Archive for May 24th, 2012
You’ve seen the forecast from James Spann, so you know it is going to be hot! Just how hot will it be?
James most recent forecast has 94 degrees for the high on Saturday, undoubtably the hottest day so far for 2012. That sure seems hot for late May, but when you take a moment to examine the records for the last few days of May, you find that the expected forecast high will not really touch the records. Close perhaps, but not close enough to really jeopardize the standing records.
Records going back just beyond 1900 indicate that the record highs are as follows:
The latest MOS guidance numbers from the 18Z GFS and the 00Z NAM both peg 95 as the projected high for Saturday.
So get out the bathing trunks, fire up the sprinkler or jump in the pool and try to stay cool for the weekend.
NHC now gives the disturbance in the Atlantic east of Florida a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in coming days. Models suggest this could ultimately turn westward toward the South Atlantic coast over the Memorial Day weekend, with potential for heavy rain for the Carolinas and possibly eastern Georgia.
This won’t become a hurricane, or even a major tropical storm… the main issue will be rain. Hopefully the moisture will ultimately move into Alabama after the weekend is over with increasing rain chances here by the middle of next week. We will be watching.
Code orange air quality alert has been issued for Jefferson and Shelby counties.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has issued a code orange air quality alert for Jefferson and Shelby counties for tomorrow.
Under code orange conditions, ground level ozone concentrations are expected to reach levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children and people with asthma, are individuals most at risk under these expected conditions.
ADEM recommends the following actions during an ozone alert day:
…Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature.
…Limit driving and combine errands.
…Use the bus or carpool to work.
…Avoid use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment.
…Refuel cars and trucks after 6 pm.
…Limit engine idling. Use household, workshop, and garden chemicals in ways that keep evaporation to a minimum, or try to avoid using them when poor air quality is forecast.
…If breathing becomes difficult, move indoors.
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HEATING UP: Muscle Shoals has reached 90 degrees at 2:00… most other Alabama cities are in the mid to upper 80s; Birmingham checked in with 85. The sky is partly to mostly sunny, and there is no rain on radar.
Hot weather will certainly headline the Memorial Day weekend, with mostly sunny days and fair nights. We project a high in the low 90s tomorrow and Sunday; Saturday seems to be the hottest day with the upper high right over us along with a high in the mid 90s. The record high for May 26 is 97 degrees, set back in 1962… we will be within a few degrees of that level.
SEC BASEBALL: The annual tournament continues at Regions Park today through Sunday, and the weather will cooperate very nicely. Sunny days, fair nights, and not a drop of rain is expected. The daytime heat will be the biggest issue, with highs in the low to mid 90s tomorrow and over the weekend. The boys of summer should feel right at home.
GULF COAST FORECAST: Great weather for those of you beach bound to celebrate the end of the school year. Expect sunny days and fair nights along the Gulf Coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores, with highs in the 80s and lows in the low 70s. A few scattered showers or storms could show up early next week with a surge of deeper tropical moisture moving into the region. Ocean water temperatures remain mostly in the low 80s.
NEXT WEEK: The upper high will break down, and tropical moisture will move in from the east. We will mention a chance of widely scattered showers or storms Monday, with a better chance of getting wet Tuesday and Wednesday. The coverage of the rain will depend on what happens in the Atlantic, off the Florida and Georgia coasts in coming days.
TROPICAL UPDATE: NHC has upped the chance of tropical cyclone formation to 40 percent in the disturbed area of weather near the Bahamas. Most models, including the GFS, move this system northeast, followed by a bend back to the west/southwest, with the broad low moving into the Florida Atlantic coast somewhere near Jacksonville. Understand this won’t be a hurricane, or even a strong tropical storm. The main impact will be heavy rain for parts of the South Atlantic Coast… and this moisture could very well work into Alabama from the east by mid-week next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for all of the graphics and details.
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Would it be Fawbush and Miller’s fortuitous forecast at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma in 1948?
Could it be the discovery of the hook echo on conventional radar in 1953?
Or would you vote for Weatheradio, which broadcasts warnings with a tone alert that activates specially equipped receivers?
Maybe it’s the internet and its flood of data.
Well…it could be argued that two of the biggest developments happened on the same date, 129 years apart.
On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse transmitted the first message via telegraph wire between Baltimore and Washington D.C. His prophetic message from Number 23:23 read: “What hath God wrought?” The telegraph made it possible for alerts about storms to be sent ahead to threatened cities. The technology made forecasts and warnings possible.
While Morse’s historic message did change the face of weather forever, an event over a century later made advance warning of developing tornadoes a reality.
In the spring of 1973, a team of scientists from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma was preparing to attempt to intercept a tornado using their powerful experimental Doppler radar.
Conditions seemed to be right for the formation of tornadoes on May 24th, and a team of scientists were ready to try and capture a tornado on radar and in the field with an armada of instruments, video and still cameras.
When an F4 tornado tore through the center of the farming community of Union City, Oklahoma that afternoon, everything came together.
It would take months, but researchers would discover two things: the mesocyclone and the TVS.
They would learn that the presence of a mesocyclone, or rotating thunderstorm often led to tornado formation.
The TVS, or Tornado Vortex Signature, was a strong radar indication that formed aloft about 25 minutes before tornado touchdown, and descended to the ground as the visible condensation funnel formed.
Today, we know that the presence of a mesocyclone is a precursor to tornado development in many cases. And a TVS on Doppler radar data is a very strong indication that a tornado is occurring or about to occur.
The Union City tornado would become the most intently studied storm up until that time. It forever erased any doubts about the potential value of Doppler radar as an operational warning tool.
Critics argue that Doppler radar has led to too many false alarms, but one tremendous benefit has been a higher success rate and real lead times for tornadoes.