Archive for November 25th, 2012

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.