Archive for November, 2012

Heavy Non-Severe Thunderstorms

| November 27, 2012 @ 4:59 am

Waking up this morning to some heavy thunderstorms moving through Central Alabama. Heavy rain and frequent lightning are accompanying these storms, but none of them are severe. The heaviest activity is along Interstate 20/59 from near Vance through Birmingham to about Springville.

Behind these initial storms, heavy rain is falling in Jasper, Tuscaloosa and Aliceville. These storms will continue to push to the southeast this morning as the cold front works across the state.

WeatherBrains 357: Dropping Like Flies

| November 27, 2012 @ 4:55 am

WeatherBrains Episode 357 is now online (November 26, 2012). If you are really nuts about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Dr. Tony LupoTonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a suggestion of listener Ken Hoglund. He is an alum, having appeared on show number 249 in November, 2010, not one of his greatest claims to fame. He is the Department Chair and Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri. Tonight we welcome Dr. Tony Lupo back to the show.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 87 at Corpus Christi, Killeen, and Junction, TX, and -11 at Fosston, MN
  • Tranquil across the Southeast recently
  • Severe weather threat tonight in Louisiana and East Texas
  • Alaska -36 at Northway
  • and more!

Our email bag officer has come up with a big excuse to turn the reins back to Kevin who is conveniently out (one of those flies!!). So who knows if anyone is handling the mailbag tonight?

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: This week is part two of a three part series on precipitation types. With winter just around the corner and some pretty cold days occurring across the vast fruited plain, it seems appropriate to look into the frozen types. And there are several.

TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of November 26th.

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 357:

School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

Dr. Lupo’s Home Page

CPC El Nino Page

Picks of the Week:

JB Elliott – Lightning Photo from the USS Eisenhower

Bill Murray – Where have the tornadoes gone?

Brian Peters – Online Cloud Atlas

James Spann – USGS Earthquake Hazards Map

JP Spann – Alabama Tornado Outbreak from November, 2001

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like JB Elliott, Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather. graphic

Rain Moves Into Alabama Tonight

| November 26, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

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.

BIG WARM-UP: Some North Alabama communities have warmed up nearly 40 degrees today… from morning low to afternoon high. Birmingham reported 65 degrees at 2:00; Montgomery was at 71. Clouds, as expected, have increased over the past few hours, and are thicker over the western counties.

We note a band of showers and a few thunderstorms over Central Mississippi; those are moving slowly to the east and will impact West Alabama later tonight.

RAIN RETURNS: Not much change in the overall thinking. The primary threat of showers across Alabama will come from about midnight tonight through 12:00 noon tomorrow. The 12Z NAM prints only 0.28″ for Birmingham, while the GFS shows the exact same amount… 0.28″. Sounds about right to me… most folks can expect about a quarter of an inch of rain late tonight and tomorrow morning. Certainly no threat of severe weather, and most folks across North Alabama won’t even hear any thunder with a stable airmass and somewhat weak dynamic support.

Clouds will linger through tomorrow afternoon, and we won’t get out of the 50s due to the clouds and showers.

WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: Look for mostly sunny pleasant days and clear chilly nights over the latter half of the week. The high Wednesday will be near 60, followed by mid 60s Thursday and Friday. The low early Wednesday and Thursday morning will be in the 30-36 degree range, but Friday morning will be warmer with a low somewhere between 38 and 45.

MILD WEEKEND: We are projecting highs around the 70 degree mark both Saturday and Sunday as we begin meteorological winter this weekend. The days will feature a mix of sun and clouds, and we might consider a slight risk of a shower Saturday with a weak impulse passing through, but the chance of rain looks so small now it really isn’t worth mentioning in the forecast.

We stay mild early next week, but the GFS continues to show a cold front passing through here in the December 5-6 time frame, followed by sharply colder air. See the Weather Xtreme video for the graphics and details.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 p.m. CDT… you can watch live here.

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

Google Plus

I had a great time today visiting with the 7th graders at Helena Middle School… be looking 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….

Lunchtime Update

| November 26, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

Checking out the latest satellite image, clouds have been moving into Alabama all morning. High clouds have made it into East Alabama. The more widespread and thicker cumulus clouds are running along and west of the Interstate 65 corridor from Huntsville through Birmingham down towards Montgomery. The clouds off to our west in Mississippi will continue to spread east today as our the atmosphere over us really begins to moisten up.

For much of the morning, many locations in Mississippi have been reporting light to moderate rains at times. As the showers have been working towards Alabama, they have been falling apart and dissipating. That is because the air over Alabama is very dry once you get above the surface layer. As the storm system off to our west continues to develop, our moisture levels will be on the increase today, especially with the winds coming out of the south. Expect our radar to fill in this evening as showers and thunderstorms that develop along the front move our directions. Areas in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and eastern Texas are under a slight risk for severe weather today. No risk for any part of Alabama currently, but we will be watching the storms once they fire up and begin their march to the east southeast with the cold front. Damaging winds and large hail look to be the the SPC’s greatest concerns with thunderstorms that develop today.

Rain Returns Late Tonight

| November 26, 2012 @ 6:04 am

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.

ANOTHER COLD MORNING: Many communities are below freezing again this morning. Some 5:00 a.m. observations include…

Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 24
Gadsden 27
Noccalula Falls (Gadsden) 27
Fort Payne 28
Valley Head 28
Anniston 29
Coker 29
Concord 30
Montgomery 31

We do note temperatures are much warmer over Northwest Alabama, where clouds have moved in. Muscle Shoals reports 43 degrees.

THE DAY AHEAD: We should warm into the mid 60s today with an increasingly cloudy sky. To the west, we will watch a batch of showers and storms that will form over North Louisiana and some of the adjacent states; SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather for this region this afternoon and tonight, but the risk is somewhat marginal.

RAIN MOVES INTO ALABAMA: It looks like our main window for showers will come from midnight tonight through 12:00 noon tomorrow. Severe weather is not expected, and rain for the northern half of Alabama should be light. The NAM is printing 0.35″ for Birmingham, while the GFS is drier with only 0.11″. I figure most places around here will see a quarter inch or less. And, I doubt if we hear any thunder because the air will be stable.

Tomorrow will be a bit cooler with a high in the upper 50s due to the clouds and morning showers, but there isn’t any really cold air to follow the rain.

WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY: These three days will feature sunny pleasant days and clear chilly nights. Temperatures will be seasonal; highs in the 60s and lows mostly in the 30s. The coldest morning will come early Wednesday with some places reaching the freezing mark.

WEEKEND PEEK: Our weather over the weekend should be mild for early December; the GFS is printing a high of 68 Saturday, followed by 70 degrees Sunday. Mornings won’t be as cold; lows should be in the 46-52 degree range. There will be some increase in moisture, but with little in the way of a trigger I honestly don’t think rain will be an issue. We might consider a slight risk of a shower both days, but for now the chance of getting wet is so small it really isn’t worth mentioning in the forecast.

The weather should stay mild for the first part of next week, but the GFS hints at a cold front around December 5 with a chance of showers, followed by much colder air. See the Weather Xtreme video for the graphics and details.

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. We will record this week’s episode tonight at 8:30; you can watch here.

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

Google Plus

I have a weather program this morning at Helena Middle School at 9:00…. look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

A Case of Severe Clear

| November 25, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

It’s a case of one of JB’s favorite weather phenomena today: severe clear.

Bright blue skies cover Alabama and most of the Southeast. If you look hard, you would find one patch of fast moving, high clouds east of Charlotte over North Carolina.

Folks traveling back home from the holidays anywhere in our area are experiencing ideal travel conditions.

Temperatures are in the 50s across the area and will peak around 58 to 59F.

Expect the clear conditions to continue tonight with lows in the lower and middle 30s.

A few showers will reach western Alabama Monday afternoon and rain chances will increase overnight. There could be some embedded thunder, but no severe weather is expected in Alabama. Can’t rule it out, but there shouldn’t be organized severe weather.

There is a slight risk for areas west of Alabama tomorrow.

Rainfall amounts should average between one quarter and one half inch before the rain moves out Tuesday.

Warming Up with Some Rain Ahead

| November 25, 2012 @ 7:31 am

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.

Thanks for tuning into the Weather Xtreme Video. Sorry for the audio issues yesterday. I think I tracked down the issues and have them resolved for now. Unfortunately the cold I’m dealing with has done a number on the voice quality, but not much I can do about that except letting this darn cold take its course.

It is downright cold this morning with 20s across all of North and Central Alabama. 51 was the official high at the Birmingham airport yesterday, and I think we’ll see the afternoon a bit warmer than that as we head into the upper 50s. But clouds will be on the increase Monday as the next frontal system approaches late Monday and into Tuesday. There has been some concern about the potential for severe weather with this system since earlier in the week there were signs of a more potent system then what it now appears we’ll get. Instability continues to be lacking as the system arrives here. In fact, SPC has a slight risk for severe weather over northern Louisiana and East Texas on Day 2 (Monday) but has no specific outlook area on Day 3 (Tuesday). CAPE appears to be quite limited, but looking at the LI (Lifted Index) there is a little instability which might be enough to produce isolated thunderstorms closer to the coast. So it appears likely that we will be skating by on this one.

The bad news, though, is that after nearly two weeks without rain, it appears that rainfall amounts will also be quite limited. HPC is painting about a half inch for most of Alabama and that seems about right. I’ll take what I can get, but most of Central Alabama has only seen about an inch and a quarter of rain so far this month, much below the average November rainfall of 4.63 inches.

Wednesday promises to be another chilly day with highs in the 50s as the trough moves on by and we come under weak ridging. By Thursday a short wave trough comes out of the Rockies. Yesterday it appeared that it would be moisture starved and of little consequence. The latest run suggests that there may be more moisture return ahead of this system for at least small chances of rain late Friday and into Saturday. For now, I’m going to stick with a dry forecast until I see better evidence of enough moisture to generate rain.

Looking out into voodoo country, we find that the GFS has flipped from yesterday. We’re still looking at a rain event around December 5th and 9th, but now the GFS has a much more robust trough to go with those rain chances. This suggests a much colder pattern than what it was projecting yesterday.

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 Charles Daniel Ashley Brand
J. B. Elliott Bill Murray Brian Peters
E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing Monday morning. And I believe he’ll be back on a two a day schedule. Again, sorry for the croaky voice. I hope you have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Fall day. Godspeed.


The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950

| November 25, 2012 @ 6:00 am

Forecasts for Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1950, had warned of an approaching cold wave from the Ohio Valley into the Deep South, but weathermen were caught unaware by the explosive deepening of the weather system they were monitoring. Rain changed to snow late on Thanksgiving Day and continued through much of Friday the 24th across Ohio as a low pressure system developed over Virginia and North Carolina.

On the morning of November 25, 1950, weather maps showed a rapidly deepening low pressure system over southern Virginia. The low was drawing its strength from a powerful upper level low to the west. Snow was intensifying over a wide area. Before it was over, a widespread area of 20-30 inch snowfalls blanketed eastern Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. 44 inches was measured at Steubenville, Ohio, an all time record for the Buckeye State. 30 inches fell at Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, barometers under intense high pressure over eastern Canada read 1049 millibars or near 31 inches! This high was going nowhere, blocking the low from moving northeast. The pressure gradient between the 991 mb low (29.26 inches) and the high was producing very strong winds of 40 to 60 mph and resulting in blizzard conditions over a wide area. It was the worst blizzard on record at Dayton, Ohio. Winds gusted to 108 mph at Newark, New Jersey and 94 mph in New York City. Coastal flooding inundated the runways at LaGuardia Airport.

At Columbus, Ohio, preparations were underway at The Horseshoe for the game of the college football year between Ohio State and Michigan. Temperatures were in the single digits with a howling north wind. The Athletic Directors decided to play the game despite the fact that roads were blocked by snowdrifts over nearly the entire state. The Rose Bowl berth was on the line! The tarps were frozen to the field and visibility was so limited by heavy snow throughout the game that it was nearly impossible to see the players from the press box.

Still, over 50,000 people showed up for the Snow Bowl, which saw only 27 yards of offense from the victorious Michigan Wolverines, who did not make a single first down! 9 inches of snow would be on the ground by early evening. Finding the yard markers and even the players sometimes was a chore. The poor field conditions resulted in 45 punts during the game.

Record cold exacerbated the problem and many all time November records were established, including the reading of 5F at Birmingham as well as 3F at Atlanta and 22F in Pensacola. Crop losses were significant. Birmingham picked up an inch of snow.

The Thanksgiving Weekend Storm, or Great Appalachian Storm of 1950 would go on to become the costliest storm up to that point according to the insurance industry, surpassing all previous hurricanes and tornadoes.

A Bitterly Cold Night

| November 24, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

After yesterday’s cold front passed through much colder air is settling in behind the front. The strong north winds today will continue to bring the colder air into Central Alabama and the Southeast. The winds are expected to go calm this evening, and with no cloud cover, optimal radiational cooling will take affect. Temperature will drop like a rock as we head through the overnight hours and by tomorrow morning, many areas will have a hard freeze as the average low will be around 27. Some areas will be in the lower 20s. This is the coldest weather we have experienced this season. Freeze warnings extend all the way down to the Gulf Coast and into the Peninsula of Florida. The forecast map below shows many areas will be in upper 20s overnight.

A Look at the Weather Map

| November 24, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

High pressure is in control over much of the Eastern half of the United States. That is keeping beautiful and sunny conditions in place, but very cold conditions too. It is also responsible for our breezy north winds today. The cold front that brought in the colder weather has now pushed off the East Coast. The cold weather in place will be short-lived. As the high pressure pushes off to the east by late Sunday and will allow for warmer and more moist air to move back in.

In the Northeast today, the lake effect snow machine is piling up the snow on the south side of lakes Ontario and Erie. Conditions should begin to improve overnight and snow fall rates will begin to tamper off. Our next cold front and storm system is beginning to take shape in the Northern Plains. This front will continue to work south and east over the next few days and will likely cause some showers and thunderstorms across the Southeast Monday and into Tuesday. After that we can expect to return to cooler, drier conditions before our next storm system that could be in here for next weekend.