Category: Severe Weather
Yesterday, Brian posted about the Birmingham NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter being off the air. Today we received an update from Jim Stefkovich, the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Birmingham. Jim believes it is important for everyone to know about the situation, and has asked all media partners spread the word on the issue. Here is the latest information on this situation.
Initial issues with the Birmingham NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) transmitter occurred during the late afternoon on Saturday 4/19. Technicians determined on 4/20 that equipment on the tower, as well as cable from the transmitter to the antenna needed to be replaced. There are limited personnel available to make repairs and certified to make the approximate 450 foot climb on the antenna. We have received estimates that the transmitter may not be repaired until on or around 5/3.
They have provided a link to allow people the opportunity to switch transmitter sites and determine if they can in fact pick up broadcasts from surrounding transmitters. Map of nearby transmitters.
The last NWR weekly test occurred on 4/19. For some NWR receivers, if a weekly test does not occur within 10 days, the receiver will begin to beep constantly. This means that if not repaired by 4/29-30, these receivers will begin to beep until a weekly test is performed. It is their intention to perform a weekly test immediately if the outage lasts this long.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS EXPANDED THE
FLASH FLOOD WATCH TO INCLUDE PORTIONS OF CENTRAL ALABAMA…
EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA AND SOUTHEAST ALABAMA…INCLUDING THE
FOLLOWING AREAS…IN CENTRAL ALABAMA…LOWNDES AND MONTGOMERY.
IN EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA…LEE…MACON AND RUSSELL. IN
SOUTHEAST ALABAMA…BARBOUR…BULLOCK AND PIKE.
* THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON
* WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAINFALL OF 1 TO 3 INCHES IS EXPECTED IN THE
WATCH AREA…WITH LOCALIZED HIGHER AMOUNTS.
* THE ACCUMULATED RAINFALL EXPECTED WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL BE
ENOUGH TO AGGRAVATE SOME RIVERS AND STREAMS THAT ARE ALREADY
RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL…AND SOME RIVERS ARE FORECAST TO REACH
STAGES OF MINOR FLOODING. ROADWAYS IN LOW LYING AREAS WILL
LIKELY FLOOD…ESPECIALLY ROADS THAT ARE CLOSE TO CREEKS AND
STREAMS. PONDING OF WATER WILL BE LIKELY IN URBAN AREAS WHERE
POOR DRAINAGE EXISTS.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION
SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.
…FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY
THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR
* PORTIONS OF CENTRAL ALABAMA…EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA…NORTHEAST
ALABAMA…NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…
INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS…IN CENTRAL ALABAMA…AUTAUGA…
JEFFERSON…PERRY…SHELBY…ST. CLAIR…TALLADEGA AND WALKER.
IN EAST CENTRAL ALABAMA…CALHOUN…CHAMBERS…CLAY…
CLEBURNE…RANDOLPH AND TALLAPOOSA. IN NORTHEAST ALABAMA…
CHEROKEE AND ETOWAH. IN NORTHWEST ALABAMA…MARION AND
WINSTON. IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…FAYETTE…GREENE…HALE…
LAMAR…MARENGO…PICKENS…SUMTER AND TUSCALOOSA.
The latest outlook from the SPC has cleared much of North-Central Alabama from the risk of severe weather today. Ongoing showers and storms this morning continue to stabilize the atmosphere over the state. The risk for severe weather in the state (outlined in green), is along and south of U.S. 80 across the Black Belt Region of the state to Montgomery, and also includes, Mobile, Dothan, Troy, Monroeville, and Jackson.
This morning, showers and storms continue to push towards the south across the state. In the wake of the front edge of this convection, moderate rain continues to fall across central portions of the state. This activity will last for several more hours and will give most locations a soaking rain today.
With the persistent rain over the region, it does not appear the atmosphere will have time to recover and destabilize before the front moves through the area. If this would have occurred, there would have been the threat for severe storms later today. Once again, this does not look likely today, but in any case, we will have to watch the front as it moves into the state this afternoon as it could produce a some additional showers and storms.
With the threat of severe weather diminishing today, we now turn our focus to the flooding threat that could possible develop. Many areas of Central Alabama could receive 1-2 inches of rain today with some locations in West Alabama possibly receiving more. Much of Central Alabama remains under a flash flood watch until 1PM Tuesday.
We are watching a line of strong storms moving across northern Mississippi this morning. There are currently no severe storms with this line of activity but these cells are just below severe limits. There are producing very heavy rainfall, gusty winds, small hail, and frequent and dangerous lightning. This activity will continue to race off to the east and will be impacting Alabama later this morning. The good news is the storms appear to be slowly weakening as they approach the state.
Showers and some rumbles of thunder are already moving into our northwestern counties, but the more intense line of activity will be entering Alabama after 4 AM. It will continue to move across the state during the morning hours. Behind this initial activity we will have to be on guard later today. If the sunshine pops back out and allows the atmosphere to become unstable, we could see a threat of severe weather later today across the state as the actual cold front moves into the state. The latest day one convective outlook from the SPC for Monday has much of Alabama, as well as Mississippi and Louisiana outlined in a slight risk for severe weather.
If we do see the atmosphere recover today from this morning’s activity, we will likely see showers and storms develop mid to late afternoon as the cold front moves into the state. The main threat with the storms that develop will be damaging straight-line winds. With thunderstorms, it is always wise to expect the unexpected and the chance for hail and a tornado or two cannot be ruled out. We will also have to monitor the threat of flash flooding. Much of Central Alabama has been placed under a flash flood watch which will go into effect at 7AM this morning. Remember to TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN if you encounter flood waters.
Two lines of showers and storms continue early this morning.
The first extends over western Tennessee and northern Mississippi into northern Lousiana.
The second extends across southeastern Missouri, across Central Arkansas and into northern Louisiana.
All of this activity will push across northern Mississippi overnight. It should weaken as it does.
There are only five severe thunderstorm warnings still in effect and no tornado warnings. Severe thunderstorm watches extend from northeastern Texas across much of Arkansas to western Tennessee.
The first round of showers/storms will enter the area around sunrise and continue to impact the area through the mornings hours. Showers and storms will build again to our west by Afternoon and some of them may become severe Monday afternoon and evening.
Please check the latest information this morning and review your severe weather safety plans.
We will monitor the situation all night. Expect the next update around 3 a.m. , unless conditions warrant an earlier notification.
It is an active night of severe weather in areas to the west of Alabama as a dynamic storm system continues to come together.
As we have been advertising, it is a two prong system. The first upper disturbance is moving into Arkansas from Oklahoma tonight, weakening as it goes. Showers and storms extend from southwestern Illinois to southeastern Missouri to Central Arkansas. Further south, new development is building over Central Louisiana.
Flash flood warnings are in effect around Little Rock, where water rescues are going on at this hour from West Little Rock into downtown.
A stronger, intensifying disturbance is moving out of the Rockies tonight. This disturbance is opening the door for a big Arctic airmass to come south. That impressive boundary extends from Chicago to Des Moines to Kansas City to Oklahoma City to Amarillo.
It is 68F at Springfield MO while just a short distance on the other side of the boundary, it is 39F in Salina and 32F in Hill City KS. Just yesterday, Salina was setting a record high with 91F. In Texas, it is 81F at Wichita Falls and 51F at Pampa in the Panhandle. Further back in the cold air it is 24F in Denver with heavy snow.
The main squall line extends from Central Missouri west of St. Louis into northwestern Arkansas across southeastern Oklahoma to the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorm warnings extend from Central Missouri into western Arkansas. A tornado warning was in efect for areas near Ardmore OK a little earlier.
There have been only three tornado reports today, including two from Iowa and one from Oklahoma.
The initial activity will push across northern Mississippi this evening and reach Northwest Alabama before sunrise. The system will be weakening as it pushes through West Alabama, reaching I-59 on mid-morning.
Meanwhile, activity should intensify over northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee during the day ahead of the main trough and powerful cold front. This activity should reach Northwest Alabama by late afternoon and push through western Alabama between 6-8 p.m. and into the I-59 corridor between 7-9 p.m. It will reach eastern Alabama during the late evening. Showers and storms will continue until the cold front moves through during the predawn hours Tuesday morning.
There is a chance that instabilities will be pretty impressive over western Alabama late tomorrow afternoon. In addition, wind shear values will be high as well, In fact, 0-1 km helicities may be in the 250-300 m2/s2 range. Surface temperatures will push into the middle 70s and dewpoints should be in the middle 60s.
So, we will be monitoring the severe weather potential across Central Alabama through early Tuesday. Indications are that the threat tonight is very low. But we will keep an idea on it. The main threat should come late tomorrow afternoon through tomorrow evening. Hail and damaging winds will be possible and we can’t rule out the threat of tornadoes as well. Stay tuned.
In addition to the severe weather threat, there is a flash flooding threat. Rainfalls across Central Alabama will average 1.5-2.5 inches through Tuesday morning. Flash flood watches are in effect through Tuesday afternoon.
As Bill noted below, the NWS in Birmingham has issued a flash flood watch in effect from Monday morning (7:00 am CDT) through Tuesday midday (1:00 pm CDT) for all of Central Alabama. Just a short time ago, the NWS in Jackson, MS, has added their own flash flood watch which extends further west into Central Mississippi as you can see from the map below.
Besides the severe weather threat, the threat of heavy rain could produce two problems for us. The first is rapid flooding due to the heavy rain. The second is resulting rise in streams and creeks and rivers from what could be a widespread 1 to 3 inch rain total for the storm.
Be sure to stay up with the latest weather information by bookmarking the Alabama Weather Blog.
The NWS in Birmingham has issued a flash flood watch for much of Central Alabama, beginning Monday morning and continuing through early Tuesday afternoon.
Counties in the flash flood watch include: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lamar, Marengo, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.
1 to 3 inches of rain is expected across the watch area starting as early as Monday morning and continuing through early afternoon Tuesday. Flooding will be an issue.
Be ready to receive warnings if they are issued and to take action. Get MyWARN if you have an Android or iOS device.