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Archive for October, 2012

Updated Meteor Info

| 8:07 pm October 31, 2012

From Bill Cooke of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville….

Update on our visitor from the asteroid belt:

1) Eyewitness reports put the meteor in the same area as the doppler echo – good confirmation. Check out the clump of lines in the map NW of Cullman (along with the eyewitness accounts) at this link

The American Meteor Society did a great job analyzing these reports!

2) The fireball (meteor) traveled from South to North (more SSE to NNW).

3) I sent a search team down to the area indicated by the doppler signature. They spent several hours searching along the roads and other spots where meteorites would be relatively easy to spot. Nothing they saw screamed “meteorite”, but they did bring a few specimens back for a closer look. We are meeting around 8:30 AM tomorrow, and I will probably send another group down on Friday after we have had a few hours to think about how to improve the search.

4) There have been six recorded meteorite falls in Alabama – they are:

Danville – November 27, 1868
Frankfort – December 5, 1868
Felix – May 15, 1900
Leighton – January 12, 1907
Athens – July 11, 1933
Sylacauga – November 30, 1954

If a piece of this meteor is found, we will have a seventh fall. BTW, meteorites are named after the closest town/city to their fall location. So the Athens meteorite fell in or near Athens, and so forth.

Regards,
Bill Cooke

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up…

| 5:12 pm October 31, 2012

In October 1997, emergency management officials in Westchester County, New York ran a hurricane simulation for their area.

The fictional storm was loosely based on the 1938 Long Island Express Hurricane, which caused extreme devastation on Long Island and in Westchester County.

The practice hurricane was set to come inland on Saturday evening, October 4th as a category two hurricane just east of New York City.

The advisories used in the drill were eerily predictive of what would happen just over fifteen years later as a very real and very serious Hurricane Sandy came ashore. The central pressure in the advisories 12 hours before landfall was 935 millibars. The maximum winds were similar. The track even curved around eastern North Carolina before turning toward the north.

But what made it really eerie was that the name of the practice hurricane. Can you guess what it was?

Sandy.

Here is some more information on the simulation.

Yesterday’s Fireball… More Data

| 4:03 pm October 31, 2012

Good work by Chip Faust as we work to solve the mystery of the fireball seen by thousands across the Alabama sky around 5:30 p.m. yesterday.

Last night, Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville wrote…

“This was NOT a Taurid meteor; probably a random interloper from the asteroid belt. Doppler weather radar shows a meteoritic “rain”, indicating that there are meteorites on the ground in Alabama. The radar signature is stronger than the recent California fireball, which produced meteorites in the San Francisco area.

We are still working out a precise location for the meteor impact.”

This morning, Chip writes…

I went trawling through the data at ncdc.noaa.gov for yesterday – found something on both khtx and kbhm at the same location (near Mount Vernon) at the approximate time (22:37 UTC) – did a screen capture for both KHTX and KBMX for comparison.

Again, I am *not* a radar expert and could be wrong, but I wouldn’t think random artifacts would show up on both radars at the same time… something would have to be there. I mean, there *could* have been a rainshower yesterday, despite the clear skies…

Wish I could go up there and look; if you know of anyone sending an expedition, please let me know! Seems to be in the Bankhead National Forest.”

Here are the images from the Birmingham NEXRAD and the Huntsville NEXRAD

This radar echo is near the point where Cullman, Lawrence, Winston, and Morgan counties come together in North Alabama.

Bill Cooke looked at this data.. and responded…

“That is likely the doppler signature :)”

So, there is a reasonable chance we have meteorites on the ground somewhere over North Alabama, perhaps near this echo. But, remember the radar beams from these two sites are 500-1500 feet off the ground at this spot, the radar echo doesn’t mark the exact spot where they landed. But, it sure gives us a good clue.

As noted here yesterday, the explosive boom produced by the meteor registered on a seismograph in Huntsville, operated by Steve Jones of alabamaquake.com

Freeze Potential Tonight

| 3:44 pm October 31, 2012

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

COLD HALLOWEEN NIGHT: The NWS has issued a freeze warning for all of their counties up in the Tennessee Valley, where temperatures will drop down into the 28-34 degree range. Down this way, along the I-20/59 corridor, we expect lows between 33 and 37 in most places, but the colder valleys will have a good chance of seeing a freeze. And, frost is likely in most places as we near the end of the 2012 growing season. The sky will be fair, and the wind will finally settle down to near calm.

AND, JUST IN… The NWS in Birmingham has issued a freeze warning for Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Etowah Counties in their CWA (County Warning Area) tonight as well. Temperatures over this part of Northeast Alabama could reach 32 degrees or lower for a while after midnight.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: The weather won’t change much tomorrow; lots of sun with a high in the mid 60s. But, on Friday, the weather turns warmer as we rise into the mid 70s along with a good supply of sunshine.

OUR WEEKEND: Saturday will be warm November day… perhaps the warmest of the month with a high in the 77 to 80 degree range with a partly to mostly sunny sky. Then, we will bring back the chance of showers Sunday as a strong upper trough approaches. The 12Z GFS is a little more aggressive with rain Sunday, but moisture still will be somewhat limited, and rain amounts should be less than one-half inch.

The 12Z GFS is also faster with the system, and moves the rain out of here by daybreak Monday. Early next week will be cooler with a high in the 50s Monday, and close to 60 Tuesday with a cool north breeze. See the Weather Xtreme video for the graphics and details.

STORM ALERT XTREME: Our annual storm spotter training is coming up November 10 at the BJCC, as part of the Alabama International Auto show. We begin at 9:00, and you will be done at 2:00. And, as a “thank you”, you will get free admission into the car show. There is no cost, and no need to register, just show up. Brian Peters will be the trainer, and we ask all existing and potential Skywatchers to attend. See you there!

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

I had a great time today visiting with the 5th graders at Memorial Park Elementary School in Jasper… be watching for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Warmer Days Ahead

| 6:00 am October 31, 2012

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

FIREBALL: Scroll down for the update on last night’s blazing streak across the sky at 5:30 p.m. NASA’s Bill Cooke firmly believes there are meteorites on the ground somewhere over North Alabama. I will pass along updated information on a possible location when we hear from him again.

COLD OCTOBER MORNING: We begin the day with a few spots below freezing… here are some 5:00 a.m. observations…

Fort Payne 28
Valley Head 28
Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 29
Cullman (AG station) 32
Scottsboro 32
Fayette 34
Concord 34

We warm nicely today with most spots rising into the mid 60s with a good supply of sunshine. For the trick or treaters tonight, the sky will be clear with temperatures falling through the 50s this evening, hitting the 40s by 8:30 or 9:00.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Fine fall days. Another cold morning early tomorrow with frost potential (and a freeze potential for the colder valleys), then expect a high in the mid 60s tomorrow, and low to mid 70s Friday with lots of sun both days.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday looks fantastic… a sunny and mild day with a high in the mid to upper 70s. Could work our to be our warmest day in November. Then on Sunday, moisture levels rise and we will bring in the chance of a few showers with the approach of an upper trough/cold front. Showers remain possible Sunday night into Monday, but rain amounts should be light with only limited moisture.

Cooler and drier air blows in here Tuesday; we probably won’t get out of the 50s, and we head for the 30s early Wednesday morning. See the Weather Xtreme video for details.

STORM ALERT XTREME: Our annual storm spotter training is coming up November 10 at the BJCC, as part of the Alabama International Auto show. We begin at 9:00, and you will be done at 2:00. And, as a “thank you”, you will get free admission into the car show. There is no cost, and no need to register, just show up. Brian Peters will be the trainer, and we ask all existing and potential Skywatchers to attend. See you there!

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus

I will be doing a weather program this morning at Memorial Park Elementary School in Jasper… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 3:30 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Meteorites On The Ground In Alabama?

| 9:02 pm October 30, 2012

Thanks to Bill Cooke from NASA in Huntsville.. the best meteor expert in the state. He tells us this about the 5:30 p.m. fireball that was seen over much of our state…

“This was NOT a Taurid meteor; probably a random interloper from the asteroid belt. Doppler weather radar shows a meteoritic “rain”, indicating that there are meteorites on the ground in Alabama. The radar signature is stronger than the recent California fireball, which produced meteorites in the San Francisco area.

We are still working out a precise location for the meteor impact.”

I will have a radar capture here shortly…

The explosive boom produced by the meteor registered on a seismograph in Huntsville, operated by Steve Jones of alabamaquake.com

Bright Streaks, Loud Booms

| 6:38 pm October 30, 2012

Social media lit up like a Christmas tree around 5:30 this evening as thousands across North and Central Alabama saw an extremely bright fireball rolling through the southern sky. Then, loud explosive type “booms” were heard… mostly around Smith Lake and adjacent areas.

The Taurid meteor shower is in progress now… and is most likely the fuss was stirred up by a meteor. Sometimes they disintegrate in the lower atmosphere, and can create the loud shaking noise.

Read more about the meteor shower here.

See the reports and comments over on my Twitter feed, or Facebook page.

Seems like there is never a really dull day in the weather office…

Amazing Optics

| 5:23 pm October 30, 2012

This image was captured by Hank Bowman over the Birmingham area this afternoon…

Almost looks like a big “eye in the sky”… thanks to these optics caused by a layer of high cirrus clouds, which are ice crystals, which refract the sunlight.