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Category: National and World

Current U.S. Snow Coverage

| 11:38 am March 26, 2014

With the very cold weather across Alabama this morning, it reminds us the Winter of 2014 is not finished yet. Though we’ve had warm weather lately, and warm weather is in the forecast for the next seven days, it certainly was a cold morning across Alabama and the Southeast.

As we look at the latest U.S. snow coverage map, we continue to see a fair amount of snow on the ground in the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, around the Great Lakes, and up-and-down the Rocky Mountains. Elsewhere across the U.S., very little snow is on the ground as the recent warm weather has allowed much of the U.S. to begin to thaw.

This morning’s U.S. snow analysis has 22.1% of the country with snow on the ground. Last week at this time, it was 28% of the country, and one month ago, the area covered was at 38.2%. The coverage area continues to slowly decrease as spring tries to take hold, and I will be glad to see these percentages continue to decline the next few weeks.

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Your Weekly U.S. Drought Monitor Update

| 1:03 pm March 20, 2014

Not much change in the drought conditions across a majority of the U.S. The worst conditions remain west of the Mississippi River, as portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nevada, and California remain in exceptional drought conditions. There is little to no relief in sight and conditions are likely to get worse before they have a chance to get better.

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No part of Alabama is currently experiencing drought conditions, but we continue to see the Abnormally Dry conditions in three areas of the state. These conditions continue across northwestern parts of the state where they are affecting portions of Limestone, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Colbert, Franklin, and Marion counties.

For East-Central Alabama, the abnormally dry conditions still include portions of Talladega, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Randolph, Cleburne, Clay, Chilton, Dallas, Autauga, and Elmore counties.

Abnormally dry conditions persist across the Wiregrass Region as well, affecting locations in Pike, Crenshaw, Coffee, Geneva, Covington, Escambia, Conecuh and Baldwin counties.

Overall, for the entire state the abnormally dry conditions have remained the same in the amount of area they cover. Last week it was at 18.48% of the state, this week it remained at 18.48%. The rainfall we’ve had the last week as help slow down the spread of dry conditions. Last week had an increase of nearly 10% coverage, while there was no change from last week to this week.

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National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16-22, 2014

| 4:00 pm March 16, 2014

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As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, AlabamaWX is committed to keeping people informed of any initiative which will better prepare them to “Be a Force of Nature.” Starting today, NOAA and FEMA begin their annual National Flood Safety Awareness Week. This a week dedicated to providing life-saving information on being prepared for the threat of flooding.

On average, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other weather related event. It is a threat to life and property that can occur in any of the fifty states or U.S. territories at any time of year. In 2013, the nation watched as deadly floods from severe storms impacted the Great Plains during May and record rainfall caused devastating flooding in Colorado in September. Last year, 85 people lost their lives to freshwater flooding. More than half of those fatalities were a result of people driving into floodwaters. On average, there are 89 fatalities and $8.3 billion in damages annually.

During National Flood Safety Awareness Week , March 16-22, 2014, NOAA and FEMA will highlight the importance of preparing for a flood before it strikes and teach the actions you should take when faced with a flooding situation.

The National Weather Service has created an online marketing toolkit to help you get the word out about National Flood Safety Awareness Week. The toolkit contains daily web stories (including Spanish versions), a poster, a social media plan and flood safety information. All of this content is in the public domain and can be used for your web site, email newsletter, social networks or elsewhere.

In addition, the National Weather Service has a redesigned flood safety web site, with information on what to do before, during and after a flood. The site includes an interactive flood map, where you can look up flood dangers in your state. Flooding is a nationwide threat. But with your help, we can highlight the importance of preparing for a flood before it strikes.

“Be a Force of Nature”

Your Weekly U.S. Drought Monitor Update

| 10:01 am March 6, 2014

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.

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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.

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And Storms Too…

| 8:57 pm March 2, 2014

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.

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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.

Notes to our North and West

| 6:26 pm March 2, 2014

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.

IMPORTANT NOTE
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:

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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.

LATE REPORTS
…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″.

NWS JACKSON
…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.

NWS MEMPHIS
…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.

NWS NASHVILLE
…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.

NWS PADUCAH/LOUSIVILLE
…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.

Cold Not Far Away

| 11:01 am March 2, 2014

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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.

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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 Snowfall Notes

| 9:30 am March 2, 2014

New York City’s Central Park has only experienced four winter seasons with 60 or more inches of snow.

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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”.

1995-96 75.6”
1947-48 66.3”
2010-11 61.9”
1922-23 60.4”
2013-14 57.3”

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.