Category: Alabama’s Weather

Midday Nowcast: A Tale of Two Air Masses

| August 22, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

The state of Alabama is currently being bisected by a stalled frontal boundary roughly along the U.S. 80 corridor running from Demopolis east to Selma, Montgomery, and Phenix City. Just to the north of this boundary and across South Alabama, it remains rather muggy with dew points in the 70s, however, across northern portions of Alabama, dew points are in 50s and 60s and oh so comfortable.

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The drier air is ever so slowly trying to move south through the state, but it is having a hard time doing so as the upper-level support is lacking. Due to the continue elevated dew points roughly along and south of the Interstate 20 corridor, the threat of showers and storms will remain in the forecast for this afternoon. For northern portions of the state, temperatures are in the 70s at midday, while 80s and 90s are widespread for the southern two-thirds of the state.

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Outside early this afternoon we are seeing more sun than clouds, but clouds will continue to increase in coverage the next several hours as those showers and storms start to develop across the state.

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Speaking of those showers and storms, they are beginning to pop-up across the Alabama landscape. As we have seen the past several weeks, storms that develop today are going to produce brief heavy downpours, gusty winds, and frequent lightning. The majority of today’s activity will be along and south of Interstate 20, however, showers are possible north of there, as far north as the U.S. 278 corridor.

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The rest of today, look for a mix of sun and clouds, with scattered showers and storms that will likely continue at least through the evening hours, before gradually winding down overnight. Lows tonight will be able to get down into the 60s east of Interstate 65, while lower 70s expected west of there. You will notice the slightly direr and less humid air.

Drier Air Over Far North Alabama

| August 22, 2016 @ 6:19 am

ON THE MAPS: A rare August surface front is over North Alabama this morning; the dew point has dropped to a pleasant 63 degrees at Muscle Shoals, and north of the front most places are seeing temperatures in the 60s. South of the front, the weather is still humid with 70s.

Unfortunately, the front has just about run out of gas, and will hang up a little north of I-20 today. So, those of you in places like Huntsville, Cullman, Gadsden, Florence, Fort Payne, and Scottsboro will enjoy a mostly sunny and less humid day with a high in the 80s.

However, south of the stalled front, scattered showers and storms will fire up this afternoon, generally along and south of I-20. Higher coverage of storms will be over the southern half of the state, and we project a high in the 85-89 degree range for most communities.


REST OF THE WEEK: The front will wash out, and moist air slides northward. And, as an upper ridge builds, we project some very routine August weather tomorrow through Friday. Partly sunny, hot, humid days with the risk of scattered showers and storms during the afternoon and evening hours. Due to the ridge, the coverage of showers and storms each day won’t be as high as recent days, and heat levels will creep up with highs generally in the low 90s.

THE WEEKEND: No real change. Hot and humid, partly sunny days, and an afternoon shower or thunderstorm in spots. Highs 91-94; chance of any one spot getting wet Saturday and Sunday afternoon will be about one in four.

And, the overall pattern won’t change much next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: Nice weather this week from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores; about 8 to 10 hours of sunshine daily with just a few widely scattered showers or thunderstorms. Highs on the immediate coast 87-90, with low to mid 90s inland. Sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 88 degrees. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

TROPICS: As you might expect in late August, things are getting active…

FIONA: This is now a tropical depression fighting very dry air, and should dissipate in coming days far from land over the middle of the Atlantic.

90L: A well organized disturbance in the eastern Atlantic will become a tropical depression soon, and probably will be a tropical storm within 24 hours. But, this will recurve over the Atlantic and won’t be a threat to the U.S.

99L: This is a more latitude system, and could gradually develop this week. If it can get it’s act together, it will begin to gain latitude and miss the Caribbean, and should be east of the Bahamas in five days. Remains to be seen if it will turn toward the southern Atlantic coast of the U.S., or recurve into the open Atlantic. There is a high chance this won’t reach the Gulf of Mexico.


Again, we stress there is no sign of tropical trouble for the Gulf of Mexico for the rest of August. Lots of very bad information floating around social media.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it live here.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

More Scattered Storms this Afternoon

| August 21, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

More mugginess today as we are anxiously watching the weak front to our northwest trying to move south. Early this afternoon, the front is located from near Buffalo, New York, southeast into the Tennessee Valley of Alabama. This boundary will continue to sink southward today and overnight, but it is slowing down.

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This will be the focal point for the showers and storms we are and will be seeing out there today and this evening. These are tracking towards the east and will persist into the evening hours. They will produce brief heavy downpours, gusty winds, and lots of lightning.

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HOW FAR SOUTH WILL FRONT MAKE IT?: The upper-level support for the front will be sliding more east than south, and that will cause the front to stall across Central Alabama tomorrow, and it looks to do that around the Interstate 20 corridor. It is August in Alabama and getting a front to push through the state is very hard. North of the front, expect dry conditions, with humid and scattered showers and storms south of the front tomorrow.

Numerous Showers/Storms Again Today

| August 21, 2016 @ 7:19 am

Much of the northern half of Alabama is waking up to a cloudy sky while the southern half of the state remained mostly clear. Showers were a bit more active this morning across the Tennessee River Valley ahead of a cold front sinking slowly southward into the Southeast US as the strong upper trough moves through the Great Lakes region. I expect to see showers and storms become numerous again across much of Central and North Alabama today as many of us will see measurable rain. The presence of more clouds and numerous showers should help to keep temperatures confined to the upper 80s for highs.


For beachgoers, there is going to be a standard summer pattern with more sun than clouds, but there will be those daily chances for showers and thunderstorms in the forecast. Highs along the beach will be in the upper 80s with overnight lows in the upper 70s. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was 87 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The threat for severe storms is somewhat limited over the next three days. There is a marginal risk today along the Mid-Atlantic States northward across eastern Pennsylvania into New York. No areas of severe weather are outlined on Monday. By Day 3 or Tuesday there is a large area of marginal risk from Kansas northward to Minnesota.

But the tropics are alive! Fiona has managed to defy forecasters by maintaining her strength at tropical storm force. Fiona had entered a region of increased westerly shear, so the low level center has become clearly exposed. The track will take the storm westward before recurving to the north around Bermuda. The intensity is expected to fall off on Tuesday as the storm drops into the depression category.

The area about 1200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, Invest 99L, is beginning to look a little less ragged and has a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next five days as it enters an area with conditions more favorable for development. Long range track is still suggesting it may reach the Bahamas late in the week. Invest 90L is looking fairly good as it emerges from the African continent. Model guidance is suggesting this storm will move west for the next couple of days before turning more northwestward into the Central Atlantic following along more closely to Fiona.


The upper trough responsible for bringing the front into the US will move into New England on Monday putting an end to the forward progress of the front. GFS MOS guidance has backed off on bringing the dew points down as much, so the front may stall out closer to Central Alabama than South Alabama. It still looks like we will see some drop off on the dew points, so I’m cautiously optimistic that Monday will be dry with showers mainly across South Alabama.

As the surface high slides across the Mid-Atlantic States on Tuesday we should see a northeasterly flow bring drier air into the Southeast US, so Tuesday still looks to be a dry day with slightly less humidity. But the upper ridge builds in quickly on Wednesday and the surface flow here will come back around to the south wiping out the drier air and bringing chances for showers and storms back into the forecast. It looks like showers and storms will be driven by the heating of the afternoon, so they should be fairly scattered with most people remaining dry. The highs Wednesday should be back around 90.

The upper ridge is forecast to remain in place over the Southeast US well into the weekend with a broad surface high in place. This keeps those daily chances for showers and storms in the forecast along with highs in the lower 90s. We will be contending with Invest 99L as it approaches the Bahamas. The GFS seems to be more bullish on bringing the tropical system into the Bahamas, stalling it, then taking it northeasterly into the Atlantic. The ECMWF, on the other hand, has little in the way of a tropical system in the Bahamas preferring to keep everything well out in the Atlantic. So a good deal of uncertainty as to the future course of Invest 99L.

Looking into voodoo country which is what we call the long range, the GFS features a large upper ridge across the southern tier of the US around August 31st. But that ridge breaks down around September 3rd with the development of a trough over the eastern half of the country. The trough does not last long with the ridge over the southwestern US pushing back into the eastern part of the country by September 5th. This would surely suggest that the heat is not yet behind us for the year.

James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning. You’ll find notes about the Alabama weather scene here throughout the day, so check back often. Be smart with the thunderstorms today, and don’t take any risks when lightning is occurring. Lightning death toll across the US is up to 27 and we don’t want any of our audience to become 28! Have a great day and Godspeed.



Lots of Lightning with Storms

| August 20, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

Several clusters of showers and storms are moving rapidly across Central Alabama this afternoon. No storms are severe, but these storms are producing gusty winds, intense rainfall, and frequent and dangerous lightning.

The main storms we are watching stretch from Cullman County, back through Walker, Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Sumter, and Greene counties. Some of these could be impacting the Birmingham Metro during the early evening hours.

Additional storms are impacting Clay County, as well as Perry, Bibb, and Dallas counties These will be moving into Chilton County and likely will affect Clanton, and the Interstate 65 corridor.

These storms are allowing temperatures to fall from 80s and 90s, down into the 70s, which is some much appreciated heat relief.

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Active Afternoon Radar

| August 20, 2016 @ 2:40 pm

A very tropical air mass remains in place across Alabama this weekend. Temperatures are in the upper 80s and lower 90s for much of the area. We are seeing a mix of sun and clouds, with numerous showers and a few storms covering the radar map this afternoon.

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Much of this activity is moving towards the east-northeast a fairly quick clip and these showers/storms are producing brief heavy downpours, some gusty winds, and lightning. This activity will continue through the afternoon, evening, and should slowly dissipate during the overnight hours.

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MORE STORMS SUNDAY: The weather will once again be unsettled across the state tomorrow. Sunday will be a day very similar to today as scattered to numerous showers and storms are expected, with more clouds than suns, as we wait on the front approaching from the north. Highs tomorrow will likely be in the upper 80s tomorrow, with some lower 90s across southern communities.

Showers Popping

| August 20, 2016 @ 11:58 am

As the radar image shows, showers are beginning to pop across Alabama. Most of the popping appears to be across the western and southern sections of Alabama with a rather void area of showers in the very center of the state. All of these showers were moving fairly steadily toward the northeast.


The previous run of the HRRR that goes out this far has done a pretty fair job at getting the convection under way. The only problem is that HRRR has too many showers in the center of the state and in the eastern sections when compared to the actual conditions. Still not too shabby.


Looks like showers and thunderstorms will be numerous today so most locations stand a pretty fair chance of seeing some rain. Please be mindful of the lightning threat. Lightning deaths in the US have climbed to 27 for this year.


Wet Weekend; Drier Monday

| August 20, 2016 @ 7:09 am

Showers and thunderstorms are likely to occur across much of Central and North Alabama this weekend, so the somewhat wet pattern will continue. The highs today and Sunday should be in the upper 80s being held down by a good supply of clouds as well as fairly numerous storms. But that is expected to change on Monday when a front, albeit weak, makes it way through North and Central Alabama pushed southward by a surface high located over Ohio River Valley. While I was holding out some hope that we would see a couple of days with cooler temperatures, it looks like that might not happen, but we should see an air mass change as much drier air is pushed into the Southeast US with dew points dropping into the lower 60s. This should break the long streak of lows in the 70s as lows dip well into the 60s.

For beachgoers, you will see about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine over the weekend and not next week with a few scattered showers and thunderstorms from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach. Highs on the immediate coast will stay in the 87-90 degree range, with lower 90s inland. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

The severe weather threat across the US is down significantly with only a small area in Michigan where there is a slight risk of severe storms. Day 2 that risk area moves into New York and the Mid-Atlantic states but peaks only as marginal. For Day 3, there are no severe weather risk areas outlined.


But while severe weather across the continental US is waning, the tropical Atlantic is becoming more active. There are three areas under the watchful eye of meteorologists this morning. Fiona is struggling in the South Central Atlantic and barely hanging on as a tropical storm. The system is very shallow, so it is likely to be downgraded to depression status later today or Sunday. The track keeps it in the Atlantic but moving more westward due to the shallow nature of the storm.

Across the deep South Atlantic we have two disturbances. The first one is about 700 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. It is expected to continue moving westward and is expected to gradually increase in strength with fairly good prospects that it will become a depression or tropical storm by the middle of the upcoming week as it gets into the eastern Caribbean. This one even shows up on the long range GFS projections. A second area of disturbed weather is just about to emerge into the South Atlantic from Africa. This disturbance actually presents a little better than the first one and it is expected to gradually develop as conditions become more favorable for storm formation.

Back in Alabama, the weak front is going to bring an air mass change to the area for Monday and Tuesday. Both days should be dry with highs climbing to around 90 as the upper ridge develops over the Gulf of Mexico. But as the surface high shifts eastward into the Atlantic, the wind will come quickly around to the south once again putting showers back in the forecast for Wednesday and the rest of the week. The upper ridge will be the prevalent upper air feature for out weather for the second half of the week and into next weekend. So there will be some chance of showers and thunderstorms each day. I expect highs to dance around the 90-degree mark with some days getting into the lower 90s. Morning lows will rise into the 70s again.

But as we get to next weekend and peek into voodoo country, the GFS has some interesting projections that will surely fuel a great deal of speculation for week 2. The GFS brings a tropical system, the first system discussed above, across the southern tip of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. The storm crosses the Gulf into Louisiana. But the ECMWF appears to take the same system east of Florida recurving it into the Atlantic. So, as we see often, there is a great deal of variation on what this system will do. But it’s presence will give weather enthusiasts a great deal of fodder for water cooler discussions.


I expect to produce the next Weather Xtreme Video by 7 am or so on Sunday morning. Stay tuned to the blog for updates on the Alabama weather scene. Stay dry and Godspeed.



Wet At Times This Weekend; Drier Monday

| August 19, 2016 @ 3:29 pm

RADAR CHECK: Again today we have scattered to numerous showers and storms across the great state of Alabama…. moving eastward producing heavy rain and frequent lightning.

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A flash flood warning is in effect for parts of DeKalb County, including Fort Payne… it will expire at 4:45p CT.

Showers and storms will slowly fade late tonight, but some high school football stadiums could get wet on week one of the season. I would take the rain gear for that reason.

TOMORROW/SUNDAY: Not much change over the weekend… a very moist, unstable airmass will remain parked over Alabama with a number of showers and storms around both days. Best chance of rain will come during the afternoon and evening hours, but we can’t rule out a late night or morning shower. With just a limited amount of sunshine, we project a high in the mid to upper 80s both days.

A surface front will creep into far North Alabama later in the weekend, and places like Florence, Athens, and Huntsville could get into drier air Sunday, but the rest of the state will stay rather unsettled.

NEXT WEEK: Drier, continental air slips into the northern half of the state, and we expect shower-free weather Monday and Tuesday (for North and Central Alabama) with lower humidity and cooler nights. Some of the normally cooler spots could visit the upper 50s early Tuesday for a nice preview of fall. But, moisture returns Wednesday with a risk of scattered showers and storms for the latter half of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.


AT THE BEACH: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine through early next week on the coast from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores with a few scattered showers and storms around daily. Highs 87-90 on the immediate coast, with low 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

FIONA: The tropical storm in the open Atlantic is fighting dry air, and should weaken to a tropical depression over the weekend. It will turn northward and is no threat to land, if it survives.

INVEST 99: The system southeast of Fiona will take a more low latitude track, and has a chance of becoming Tropical Storm Gaston in coming days. Global models are not in very good agreement; remains to be seen if this will impact the U.S. See the Weather Xtreme video for much more information and all the graphics.

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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…

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Look for my next Weather Xtreme video early Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Midday Nowcast: Scattered to Numerous Showers Expected Through Sunday

| August 19, 2016 @ 1:00 pm


RADAR CHECK: At this hour, a broken line of showers and thunderstorms are lined up from the northeast to the southwest across Central Alabama along the I-59 and I-20 corridor. These are all slowly moving to the east. There is more shower activity in the northern part of the state.

TEMPERATURES AT THIS HOUR: With the cloud cover and the rainfall over the northern half of the area, temperatures are being held back. Temperatures are warmer where more sunshine is making it to the surface. Here is a list of temperature observations from across the area at 12:30 PM:

Birmingham 81
Tuscaloosa 81
Gadsden 86
Anniston 88
Cullman 82
Jasper 86
Alexander City 90
Selma 88
Montgomery 89

CODE GREEN AIR QUALITY: The Air Quality Index for the Birmingham Metropolitan Area is in the “Code Green” for ozone and particulate matter 2.5. No actions needed.

TODAY’S CLIMATOLOGY FOR BIRMINGHAM: The normal high for August 19th is 91, while the normal low is 69. The record high for today was set back in 1999 at 103. The record low was set back in 1992 at 62.

REMAINDER OF TODAY: Looking at the latest data, for the rest of the afternoon, most of the scattered shower and thunderstorm activity will probably be along and north of the I-20 corridor. Later this afternoon and evening, more showers and storms will form and move into the southwestern portions of Central Alabama from Mississippi, and may last into the early morning hours of Saturday as they slowly progress eastward into the south-central parts of the area. Otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds can be expected, and afternoon highs will be in the upper 80s to just over 90 degrees.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TONIGHT: Unfortunately, summer storms tend to be very random and scattered, and there is no skill in knowing exactly when and where they will pop up in advance. The chance of any one high school stadium seeing rain tonight at kickoff time is about one in three, and in some cases lightning will be an issue. Temperatures will be generally in the low 80s at kickoff, dropping into the 70s during the second half of the games with very high humidity levels.

THE WEEKEND WEATHER: Much of the same story for Central Alabama on Saturday, as a blanket of moist and unstable air continues to cover the state. Occasional clouds with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, being most active during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will be in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees. On Sunday, a surface front will approach North Alabama and may bring some drier air to the extreme northern counties. Otherwise, the same story for the rest of Central Alabama. Scattered to numerous showers and storms, with highs in the 85-90 degree range.

HEADED TO THE BEACH: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine over the weekend with a few scattered showers and storms from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach; pretty much the same type weather on through much of next week. Highs on the immediate coast will stay in the 87-90 degree range, with low 90s inland. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid to upper 80s. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.


THE TROPICS: Tropical Storm Fiona is in the open Atlantic and will gain latitude in coming days, and is expected to weaken to a tropical depression over the weekend due to dry air in the surrounding environment. Fiona will likely recurve and will not be a threat to land. Another tropical wave has developed to the east of Fiona has a chance of developing in coming days, and is expected to become Tropical Storm Gaston. It will take a more southerly track, and should be approaching the Leeward Islands in about 4-5 days. Global models, however, turn this northward before reaching the Caribbean, and for now it doesn’t look like a threat for the Gulf of Mexico. Remains to be seen if this will recurve over the open Atlantic (which the ECMWF suggests) or not.

ON THIS DAY IN 1987: Thunderstorms moving out of southeastern Nebraska spread severe weather into eastern Kansas and western Missouri during the day. Thunderstorms in Nebraska produced hail three inches in diameter at Albion, and high winds which downed a large tent at Waterloo injuring a dozen persons. Thunderstorms in Kansas produced baseball size hail northwest of Topeka, and wind gusts to 80 mph at Fulton. Ten persons were injured in a thunderstorm at Princeton KS, and damage to crops in southern Franklin County KS was estimated at 3.5 million dollars.

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