Archive for December 10th, 2012

Facebook: Not A Good Severe Weather Platform

| December 10, 2012 @ 9:25 am

Yep, I know… the world lives on Facebook, and I spend long hours there pushing weather information. But, quite frankly, it is a horrible way of disseminating severe weather information. Here is why…

*FACEBOOK “LIKE PAGE”: I am honored to have over 107,000 people “liking me”. I don’t think more than 5 people “liked me” in high school. You can find the “like page” here.

For a few years, I posted all Alabama severe weather warnings here, with the idea that over 100,000 people would be seeing them. After some investigation, I learned only a FRACTION of those people actually saw the warnings in their news feed. It is just the way Facebook works; 10 to 15 percent see it, and that is all. I can pay Facebook some cash to get that figure up a bit, but even then most still will never see the warnings. I started getting this message recently…

Unacceptable for a reliable severe weather warning platform, needless to say. I am all for Facebook making money, but my job is getting severe weather warnings to people, and this is a disaster.

*FACEBOOK REGULAR ACCOUNT: In an effort to work around this, I have encouraged the 107,000 people on the like page to come over and subscribe to my regular account. Of course, I only reach a fraction of the 107,000 people when I ask them to do this. And, the process is very confusing.

So far, over 67,000 have come over and subscribed…

First off, most come over and try the “friend request”. They are told I have “too many friends” since the Facebook limit is 5,000. You have to “subscribe”, which is almost impossible to do on a phone or tablet, which is how much people access Facebook. You really need to be on a computer to do this. And, then, to be sure you get the warnings, you have to opt in and go through a series of hoops to be sure all of my posts show up in your newsfeed.

TWITTER: If you want to use social media to get warnings, Twitter is the most reliable and widely used platform for now. You can get all Alabama warnings on our @ewarn account, and I put most warnings on my personal account as well… @spann.

GOOGLE PLUS: Honestly, this is the best platform for severe weather… we just have to get more people over there. Google’s social network is reliable, fast, and made for mass distribution of weather information like severe weather warnings. You can find my personal account here…. come over and join us. Their mobile apps are second to none.

But, yes, I know most won’t get away from Facebook for now, but please don’t make that your exclusive way of getting severe weather warnings….

Tornado Watch until 3PM CST

| December 10, 2012 @ 9:07 am

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Tornado Watch has been issued for Sumter, Greeene, Hale, Perry, Chilton, Autuaga, Lowndes, Dallas and Marengo Counties until 3 PM local time. A strong storm system continues to swing a cold front through the Southeast. Along and out ahead of the front strong a locally severe thunderstorms are occurring. The greatest threat from these storms will be damaging winds, but an isolated tornado or two can not be rules out. Conditions are favorable for some tornadoes and that is the reason this watch has been issued.

Some of the larger cities in this watch include: Demopolis, Livingston, Eutaw, Clanton, Selma, Uniontown, Linden, Prattville, Marion and Moundville.

 

 

 

Severe Thunderstorm Warning : Greene/Hale/Sumter Counties

| December 10, 2012 @ 8:18 am

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The Severe Thunderstorm producing damaging winds will be pushing out of Sumter County soon and will be moving across Southern Greene and Hale Counties. The worst part of the storm looks as though it will stay just south of Interstate 20/59. This storm will stay just north of downtown Demopolis, but everyone between Eutaw and Greensboro need to be prepared and taking action now.

 

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
SOUTHERN GREENE COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…
WEST CENTRAL HALE COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…
EAST CENTRAL SUMTER COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 845 AM CST

* AT 818 AM CST…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60
MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR TISHABEE…OR 8 MILES EAST OF
LIVINGSTON…AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
TISHABEE…THORNHILL…FORKLAND…WALDEN QUARTERS…DUFFYS BEND…
SAWYERVILLE…WEDGEWORTH AND EVANSVILLE.

WINDS OF 60 TO 70 MPH WILL BREAK LARGE TREE LIMBS AND CAUSE SOME
DAMAGE…ESPECIALLY TO SMALLER STRUCTURES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

THIS STORM HAS EXHIBITED SOME WEAK ROTATION. TORNADOES CAN DEVELOP
QUICKLY FROM SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. ALTHOUGH ONE IS NOT IMMEDIATELY
LIKELY…IF A TORNADO IS SPOTTED…ACT QUICKLY AND MOVE TO A PLACE OF
SAFETY INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE…SUCH AS A BASEMENT OR SMALL
INTERIOR ROOM.

 



A Nice Soaking Rain

| December 10, 2012 @ 8:12 am

Moderate to heavy rains continue to fall across much of North Central Alabama. Most areas have escaped the severe weather today as the large rain shield has settled in across the area. We will have to continue to watch areas from Birmingham south as there is the chance for some severe weather especially with the front moving in. Severe thunderstorms are ongoing in Southern Mississippi and Louisiana and these storms are expected to move across some of our southern counties. Many areas of Central Alabama are receiving some much needed and beneficial rains. Rain has ended back in Northern Mississippi and the drier air behind the front will be moving in later today. Once the front passes by, expect temperatures to fall rapidly throughout the rest of day.

 

Rain/Storms Moving South

| December 10, 2012 @ 8:08 am

No severe weather in Alabama for now; stronger storms are south of Tuscaloosa in West-Central Alabama. A tornado watch is in effect for parts of South MS and Southeast LA this morning, but up this way the risk of severe weather is marginal for the rest of the morning, and mainly south of a line from Livingston to Greensboro to Heflin.

Much colder air will follow the rain; North Alabama will drop into the 40s this afternoon. Scroll down for a full discussion and see the morning Weather Xtreme video…

Cold Shot Moving Into Alabama

| December 10, 2012 @ 6:31 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.

NORTH BIRMINGHAM DAMAGE: Sure looks like a small, quick hitting spin up tornado has touched down in North Birmingham around Finley Avenue around 4:45 this morning.

These are scanner reports from Dave Echols and John Talbot…

“Birmingham Fire/Police Update: Command post at Old Finley/11th Pl North. Several houses with moderate damage, 3 confirmed houses with severe damage, 1 commercial structure with damage and a lot of debris throughout the area. Business “Motion Industries” in North Bham, roof blown off the structure. Farmers Market – 116 Finley Ave. Roof appears collapsed, significant damage to the buildings on that property. Several “Roll Down” doors damaged.Searching the area. EMA has been requested.”

The good news is that there were no injuries.

I have written this probably one thousand times here… “when it comes to thunderstorms, expect the unexpected.” There was no warning in effect when this damage happened, and we simply do not have enough skill to consistently warn for a small tornado along a squall line that lasts for a minute or two. Might happen one day in the years to come, but it will take a while. We have much work to do on micro scale events like this.

Below is a radar capture from @ariweather that shows a possible debris signature at 4:47 a.m…

STORMS MOVING OUT: That North Birmingham incident is the only severe weather report in the entire state, and no additional severe weather is expected as the storms move out later this morning. Rain will end from northwest to southeast later this morning, and much colder air will blow in.

TEMPS GOING THE WRONG WAY: Birmingham reports 61 degrees with rain at 6:00… that will be as warm as it gets for the rest of the day. We project temperatures falling into the 40s this afternoon over North Alabama with a chilly north wind. We will be very close to freezing early tomorrow morning as the cold air takes over.

TOMORROW: The day will be cold and dry, but the cold air is shallow, and we will still have a southwest flow aloft. This means clouds could linger; for now we will mention a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the upper 40s.

WEDNESDAY: The upper trough will pass through. Some rain is likely over the far southeast corner of Alabama around Dothan, but up this way the air will remain cool and dry, and the day should be partly sunny with a high in the low 50s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days will be cool and dry with a good supply of sunshine. Another freeze is likely Thursday morning; the high Thursday should be in the mid 50s, and close to 60 by Friday.

WEEKEND PEEK: Another weather system should bring a chance of showers and storms to Alabama late Saturday, Saturday night, and possibly into Sunday. For now the severe weather threat looks minimal, and rain amounts of about 1/2 inch are likely. The high over the weekend will be close to 60 degrees.

LONG RANGE: Generally speaking, the latter half of December will be colder than the first week of the month for sure, but overall the weather will be changeable, and trying to time out the specific rain events and cold air shots is almost impossible. See the Weather Xtreme video for the latest ideas and graphics.

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. CST… you can watch here.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… and we will have updates through the morning as the rain moves out and the cold air moves in…

North Birmingham Damage

| December 10, 2012 @ 5:29 am

From John Talbot, ABC 33/40 Skywatcher and scanner expert…

Birmingham Fire/Police Update: Command post at Old Finley/11th Pl North. Several houses with moderate damage, 3 confirmed houses with severe damage, 1 commercial structure with damage and a lot of debris throughout the area. Business “Motion Industries” in North Bham, roof blown off the structure. Searching the area. EMA has been requested.

There was no warning at the time… NWS going through radar data now to see if this could have been a small, quick spin-up tornado within the squall line.

Severe Weather Risk Remains Low

| December 10, 2012 @ 4:33 am

I am working on the Weather Xtreme video and full morning discussion, but here is a quick peek at radar shortly before 4:30 this morning…

Storms are well below severe limits, and I really don’t expect any issues as they head east. Temperatures will fall into the 40s following the storms… more details soon…

FIrst Alabama Warning

| December 10, 2012 @ 4:01 am

The NWS Huntsville has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Madison, Jackson and Marshal Counties in North Alabama. Storm between Owens Crossroads and Gurley will move east in general direction of Scottsboro.

In the Birmingham area, our line of storms extends from east of Jasper to near Tuscaloosa at this hour. This activity will be moving into western Jefferson county in the next 30 minutes.

To the far southwest, the NWS Jackson has issued a tornado warning for Franklin County in southwestern Mississippi. This activity is ahead of the main cold front and we will be watching to see if it develops more to the north and northeast through the morning hours.

Much of the northern two thirds of Alabama is included in the Day One slight risk outlook from the SPC today.

3:30 a.m. Update

| December 10, 2012 @ 3:34 am

That little mesoscale vortex that we have been tracking all the way from Central Louisiana tonight is in the Huntsville area now.

It is kicking up quite a little fuss, with a good bit of lightning, but nothing severe. Winds gusted to 37 mph at Decatur, and the pressure was rising rapidly after its passage.

Trailing the vortex, a thin line of showers and storms extends across Winston, western Walker, Fayette, Tuscaloosa, southern Pickens and northern Sumter Counties.

There are some stronger storms moving into Sumter County, where instability is better.

Ahead of the line, there was a decent cell in southwestern Blount County.

Still nothing severe or threatening to be severe at this hour.

Look at the cold air behind the front, which is near Memphis at this hour. 61F at Greenville MS while it is 28F at Harrison AR!

It remains to be seen whether severe weather will be able to develop this morning across the area with the front still to pull through. The best chances will come late this morning as strong upper level winds punch into the area and the low lifts out to the northeast. While instability is expected to be low, the strong winds aloft could result in damaging winds. Can’t rule out an isolated small tornado as well, but the threat is low.

1:45 a.m. Update

| December 10, 2012 @ 1:47 am

The National Weather Service in Jackson just canceled the only severe thunderstorm warning that was still in effect across their area, state, in fact the country.

It was for Webster County, which is northwest of Starkville. The warning was for the apex of that MCV storm complex that developed over Central Louisiana last evening and has been moving northeast ever since.

Just before 1:30, the line of storms was approaching Tupelo and Starkville, or about an hour west of Marion, Lamar and Pickens Counties in West Alabama. You can pick out a bit of an “S” signature in the radar echoes, which is indicative of the potential for damaging winds. There is a surface low there somewhere near Tupelo, which would concern us if there was more instability.

There was a report of trees down on Highway 17 in Carroll County MS about 12:08 a.m. This storm would prompt the Webster County warning.

But the lack of any Doppler data indicating damaging winds and the lack of reports of damage allowed the Weather Service to cancel the warning before it expired.

The storms will reach Jasper and Tuscaloosa by 3:30 and Cullman/Bessemer by 4:30. Birmingham should see them by 5 or so. This timing is a little faster than anticipated earlier.

The storms could still flare as they move into West Alabama, so we will be watching them closely. There is about 500 j/kg of CAPE over West Alabama that the storms will continue to be able to tap. And there are stronger winds aloft now moving into northwestern Mississippi which could help the storms intensify a bit through the early morning hours.

We will have updates as anything changes. 5