Category: National and World
Not much change in the drought conditions across the majority of the U.S. The West, especially California, remain in exceptional drought conditions. This takes into account the heavy rains and storms that affected the area last week, and shows just how bad conditions are out there. Drought conditions continue to embrace many areas west of the Mississippi River, while most locations east of the Mississippi, are fairly unaffected by drought conditions.
For us in Sweet Home Alabama, a bit of an improvement, mostly in southwestern parts of the state. Last week, there were abnormally dry conditions for Mobile and Baldwin counties and then stretching towards the northeast. With recent rains, those areas have gone back to normal with just a small part of Conecuh, Escambia, Crenshaw, and Covington counties still in the abnormally dry conditions. For northwestern portions of the state, little to no change from last week as the same areas of Limestone, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Colbert, Franklin, and Marion counties remain abnormally dry.
Something new for this week, an area of abnormally dry conditions has developed over areas of East Alabama. Portions of Talladega, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Randolph, Cleburne, and much of Clay County have been highlighted with these conditions.
Overall, for the entire state the abnormally dry conditions have decreased in the area they cover. Last week it was at 9.8% of the state, this week it is 8.64%, which is a decrease of 1.16%. With the additional rainfall today, hopefully we will continue to see these conditions improve.
I don’t have to remind you that our dynamic storm system has a warm sector, given the highs in the 70s across Alabama. It was 76F in Birmingham, 77F in Tuscaloosa and 79F in Montgomery.
The surface low tonight is over southern Arkansas as you can see in the bottom left panel of the graphic.
A line of thunderstorms has developed over western Louisiana and southern Arkansas. The SPC has mentioned a 20% chance that they might have to issue a severe thunderstorm watch ahead of it. (See the large panel on the graphic.) Instability values are low, but there wind fields are strong, so there may be a few damaging winds tonight.
You can see the upper trough over the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma in the top left penl, with shows jet stream level winds. In that same panel, you can see the associated wind maximum that is helping to unfortunately increase lift over the precipitation area behind the cold front.
Lightning is common all the way into western Tennessee. Once again, we have thundersleet and freezing rain with thunder.
We will be watching the model data that is satrting to come in and will be updating our forecast. We will have additional information here on the blog shortly for North and Central Alabama.
A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT MUCH OF THE UNITED STATES INCLUDING THE MID-SOUTH TONIGHT AND MONDAY
The NWS in Birmingham was posted a freezing rain advisory for the northwestern parts of Central Alabama from 4-9 a.m. tomorrow morning for a glaze of ice that could accumulate from light freezing rain and freezing drizzle early tomorrow morning. The advisory includes Marion, Winston, Walker, Fayette and Lamar Counties.
For areas north of this, the National Weather Service in Huntsville has posted a winter weather advisory for Colbert, Lauderale, Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone Counties for early tomorrow morning.
Early this afternoon, the NWS Huntsville added Madison and Jackson Counties to the winter weather advisory for the Tennessee Valley.
Here is the worst ice accumulation through midnight tonight:
Here is a rundown of information from National Weather Service offices to our north and west. We will keep this running blog post updated through the evening hours.
…6:38: Friend of the WeatherBrains show, Eric Proseus reports 1.79″ of rain in the CoCoRaHS gauge at 3N Bartlett as of 5 mins ago. 33.0 degrees and steady rain w/ lightning right now. Light icing on all exposed objects, under 0.10″.
…The northern part of the Delta could see 0.25-0.40 inches of ice, including Greenville and Greenwood.
…The southern part of the Delta, including Yazoo City, 0.1-0.2 inches of ice could accumulate.
…Up to an inch of snow possible over the northern part of the Delta in Mississippi.
…Freezing rain rates will be approaching 0.10-0.25″ per hour this evening over western Tennessee.
…1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of ice in the Memhis area (including the Mississippi suburbs) and two inches of snow.
…1-3 inches of snow expected across northwestern Tennessee.
…Up to four inches of snow across eastern Arakansas and southeastern Missouri.
…Rain starting to freeze on exposed surfaces around Jackson TN just before 6 p.m.
…1/4″ of ice and 1″ of sleet in Dyersburg.
…Winter storm warnings in effect through Monday morning for much of Middle Tennessee.
…One half to one inch of ice accumulation is expected in places like Clarksville and Waverly.
…1/4 to 1/2 inch from Waynesboro, to Columbia to Nashville.
…The current balloon release from Nashville shows a significant warm layer that is 8500 feet deep. The surface temperature is approaching freezing. This will lead to serious freezing rain.
…2-3 inches of snow is expected near the Kentucky border as the airmass cools further and the precip changes to all snow.
…Nashville is expecting an inch of snow.
…A winter weather advisory is in effect for places like Manchester, Cookeville and Crossville, where up to one quarter of an inch of ice accumulation is expected.
…Serious icing is expected tonight over Kentucky.
…Winter storm warnings are in effect for the entire state including ice storm warnings for the southwestern part of the state around Hopkinsville and Madisonville.
…Ice accumulations should reach one half inch in the ice storm warning area.
…Elsewhere one quarter of an inch of ice is likely.
…The freezing rain may turn to heavy sleet later this evening as temperatures drop well into the 20s.
NWS MORRISTOWN TN
…Significant icing in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia
…1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice and 1-3 inches of snow across this region.
We are dealing with a very sharp cold front not very far to our north. Look at these temperature contrasts at 9 a.m.:
61F in Tupelo, 37F in Memphis (90 miles)
64F in Nashville, 34F in Hopkinsville KY (55 miles)
66F in Longview TX, 37 in Mouth Pleasant (45 miles)
Here in Nashville, I went down to breakfast at 945 with a temperature of 65F, and when I stepped outside at 10:30, it was 45F!
We continue to watch a major winter storm to the north and northwest of Alabama on this first Sunday in March. If you go anywhere from New Mexico to New York City, you will be under a winter weather advisory, watch or warning. Winter storm warnings are as close as northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. The entire states of Kentucky and West Virginia are under winter storm warnings.
The National Weather Service in Huntsville has posted a winter weather advisory for late tonight and early Monday for Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone Counties. A wintry mix will spread into Northwest Alabama around 4-5 a.m. and will spread across the Tennessee Valley Counties into places like Huntsville and Scottsboro through sunrise. More patches of a light wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet will spread across the area along and north of US-278 through the morning hours, diminishing by noon.
This means that folks in Marion, Winston and Cullman Counties, over into Marshall, Etowah and Cherokee Counties may deal with some light freezing rain or sleet early Monday morning as temperatures fall quickly to freezing behind a cold front and precipitation continues to stream across the area.
South of US-278, temperatures will remain above freezing until Monday night and the precipitation will be long gone by then.
Here is a peek at the RPM model for 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning showing some light wintry mix across North Alabama in areas along and north of US-278.
IN THE HERE AND NOW: Clouds have held tough this morning in areas generally along and north of I-59. There was even some early fog. Surprisingly, early temperatures were not affected significantly by the clouds, with generally everyone in the lower 60s, a testament to the relatively warm airmass in place over Alabama. A few places in the heavier cloudiness are in the upper 50s. Everyone should get into the 70s by this afternoon with a mix of clouds and sun as those clouds erode, but other clouds move into later today. There could be a few sprinkles before the clouds erode in those areas north of I-59.
PRECIP MOVES OUT TOMORROW: The rain will be mainly southeast of I-59 by 7 a.m. tomorrow and will race eastward out of the state by 10 a.m. or so. Most everyone should see a decent soaking, overnight tonight and early Monday with about one half inch of rain on average. Monday will be a blustery day with clearing skies, but a strong northwest wind will make it feel sort of miserable.
MISERABLE MONDAY MERCURY: The ol’ thermometer will fall quickly into the 30s this evening over Northwest Alabama. The front will reach Hamilton a little after sunset, Cullman by 9, Tuscaloosa by 11, Birmingham/Gadsden by midnight and Anniston by 2 a.m. It will get into Middle Alabama around Clanton by 8 a.m. or so. Temperatures behind the front will fall into the middle 30s in the I-59 corridor before rebounding a tiny bit into the upper 30s as sun peeks back out for awhile. Lows Monday night will fall below freezing across all of Central Alabama, with upper 20s across the northern half of the area.
New York City’s Central Park has only experienced four winter seasons with 60 or more inches of snow.
It was on this date in 1996 that the station established a new single season snowfall record when 4.6 inches of snow brought the total to 66.3 inches. This surpassed the old record of 63.2 inches set in 1847-48. Eventually, the season would total 75.6”.
As you can see, this year is in hot pursuit, sitting in fifth position.
The current storm is projected to bring 4-8 inches of snow to the Big Apple tonight and Monday, so this year is certain to make the short list five. There is a good shot that this winter will make the top two or three. It looks like the top position is safe, but a rogue late season storm isn’t out of the question.
March has produced at least eight snowstorms in history of seventeen inches or more. And a snowstorm in April is not outside the realm of possibility.
Though we continue our spring-like weekend of weather across Alabama, that is not the case just off to our north and west. Numerous winter weather alerts are currently in effect from the Four Corners, across the Plains, the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, and into the Mid-Atlantic. Whether it is winter storm watches and warnings, winter weather advisories, ice storm warnings, or a freezing rain advisory, it is certainly going to be a messy and high impact winter storm for these locations. Use caution and expect impacts on travel in these areas.
Now back in Alabama, we will all be in the upper 60s and lower 70s today, but we will see the cold air heading back into the state overnight. The NWS in Huntsville has issued a winter weather advisory for some counties in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama. As of now, only these extreme northwestern counties in the state are impacted and no counties in Central Alabama are currently under any kind of winter weather alert.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY FOR FREEZING RAIN…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM
MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM CST MONDAY.
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
9 AM CST MONDAY…
.RAIN WILL TRANSITION TO FREEZING RAIN ACROSS THE ADVISORY AREA LATE
TONIGHT…AS A STRONG ARCTIC COLD FRONT PUSHES SOUTHWARD AND
TEMPERATURES FALL BELOW FREEZING.
LOCATIONS INCLUDED ARE LAUDERDALE…COLBERT…FRANKLIN AL…LAWRENCE…LIMESTONE…MOORE…LINCOLN…
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…FLORENCE…MUSCLE SHOALS…
* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED…LAUDERDALE…COLBERT…FRANKLIN…
LAWRENCE…AND LIMESTONE COUNTIES IN ALABAMA AND
LINCOLN…MOORE…AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES TENNESSEE.
* ACCUMULATIONS…LESS THAN TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH ACROSS FAR
NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND BETWEEN ONE AND TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH
ELSEWHERE IN THE ADVISORY AREA.
* IMPACTS…A GLAZE OF ICE WILL BE POSSIBLE ON EXPOSED AND ELEVATED
SURFACES…SUCH AS CARS AND TREES. DUE TO WARM GROUND TEMPERATURES
AND WET CONDITIONS FROM RAINFALL EARLY ON SUNDAY EVENING…IMPACTS
ON LOCAL ROADS ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONFINED TO SLICK AREAS ON BRIDGES
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN WILL
CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED
VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Even though much of the Southeast continues to be very warm and spring-like, and today is the first day of meteorological spring, it is still winter in the Northern Hemisphere and brutally cold, arctic air is not that far away from us in Alabama. Check out the temperature range across the U.S. There are 60s and 70s here in the Southeast, while single digits and sub-zero temps cover the Plains and Upper Midwest.
With a range in temps, you know there has to be some interesting weather and heading into Sunday that is what is in the forecast. The national watch and warning maps shows it is going to be a very busy few days as a major winter storm will be moving out of the Southwest and will move northeast across the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys. It will be dumping a lot of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Winter storm watches, warnings, winter weather advisories and even an ice storm warning have been issued from the Plains to the Mid-Atlantic Coast.
Looking at the precipitation forecast maps for Sunday evening, we see the storm system moving into the Mississippi River Valley with widespread precip falling. On the southern side of the storm system, where it is warm, it will be rain showers and storms. On the northern side, where the moisture is overrunning the very cold air, a massive amount of wintry precip will be falling. This system will cause widespread impacts on travel and will cause all sorts of weather headaches.
Yes, the winter weather side of the storm will certainly be impacting a larger area and more people, but heading into Sunday, there will even be a risk for severe weather. The SPC has issued a slight risk for severe weather for portions of eastern Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and southwestern Mississippi. This risk includes Houston, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Austin, and Lake Charles. A line of strong and severe storms is expected to develop along the cold front as it pushes into the warmer, and more moist air mass. The main concern with storms that develop will be damaging straight-line winds. No part of Alabama is included in this risk, but we have been outlined in a general thunderstorm outlook as we expected showers and storms to move into the state tomorrow night.
After a pretty nice Friday afternoon across Central Alabama, which saw highs top out near 60F, showers have been moving across the state tonight. Rainfall amounts have been light, generally less than one tenth of an inch. The showers are diminishing and moving to the east late tonight.
Mild temperatures are in store across the area today, which even nicer readings in store for tomorrow. But even though we turn the page today to March and to meteorological spring, don’t count your chickens just yet. Winter has a few more reminders left that it is officially not out the door until March 22 by the calendar, including some colder weather this week.
With a good supply of sunshine Saturday, temperatures will warm well into the 60s. Highs will generally warm into the middle 60s from US-78/280 northeastward, with upper 60s and even a couple of 70 degree readings possible in places like Livingston and Demopolis. Lows Saturday night will barely make it into the middle and upper 40s.
IF YOU LIKE SATURDAY, YOU WILL LOVE SUNDAY: It doesn’t get much better than the weather we expect Sunday here in Alabama. With a good supply of sunshine under partly cloudy skies, highs will warm into the middle 70s. That’s right, you heard it: 70s. Go outside and roll around in the grass like a puppy! But change will not be far away, even as you are frolicking.
It comes in the form a a big load of heavy, cold air that will be making its way over the border from Canada into the northern and Central Plains. This cold air is behind all of the mischief to our north. By Sunday night, the cold front will be moving into the Northwest part of Alabama. Showers and some thunderstorms will push into the state starting late Sunday afternoon and progressing southeastward through the overnight hours. Rainfall amounts won’t be especially heavy, averaging around one half inch, with some one inch amounts possible.
IMPORTANT HEADS UP IF YOU’RE DRIVING NORTH: It is hard to imagine that while we are talking about 70s here in Alabama, Winter Storm Watches are posted not very far to our north. Places from eastern Kansas and Oklahoma across all of Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, northwestern Tennessee, much of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and all of Kentucky into western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
A major, crippling ice storm is expected across much of Kentucky with a quarter of an inch to one half of ice expected to accumulate. To the north, heavy snow is expected. 10-14 inches of snow will fall across North Central Ohio, which 6-8 inches around Cincinnati The snow will fall on top of a thin layer of freezing rain. St. Louis is expecting 5 inches of snow, and around 7-10 inches around Indianapolis. If you are traveling north into these areas starting Saturday night through Monday, please check the latest forecasts and warnings.
TORNADO WARNING TONIGHT:
The NWS in Sacramento issued a tornado warning tonight about 8:30 p.m. CST for a storm northwest of Sacramento. A funnel cloud and lowering did pass over I-5 near Woodland, but I have not seen any indication that a tornado touched down.