Archive for December, 2012

New Year’s Day Soaker

| December 31, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

**We are on a holiday schedule… just one Weather Xtreme video per day through tomorrow**

SO LONG 2012: Looking back at the year, Birmingham’s hottest temperature was 104 on July 1; coldest was 20 on February 12. On this last day of the year, clouds have thickened, and rain is on the way.

TWO WET PERIODS THIS WEEK: The first will come from around midnight tonight through 9 p.m. tomorrow. During this 21 hour stretch rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch are likely; there might be a rumble of thunder over South Alabama, but the air around here will be cool and stable and there is no chance of severe weather. Just wet.

The next rain event will come Wednesday night… from about 6:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. Thursday. This should be a light rain for us, with amounts generally under 1/2 inch. Some communities north of I-59 won’t get any rain as the better dynamic lift will be to the south. We should also mention there could be a few ice pellets (sleet) on the northern periphery of this precipitation Wednesday night, but temperatures will be above freezing and there won’t be any winter weather problems.

The weather will be pretty chilly this week; we reach the low to mid 50s tomorrow, but I am not sure we get out of the 40s Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And, morning lows will drop well down in the 20s early Friday and Saturday morning. We will probably hear of some lows in the teens early Saturday across the colder pockets of North Alabama.

WEEKEND PEEK: A disturbance will bring some clouds into the state this weekend, and maybe even a few sprinkles Saturday night, but the low levels look very dry and for now we will leave the forecast dry. The high should be in the low 50s both days, right at seasonal averages for early January in Alabama.

See the morning Weather Xtreme video for long range thoughts and ideas.

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. Scroll down for the show notes for our last episode of 2012, that was produced last night.

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

Google Plus

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by mid-morning tomorrow… Happy New Year!

Cool, Wet Weather To Start The New Year

| December 31, 2012 @ 6:12 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.

First off thanks to Brian Peters, Bill Murray, J.B. Elliott, and the rest of the gang for allowing me a little down time last week. Wasn’t as long as expected due to the Christmas Day severe weather outbreak, but it was a nice break and appreciated.

RAIN ON THE WAY: Clouds will thicken across Alabama today ahead of a storm system that will bring rain to the state late tonight and tomorrow. While there might be a rumble of thunder over South Alabama tomorrow, the air will be cool and stable, and there is no chance of severe weather. Just a rainy day to start 2013. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 3/4 inch are likely before the rain tapers off tomorrow night.

REST OF THE WEEK: Winds aloft will remain out of the southwest, and the next impulse will bring more rain to Alabama late Wednesday, Wednesday night, and early Thursday. The best chance of rain with this feature will come along and south of I-59, with rain totals around here generally on the light side. The best chance of rain will come from about 9pm Wednesday through 6am Thursday. Again, no threat of severe weather and not cold enough for any winter weather issues. Not sure we see any sunshine Thursday, but we will finally get clearing by Thursday night.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Cold and dry weather is the story. We won’t get out of the 40s Friday despite a sunny sky, and temperatures will drop well down into the 20s by daybreak Saturday. The weekend will feature a good supply of sunshine Saturday and Sunday, but temperatures will remain chilly; we will have a hard time moving past 50 degrees both days.

THE LAND OF VOODOO: Snow fans are wanting to know if they have a shot at seeing flakes flying somewhere in Alabama anytime soon. Remember, Alabama is a low latitude state, and snow is NOT a “normal” thing here. And, for now, modeling does not offer any winter weather threats for Alabama through mid-January. We usually have one or two decent snow threats per winter, and most of them tend to come in January, February, or the first week or two or March. I fully expect a decent threat or two this season, but again, no sign of it in the short term. See the Weather Xtreme video for 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 produced this week’s show last night; scroll down for the show notes.

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

Google Plus

We are still on a holiday schedule, so there will be just one Weather Xtreme video today and tomorrow; we get back to the “two a day” schedule Wednesday. Enjoy the day and Happy New Year!

WeatherBrains 362: Mute When I Sniff

| December 31, 2012 @ 5:00 am

WeatherBrains Episode 362 is now online (December 31, 2012). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

The WeatherBrains crew spends time looking back at the biggest weather stories of 2012 in our annual year ender.

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.

Picks of the Week:

JB Elliott – Gets the horn!

Nate Johnson – Death Valley temperature record restored

Bill Murray – Future pick with final results from the 2012 weather event poll (TBA)

Kevin Selle – Following The Big Trends – Essay By Terry Heaton

James Spann – WeatherBrains Google Plus Community

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

Help Us Rank the Top U.S. Weather Events of 2012

| December 30, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

Tonight on WeatherBrains, we will discuss  the top weather events of 2012 in the United States.

Please give us your input by ranking them.

We will share the results later.

Another Cold Day

| December 30, 2012 @ 7:14 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.

It is going to be another chilly day across Central Alabama. With the return of full sunshine, perhaps it won’t feel quite as cold, but the afternoon high is expected to reach only into the middle 40s. The average daily high for late December is 54.

The next weather system begins to take shape on Monday as a substantial trough develops across the Southwest US. That trough sets up a southwesterly flow pattern across the Southeast US with various pieces of that trough ejecting out across the US. This should bring a cold front into the region on New Years Day starting 2013 out on a wet note. Clouds will be increasing on Monday as moisture returns to the area. It looks like the rain will push south of Central Alabama on Wednesday, but there remains some uncertainty in the actual position of the frontal boundary when it stalls. The GFS and European are in fairly good agreement on giving us a dry day on Wednesday before the rain returns on Thursday. Should the frontal boundary stall out a tad further north, we might still see showers on Wednesday.

The trough axis finally shifts through the Southeast US on Friday bringing an end to the rain. Throughout all of this our temperatures remain at or slightly below seasonal values with highs in the 50s and lows generally in the 40s.

The strong southwesterly flow aloft will bring plenty of moisture to the area from the Pacific. Rainfall could be heavy at times on the first of January. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are likely for Central Alabama while southern Louisiana may see rainfall amounts of 3 to 3.5 inches. It does appear that we will end 2012 with a deficit in the rain department. That deficit varies a little across Central Alabama but stands slightly above 4 inches for Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston.

By a week from today, another trough with a closed low drops into the Southwest US. This one is forecast to eject eastward around the 12th bringing another round of wet weather to the Southeast and a snow storm to the Central US. Ridging returns around the 14th, but I do note an absence of the broad long wave trough that we saw yesterday. So the voodoo progs have flipped on us again! What else do you expect from voodoo country! But the trend still remains that we will see a continuation of an active weather pattern.

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)

Thanks for staying tuned to the Weather Xtreme Video. James Spann will be back Monday all fresh and ready for 2013. You can catch my forecast on ABC 3340 at 5 and 10 pm this evening. Have a wonderful day and Godspeed.


Cold Night Tonight

| December 29, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

With clearing skies by this evening, continued Northwest flow across snow to the Northwest of Alabama, and winds going light, tonight looks to be bitterly cold across Alabama and the Southeast. Locations all the way to the Gulf Coast could be below freezing with some locations getting into the upper 20s across Southern Alabama. Back closer to home, widespread 20s will be the norm in Central Alabama and most locations will be in the lower-to-mid 20s at that. Below are the GFS and NAM models forecast for Sunday morning’s expected lows. The GFS is a bit colder with widespread lower 20s in North and Northeast Alabama, with some teens knocking on the state door. I would not be surprised to see some of the colder locationa cross that part of Alabama to have some readings in the morning in the upper teens. Twenties are expected into Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

12-29-2012 12-20-09 PM

The NAM shows twenties widespread and reaching into the coastal counties as well. Both models show the colder air associated with the snow cover off to the northwest of Alabama. Colder air from Arkansas into Indiana. No matter which model you want to go with, they both say it is going to be a bitterly cold night across the region with everyone experiencing a hard freeze by tomorrow morning.

12-29-2012 12-22-24 PM

U.S. Snow Cover Changes

| December 29, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

Still no snow cover in Alabama, just the tease of flurries earlier in the week. Snow cover from this time last week til today has changed as Christmas Day and the day after saw a lot of snow dumped from Oklahoma, across Arkansas into the Great Lakes. Portions of Arkansas received over a foot of snow this last week. The first image is from my post last week, showing the snow cover across the country. This time last week there was a lack of snow in places across the Inner-Mountain West and portions of the Plains. Things have obviously changed as we have seen two systems in the past week put down some high snow totals.

12-22-2012 1-27-43 PM

This image is the snow coverage this week. Out West many locations have been filled in and you can see the swath of snow from Oklahoma up into the Great Lakes. Many area closer to the coast in the Northeast have seen their locations covered in the white stuff and it will continue to pile up as a storm system will be dropping up to a foot of snow in Southern New England today and into tonight. Always fascinating to see how the snow coverage changes through out the winter season as well as anytime there is a storm system tracking across the country and seeing how it affects the coverage.

12-29-2012 11-43-46 AM

A Raw Winter’s Day

| December 29, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

A lot of reports especially across North Alabama of various types of wintry precip falling but no accumulations. Some snow flakes across the Tennessee Valley and areas from Fayette to Jasper to Haleyville, even have some reports of ice pellets from Cullman to Oneonta as some wrap around moisture continues to interact with cold temperatures across Alabama.  A cloudy, cold and dreary day across much of Alabama for you on this Saturday. A quick look at the visible satellite image shows the clouds hanging tough across most of Alabama. A few breaks in the clouds in the southwestern portions of the state around Mobile, Washington and Baldwin Counties. Clouds are keeping temperature from rising today and once they move out by later this evening, the clear skies will allow for temperatures to fall into the 20s overnight.
12-29-2012 11-48-40 AM

Looking at the surface weather chart for this afternoon and evening, the system that brought the rain to us overnight is moving up the East Coast where it will be dumping a lot of snow across New England and even given the big cities along the coast several inches of the white stuff. It is quite the mess along the Eastern Seaboard today. The cold front that has brought out reinforcing shot of cold air is sliding off the coast of the Carolinas this afternoon. High pressure settling in across the Red River Valley is providing northwest flow into the Southeast and continues to bring colder air in tonight and for the next day or so. The air is not modifying much, because it is blowing across a pretty large snow pact off to the northwest of Alabama. Conditions should improve for tomorrow, as the sun is expected to make a return, but it will be a cold day across the Southeast.
12-29-2012 11-51-13 AM

Chilly for the End of 2012

| December 29, 2012 @ 7:06 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.

No, the title does not project the end of the world, just the end of another year! Wow, hard to believe we’re about to put another year behind us. And what a year it was, too.

Clouds are expected to hand tough today as the trough axis aloft finally swings by. Because we have a little leftover moisture, a few snow flurries may get squeezed out of the atmosphere as the trough axis comes by. But these situations do not produce any significant snowfall events.

We should clear out and with the wind diminishing, Sunday morning is going to be a cold one with a low in the lower 20s. That means some of those colder locations will dip into the teens. We begin a slow warmup on Monday as a new system begins to take shape. Monday should be a day of increasing clouds with rain chances increasing in the afternoon and rain likely into the overnight hours and New Years Day. It’s likely that you will need an umbrella on January 1st as a wet day is in store for Central Alabama.

The wet weather should be slow to move out due to the upper flow which stays southwesterly. This means we need to keep a chance of rain into January 2nd but it looks like the boundary should sag far enough southward on the 3rd to end the rain chances.

Another substantial trough is forecast to move into the Lower Mississippi River Valley on Friday and across our area on Saturday, but the atmosphere is likely to be dry. This brings us another shot of cold air but for now it looks like no precipitation.

Rainfall with the New Years Day event is likely to bring about an inch of rain to most areas. Since we will be ending 2012 with a deficit in the rain totals, that will be a nice start to 2013. No specific area for severe weather threat from SPC, but they do have a marginal area of concern over the Florida Peninsula.

Voodoo is looking interesting. We stay very active with a strong system around the 8th and then a change to a broad long wave trough over the Mississippi River Valley which has a very cold look to it. But the models have a tendency to shift around that far out, so we’ll see what the next runs tell 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 Charles Daniel Ashley Brand
J. B. Elliott Bill Murray Brian Peters
E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

The next Weather Xtreme Video should be posted Sunday morning by 9 am or so. You can catch my forecast on ABC 3340 at 6 and 10 pm this evening. I hope you have a good day today. Wrap up against the cold. Godspeed.


Birmingham Weather Radio Dead

| December 28, 2012 @ 10:42 am

Just a heads up to anyone who has a new NOAA Weather Radio or even those who have had a NOAA Weather Radio for some time! The weather radio serving Birmingham on a frequency of 162.550 megahertz is down and there is probably going to be an extended outage. Technicians working on the problem believe that some sort of failure has occurred in the antenna, so it is going to be a big job to get this repaired.

I spoke with Jim Stefkovich at the NWS office around 10:30 am, and he said the outage is likely to continue through the weekend.

Potential backup signals for the NOAA Weather Radio transmitter in Birmingham include:

Tuscaloosa – broadcasting on a frequency of 162.400 MHz
Oneonta – broadcasting on a frequency of 162.425 MHz
Anniston – broadcasting on a frequency of 162.475 MHz.

Keep in mind that not all backup transmitters will tone for your specific county, so please stay weather aware during the outage. If you have any questions about which transmitter you should be listening to, you can visit the NOAA Weather Radio website at

It’s very important that any new listeners to NOAA Weather Radio who may have received a weather radio as a Christmas give realize that their receivers are not broken.