Archive for April 9th, 2011
The Weather Office has been all a twitter on this Saturday afternoon, waiting to see if we would establish a new record high in Birmingham.
When clouds were a little thicker than expected early in the day, it seemed that the record of 87 might not be in jeopardy after all. But as soon as the strong April sun came out, the mercury jumped five degrees and the thermometer was off to the races. It would peak at 89.
Huntsville also established a new record for the date with 89. Other Alabama records included 88 at Montgomery and 91 at Muscle Shoals.
LATE NOTE: It was 88 in Tuscaloosa, which was 1 degree short of the record for the date. Anniston also came up one degree short of the record.
There were quite a few records set in other places on Saturday, including at least one notable one.
When the mercury hit 90 in Nashville this afternoon it not only set a record for the date, it was also the earliest that the Music City has registered 90 AND it marked their all time record high for April.
It usually doesn’t hit 92 in Jacksonville FL until May 14th, but they did it yesterday (second earliest ever).
Some other records from this afternoon included:
89 in Naples FL (second straight day)
86 at Atlanta
90 at Columbia SC and Charleston
92 in Tallahassee
89 at Fort Smith AR
84 at Evansville IN
86 at Fayetteville AR
88 at Meridian and Memphis
88 at Grand Island NE
97 in Wichita Falls TX
100 in San Angelo TX
In Oklahoma City, their morning low was a record warm minimum with 67 and this got them off on the right foot to break a daily high temperature record with 92.
As is often the case, record warmth on one side of the nation can lead to record cold on the other side. That is the case in our current high amplitude weather pattern. On the other side of the continent, it was 16 this morning at Rome OR, 31 in Walla Walla WA; 20 at Yakima WA; 41 at Los Angeles (UCLA), and 43 at Long Beach, all records for the date.
The 3 pm temperature at the Birmingham International Airport was 88 degrees which breaks the old record of 87 set in 1965.
Anyone think it will get to 89 or 90?
The 30-year average for the high temperature for today is 73 degrees and the record high is 87 set in 1965. The actual low recorded at the Birmingham International Airport this morning was 69 degrees – very close to the average high for this date! And a whopping 22 degrees above the average low of 47.
So while it is not statistically prudent to forecast records, it does seem likely that today’s record could be in jeopardy. Aloft we have a large ridge bulging northward from the Gulf of Mexico that is being somewhat enhanced by the deep trough on the West Coast.
Morning low clouds helped to temporarily retard the warming process, but in the last hour as the clouds broke up, the temperature climbed a quick 5 degrees in one hour. So will we see the record tied or broken? Always a tough call but I think we’ll see a new record today.
And tomorrow we may see a repeat of today with the record of 88 degrees set in 1995 in jeopardy, too.
Update at 1:10 pm: Birmingham Airport reached 85 degrees with the 1 pm ob just 2 degrees from the record. Satellite indicates an almost completely clear sky as well as several stations just to the west reporting 86 and 87 degrees. So a tie or new record is that much closer.
Update at 2:15 pm: The Birmingham Airport reported 87 degrees on the 2 pm observation which ties the record for this date.
Perry Williams is a weather enthusiast who lives in Newnan, Georgia. He keeps a close eye on the weather on his Facebook page. This week, he posted an excellent analysis of the weather conditions on the morning of the terrible Gainesville (GA) tornado that killed over 200 people on the morning of April 6, 1936. This same storm system produced a devastating tornado killed 216 people in Tupelo, Mississippi the evening before. He granted us permission to post it here…
I’ve wondered for many years just how warm and unstable the weather conditions were in Atlanta and north Georgia the morning the infamous Gainesville tornado occurred at 8:30 a.m. EST on Monday April 6, 1936. After finally receiving weather data from the National Climatic Data Center this evening with hourly weather obs from the Atlanta municipal airport (present day Hartsfield-Jackson International; weather station was north of runways), can categorically state it was very warm, sticky, and what old timers round these parts call “tornado weather”. The near record freeze of 32 degrees on the morning of April 4th, 1936 was quickly replaced by very warm and unstable air rushing north from the Gulf of Mexico.
The first week of April 1936 was a wild week weatherwise across the southeast U.S. A deadly tornado outbreak occurred on April 2nd, producing a killer early morning (7:30 a.m.) F4 tornado that killed 23 and injured hundreds in Cordele, Georgia….a small farming community between Macon and Tifton. During the day, several strong to intense tornadic storms occurred across Georgia and the Carolinas, with a particularly vicious tornado roaring across Greensboro, North Carolina during the evening. Fourteen died there as the cold front raced through the area. Rainfall totalled more than two inches at Atlanta, and some areas of north and central Georgia experienced flooding.
The strong cold frontal passage brought much colder, drier air into the southeast, with Atlanta, Georgia reaching 32 degrees on both April 3 and 4th. With such frosty, unseasonably temperatures, I imagine the thought of more killer tornadoes before the end of the weekend would have shocked many residents of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Another very strong weather system began moving eastward out of the southern Rockies on April 4th, and data indicates strong southerly winds quickly brought warm moist air back to western and southern portions of the southeast states. I have seen a U.S. weather surface chart for 7 p.m. EST (00z) on April 5th, and it shows temperatures near or over 70 and dewpoints well into the 60′s across Mississippi, Alabama, and southern Georgia at that time. This was only 3-4 hours before the infamous F5 “Tupelo” tornado touched down in Mississippi, killing 219 and injuring over 800 in a horrific rampage across several counties. Other significant tornadoes occurred during Sunday night across northern Mississippi and Alabama into southern middle Tennessee.
Evidence in the 00z synoptic chart and surface data from Atlanta clearly show the slow retreat of the cold air from north and central Georgia on Saturday into Sunday afternoon, as strong east winds and “wedge front” kept it cool with rain, drizzle, and fog. Conditions slowly warmed in the Atlanta area that day. but remained cool and stable with rain falling. The 00z chart (7 p.m. EST Sunday evening) showed Atlanta with fog, rain, and a temperature and dewpoint of 55 at that time, and IS CONFIRMED by the surface date I obtained tonight. Saturday morning April 5th began with a temperature of of 43 and only reached 51 by 4 p.m. However, as I’ve observed many times during the past…..surface temperatures and dewpoints continued rising throughout the evening and overnight and reached very favorable parameters for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms by late evening (Sunday April 5th). At the time the Tupelo tornado occurred (9 p.m. CST) it had already risen to 66 degrees with 64 degree dewpoint (rising 14 degrees between 4-11 p.m.).
The temperature and other surface weather parameters in Atlanta suggest a very favorable tornadic supercell enviroment during the night (early morning April 6th), reaching 70 with dewpoint well into the 60′s and strong south winds as dawn approached. My late grandmother was 22 years old at the time, and vividly recalled it being very warm, muggy, and windy that morning……and very stormy looking overhead with dark ominous clouds passing over their family farm in southern Paulding county, Georgia (along present day Ridge Road just east of the New Georgia community). In fact, she stated her father, her younger brother, one younger sister and herself went outside around 6 a.m. to take care of their stock (horses, chickens, pigs, cows, etc) and continue spring planting. Granny said that a bad storm approached from the southwest between 6:30 and 7 a.m., and they all ran for the storm cellar; my grandmother recalled lots of lightning; the sky pitch black with a greenish tint. Shortly afterwords, hail as large as tennis balls fell at their home.
This was apparently the same supercell thunderstorm that produced a strong (F2) tornado near Acworth and Lake Allatoona (7:20 a.m.) and the Gainesville tornado at 8:27 a.m. The last hourly ob taken at Atlanta before the tornado struck Gainesville was 8 a.m. EST, when the temperature and dewpoint at Atlanta was 71/ 66 with strong SSW winds. Since warm frontal passage occurred some 12 hrs earlier, it’s reasonable to assume similar conditions existed at Gainesville, only 45 miles to the northeast; temperature at least in the upper 60′s with dewpoint above 64.
Here are a few select surface obs for Atlanta Municipal airport from April 4th, 5th, and 6th, 1936
Saturday April 4th
7 p.m. EST…….cloudy………47/ 31…..SSE @ 10 mph……30.21″ (1023.0 mb)’….after low of 32 degrees
Sunday April 5th
12 a.m. EST……cloudy……..46/ 32……ENE @ 6 mph……..30.21″ (1023.0 mb)
5 a.m. EST…….lt rain………44/ 43…….E @ 10 mph……….30.12″ (1020.0 mb)
10 a.m. EST…..rain/ fog…..48/ 47…….NE @ 14 mph……..30.05″ (1017.9 mb)
2 p.m. EST……rain/ fog…..51/ 50…….E @ 12 mph………..29.96″ (1014.6 mb)
7 p.m. EST……fog………….55/ 55…….E @ 6 mph…………29.85″ (1011.2 mb)…./ rainfall past 24 hr 1.19″
8 p.m. EST…..thick fog……58/ 58……SE @ 12 mph………29.82″ (1010.2 mb)
9 p.m. EST……fog………….60/ 58……S @ 14 mph………..29.79″ (1009.1 mb)
10 p.m. EST….cloudy……..66/ 64…….S @ 21 mph……….29.76″ (1007.8 mb)…**Tupelo MS F5 was on ground
11 p.m. EST…..cloudy…….67/ 65…….S @ 23 mph……….29.76″ (1007.8 mb)
Monday April 6th
12 a.m. EST….p cloudy…..67/ 65…….SSW @ 21 mph……29.75″ (1007.5 mb)
1 a.m. EST…..p cloudy…..68/ 65……..S @ 23 mph……….29.76″ (1007.8 mb)
2 a.m. EST…..cloudy……..68/ 65…….SW @ 20 mph…….29.76″ (1007.8 mb)
3 a.m. EST…..p cloudy…..69/ 64…….SSE @ 20 mph…….29.77″ (1008.1 mb)
4 a.m. EST…..p cloudy…..69/ 64……..SW @ 20 mph…….29.77″ (1008.1 mb)
5 a.m. EST…..p cloudy…..69/ 64…….SW @ 20 mph…….29.77″ (1008.1 mb)
6 a.m. EST…..cloudy…….67/ 64…..SSW @ 18 mph….29.77″ (1008.1 mb)
7 a.m. EST…..overcast…..70/ 64…..SSW @ 18 mph….29.82″ (1009.5 mb)…./ rainfall since 7 p.m. trace
8 a.m. EST…..overcast…..71/ 66…..SSW @ 13 mph….29.79″ (1008.8 mb) **25-30 min before Gainesville F4 struck**
9 a.m. EST….t-storm…….70/ 66…..SSW @ 22 mph….29.73″ (1006.8 mb) **20 min after Gainesville F4 lifted**
10 a.m. EST…rain………..58/ 57….,..N @ 6 mph………..29.88″ (1011.9 mb)
12 p.m. EST….tstorm……59/ 59…..S @ 2 mph………..29.88″ (1011.9 mb)
2 p.m. EST…..hvy rain….60/ 59…..S @ 4 mph………..29.88″ (1011.9 mb)
4 p.m. EST….rain………..60/ 58…..N @ 4 mph……….29.87″ (1011.5 mb)
7 p.m. EST….rain………..57/ 57…..S @ 3 mph……….29.89″ (1012.5 mb)…./ rainfall since 7 a.m. 2.06″
11 p.m. EST….hvy rain….56/ 56…..E @ 3 mph………29.90″ (1012.9 mb)
Tuesday April 7th
7 a.m. EST…..cloudy……..49/ 48…..NW @ 9 mph……30.02″ (1016.6 mb)…./ rainfall since 7 p.m. 2.20″
This data proves beyond shadow of a doubt that the atmosphere over north Georgia was destabilizing rapidly during the night and pre-dawn hours of Monday April 6th, 1936, and met all parameters for a violent tornado to occur in the Gainesville area at the time it happened (8:25 to 9:00 a.m.).
Even after the front passed Atlanta, very heavy rain continued in the cooler air……a total of 1.19″ fell on April 5th and 4.26″ on April 6th (a storm total of 5.45″, only a few days after very heavy rain fell during the Cordele-Greenesboro tornado outbreak).
* * * Note, no Weather Xtreme Video this morning due to my work at the Honda Indy Grand Prix * * *
If you step outside this morning, you will definitely think it is June or July with the warm and muggy conditions currently across Central Alabama. Temperatures at 8 am were running around 70 degrees at most locations with humidity values running in the 90 to 100 percent range. With a large ridge pattern in place across the eastern half of the country, the forecast for hot weather continues to Monday when the next system will break down the ridge and allow for a strong trough to come across the northern US and bring a front through the Southeast US.
For today, with low level humidity and lots of sunshine to heat the atmosphere, we could see isolated thunderstorms in Central Alabama, but the greater risk of storms is north through east of the area. In fact, the SPC has a slight risk area in the area of South Carolina across North Georgia to Southeast Illinois for today and tonight. The main severe weather threat will be hail as the thunderstorms become rooted to the surface layer. Storms in this region will be moving southeast on the east side of the ridge.
Also with the morning clouds breaking early look for a good deal of sun. This could heat things up to near record values since the record high for today is 87.
The ridge remains the primary feature for Sunday which could be another hot day. Monday a strong trough should bring a front into and through the Southeast US. For Central Alabama, the main window for storms will come Monday afternoon into early Tuesday morning. That trough moves quickly out of the area as it is replaced with another short term ridge. Things begin to change on Thursday as a new trough develops in the Central US and digs into the South Central US. This sets us up for another round of storms on Friday. This system has some interesting looks to it including a positively tilted trough, so severe weather could be an issue. SPC has maintained a “too low” indication because of model differences, but this could be one to keep our eyes on.
By Sunday a week we begin to come under the western ridge which should bring another welcome cool down to the Southeast US as a northwesterly flow pattern sets up to provide us with a wonderful weekend.
The flow goes zonal as we head into voodoo country until another strong trough comes out of the Rockies on Thursday, the 21st of April. This promises at least a day of stormy weather followed by another cool down with a broad trough on the East Coast of the US.
And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…
|James Spann||Jason Simpson||Ashley Brand|
|J. B. Elliott||Bill Murray||Brian Peters|
|Dr. Tim Coleman||E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)|
For your meteorological consulting needs, Coleman and Peters, LLC, can provide you with accurate, detailed information on past storms, lightning, flooding, and wind damage. Whether it is an insurance claim needing validation or a court case where weather was a factor, we can furnish you with information you need. Please call us at (205) 568-4401.