches of rain. The driest May on record occurred in 2000, when 0.88 inches fell.

It usually rains on 9.1 days on average, and rains more than 1 inch on 1.4 days. Thunderstorms occur on 9 days. The average dewpoint is starting to climb, rising from 49F in April to 58F in May.

Turning Wet for West Alabama

| 1:29 pm May 1, 2016

There is a lot of weather and events going on across Alabama, so plenty to talk about at 1:25 pm.

First, Talladega. Looks like the GEICO 500 got off to a good start and they are really living right at the super speedway. Showers have developed just to the west and southwest of the speedway. There is some lightning being reported by the lightning detection system just 15 miles west of the track. The storms are new, so a good motion on them is hard to establish, but it does look like they will impact the speedway during the next 30 minutes, by 1:45 pm or so. Looks like heavy rain will occur for a brief time, probably 20 minutes or less.


Second, looking west, the weather is really turning wet for West Alabama. That large cluster we’ve been noting across southern Mississippi has moved into West Alabama covering parts or all of Fayette, Lamar, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Hale, Sumter, and Marengo counties. This cluster was accompanied by lots of lightning as well has heavy rain. Rainfall has been estimated by radar to be as much as 2 inches in the southern portion of Lamar County along Highway 96 and just west of Millport.

While there are no flash flood warnings in effect at this time, people on the highway should be extra safe in heavy rain areas and be sure not to run into areas where water covers the roadway to an unknown depth. Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Take extra time to get to your destination and don’t take any chances.

The large cluster continued to move steadily toward the northeast at about 20 mph. Walker, Jefferson, Bibb, and Shelby counties are definitely in the path to see this cluster during the afternoon.

Other smaller showers had developed over southern portions of Cleburne County along and just south of I-20.


Storms Heating Up around Birmingham, Heads Up Lamar and Pickens

| 12:34 pm May 1, 2016

5-1-2016 12-29-08 PM

An area of rain and storms is pushing northeastward across East Central Mississippi early this afternoon. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Winston Counties in eastern Mississippi. No reports of damage so far, and the NWS Birmingham is not planning on issuing severe thunderstorm warnings unless they intensify.

Tons of lightning in the storms between Columbus MS and Brooksville down to Scooba.

There is a threat for severe thunderstorms with winds to 60 mph with storms today. The threat of tornadoes is very very small, if not zero.

They will push into Alabama’s northern Pickens and Lamar Counties by 1 p.m. There are already storms over southern Lamar County around Millport and Kennedy.

In the Birmingham Metro, storms are forming from Homewood to Hoover and back to Bessemer. Just saw the first lightning stroke near Vestavia.

There is a storm northwest of Oxford. This storm brought a shower to the Talladega Superspeedway right befor ethe green flag at the Geico 500.

Showers along highway 280 in northern Shelby County may threaten the track within the hour.

Weather Update at 11:05 am

| 11:03 am May 1, 2016

The weather continued to be wet for some and dry for others this morning. The Columbus, MS, Doppler radar continued to show thunderstorms moving into Alabama across portions of Lamar, Pickens, Fayette, Walker, and Marion counties. The motion of the storms was toward the northeast at 20 to 25 mph.


For those at the Talladega Superspeedway, the radar remained clear for the speedway itself, but several small showers have developed in the last hour and quickly dissipated, a couple of those near the super speedway. Unless additional showers develop in the vicinity of the track, the GEICO 500 should get off to a dry start at noon today. The race may get completed without any rain delays, but we’ll need to keep a close eye on radar since the atmosphere is quite moist and relatively unstable, conditions that could see additional showers develop at any time.

A large mass of thunderstorms was located across much of southern Mississippi at 11 am and continue to move northeast. The NWS in Jackson, MS, had issued several severe thunderstorm warnings along the leading edge of this large cluster. It should take at least two hours for this cluster to move into Alabama. When it does, it will affect the counties of Sumter, Greene, Pickens, and Choctaw counties.

All areas of thunderstorms were showing a tremendous amount of lightning. Please don’t take any chances when lightning is occurring. Heed the rule – when thunder roars, go indoors! We don’t want anyone to become a statistic as a lightning fatality. Automobiles also offer safe places to be, just keep your hands away from all metal.


Showers Developing

| 9:37 am May 1, 2016

The air mass over Alabama remains unstable and quite moist as evidenced by dew points running in the upper 60s in Central Alabama and middle 60s in North Alabama. The morning sounding at the Shelby County Airport this morning showed precipitable water values around 1.30 inches.

Radar as seen below showed a small cluster of showers over northern Walker County and southern Winston County moving toward Cullman County. Other showers were occurring from just east of Columbus, MS, southwestward into Southwest Mississippi. A large area of storms was also shown over Southwest Mississippi and a large portion of southern Louisiana. All of these storms were moving northeastward around 25 mph.


As James noted below, rain delays at Talladega Superspeedway today are possible. The GEICO 500 is scheduled to get underway at noon, and based on current radar and the anticipated trends for the next several hours, it’s very likely that the race will be able to start on time. There is also a very good chance that the race will be able to run to the finish unless additional showers develop well ahead of the rain areas we already have on radar. Staying up on the latest radar information will be the best way to stay ahead of any developing weather.


Talladega Race Update

| 7:39 am May 1, 2016

No doubt there could be a rain delay at the Talladega Superspeedway… this is high resolution model (HRRR) output valid at 4pm…


But I do think there is a good chance they get the GEICO 500 in today. Expect spotty showers this morning and early this afternoon, the more widespread showers will come after 3 p.m. Severe storms are not expected, and rain amounts should be 1/2 inch or less.

Bottom line… be ready for a delay, but I do expect the race to finish.

Unsettled Weather Continues Today and Monday

| 7:15 am May 1, 2016

If you are looking for the weather to settle down, you’ll have to wait a couple more days. The main player was a surface low in southern Illinois with a cold front trailing back into Southeast Texas. That along with a moist southwesterly flow aloft will help to keep the weather unsettled across much of the Southeast US for the next couple of days. Showers with some embedded thunderstorms are likely today, but temperatures will remain warm even with the cloudy conditions with highs today and Monday generally close to the 80-degree mark.

If you are heading to the beach, look for a mixture of sun and clouds with the daily threat of scattered showers and storms through Tuesday. Sunshine and dry conditions will prevail for the latter half of the week ahead. High temperatures will be in the upper 70s along the immediate coast but in the mid and upper 80s inland. The sea water temperature at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach was 77 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The upper trough over Iowa will continue to move eastward Monday and Tuesday keeping the moist, southwesterly flow in place across the Southeast US. Since the front remains essentially parallel to the upper flow, the frontal boundary will remain in the area until Tuesday and Wednesday when the upper flow changes with the development of a big ridge in the west and a deep trough across the eastern states. This will sweep the frontal boundary out of the area on Tuesday, so we should begin to see conditions dry out during the day Tuesday. With the changes aloft, temperatures will dip back with highs Tuesday and Wednesday in the middle 60.

Because the frontal boundary will remain in place for the next couple of days, rainfall amounts could total 1 to 2 inches in places. Hard to be very specific due to the nature of the showers.

With the absence of any really strong dynamics, the SPC has only marginal risks for severe weather defined for the next three days.


By Wednesday and Thursday the upper trough is established over the eastern US, so look for some beautiful weather with highs in the lower 70s. As the surface high slowly migrates eastward, Friday morning should see our coolest morning with many locations across Central and North Alabama dipping back into the 40s for a pleasantly cool start to the day. Plenty of sunshine will see highs climb into the 70s, a little below where we typically see high temperatures for early May.

Mother’s Day weekend is looking good as the surface high slides off into the Southwest Atlantic while the upper ridge moves over the eastern US.

As we frequently see when we peruse the projections into week 2 or voodoo country, the GFS has changed its mind on the weather pattern. Instead of well defined systems, the GFS is now pushing the main westerly flow and storm track well north of the southern tier of the US, so we stay in a weakly zonal flow as the main traveling upper air features travel along the US-Canadian border. This would mean a summer-like weather pattern for us with warm weather and the presence of scattered showers nearly every day.

I had a great time with the rest of the ABC 3340 gang out at Veterans Park in Hoover for Celebrate Hoover Day. The weather was good and it was nice to chat with all the ABC 3340 fans. James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning. You can find notes about Alabama’s weather by checking back here frequently. Have a great day and Godspeed.



Wake Low Giving Us Gusty Winds; Severe Threat Over

| 8:27 pm April 30, 2016

Trees have been reported down in Sumter County because of this event that are not associated with thunderstorms, but with a wake low.


Tonight’s marginal and slight severe weather threat is over for Central Alabama as the area of thunderstorms has weakened as it lifted northeast into our part of the state.

Right behind it, what appears to be a wake low has developed. This feature is causing winds to gust to nearly 30 mph in spots.

Winds gusted to 28mph at Tuscaloosa and Birmingham just before 8 p.m.

Areas along and south of I-59 will see the best chance of the gusty winds.

Wake lows are caused by sinking air which descends in the wake of the weakening of a complex of storms. They often cause heat bursts in the Plains, which are characterized by strong winds, rapid drops in dewpoints and substantial rises in temperatures.

Nothing like that here tonight, but some gusty winds.

It looks like rain will be limited to areas south of areas from Selma to Montgomery.

An Afternoon Update on the Alabama Weather Situation

| 5:53 pm April 30, 2016


It has been a muggy and warm spring afternoon across North and Central Alabama. Skies have been partly to mostly cloudy, with the most sunshine over East Central Alabama,

The airmass is slightly to moderately unstable with CAPE values running some 1,000-2,000 joules/kg, except over East Central Alabama, where values are over 2,000 joules. There are some values over 3,000 joules in places like Talladega, Wedowee, Alex City and Rockford.

So the atmosphere is primed for storms and they have formed over North Alabama, down through East Central Alabama into much of Georgia. Some are starting to percolate in northeastern Mississippi as well.

There actually was a tornado warning for Limestone and Madison counties in North Alabama into Lincoln County, Tennessee, but the warning has been canceled. The tornadic thunderstorm has moved from near Athens to Elkmont and will soon exit the state. It still has a severe thunderstorm warning on it. That storm has showed signs of rotation but no reports of tornadoes or damage so far.

The atmosphere is not really conducive for tornadoes across Alabama, with low 0-1 km helicity values. But with spring storms in Alabama we always say to expect the unexpected.

To the southwest, there is a big MCS (mesoscale convective system) moving into southwestern Alabama from southeastern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. The storms have been severe in the New Orleans area. There is currently a severe thunderstorm warning for Kemper County in eastern Mississippi, where Meridian is located. This storm will eventually affect Sumter County.

The whole MCS will lift northeastward into West Central Alabama, reaching Tuscaloosa between 6-7 p.m. and Birmingham by 7-8 p.m. But it will be weakening as it goes, leaving the better shear over Mississippi. The SPC has West Central and Southwest Alabama outlooked for a slight risk of severe weather, meaning scattered severe storms possible. The severe weather will be short lived and not widespread. Further east, most of the rest of the state is in a marginal risk outlook, meaning isolated severe storms are possible. There could be a few reports of damaging winds and hail, with the best chance over areas from Pickens down through Sumter and Hale Counties.

There is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect for coastal Mississippi and SE Louisiana. A new watch could be issued into Coastal Alabama and Northwest Florida.

We are sort of locked into this pattern through Monday it seems, when a cold front will finally push through the area, ending the rain. But expect more showers and storms Sunday and Monday. It looks like most of tomorrow’ rain may come in the morning for Central Alabama, hopefully leaving room for a decent afternoon.