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Archive for December 11th, 2012

Just How Cold Was It Today?

| 9:47 pm December 11, 2012

As we’ve been telling you for the last week or so, some mighty cold air came into Alabama late Monday and today. I recall noting that my forecast high of 50 for today might be somewhat optimistic. And it sure was. The graphic below shows the high temperatures for today, Tuesday, December 11th, for North and Central Alabama.

Highs for Dec112012

Just to put today’s highs in perspective, the 30-year average high for December 11th based on temperatures at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport is 57 while the average low is 37. Birmingham started out the day at 36, but as you can see from the high for the day, the mercury only traveled up about 5 degrees. And Cullman didn’t even make it out of the 30s!

Another interesting fact for cold weather fans – today’s high of 41 is the third coldest high for 2012. Only January 3rd and 13th recorded colder highs than today, 38 and 40, respectively. Rounding out the five coldest highs for 2012 were 42 on February 12th and 43 on February 11th.

With more sunshine expected tomorrow, we should see the high in Birmingham climb to about 54, still below the 30-year average, but much warmer than the 41 today.

-Brian-

Chill In The Air

| 2:36 pm December 11, 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.

RAW, COLD DAY: Clouds have been hanging tough over much of Alabama today, keeping temperatures in the 38-43 degree range at mid-afternoon. Quite a slap in the face after the mild weather we enjoyed last week. Even down at Gulf Shores our SKYCAM is showing a chilly 48 degrees at 2:30.

The big upper trough west of the state will pass through tonight and early tomorrow, and that should bring rain to parts of the Gulf Coast, including places like Pensacola and Panama City, and up into Southeast Alabama around Dothan. We stay dry up here, but the clouds will stick around tonight and early tomorrow.

The sky becomes partly sunny during the day tomorrow, and we warm up a bit with a high in the mid 50s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days will be dry with a slow warm-up. We reach the upper 50s Thursday, and Friday’s high will be close to 60 with a good supply of sunshine both days.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture levels will rise in response to a storm system forming over the nation’s mid-section. The 12Z GFS is a little more aggressive with the development of showers during the day Saturday; looks like we will need to mention some risk of rain at times Saturday through Sunday morning; rain amounts still look light with less than 1/2 inch for most places. The high over the weekend will be in the low 60s both days.

NEXT WEEK: Both the GFS and the ECMWF are on board with a major cold core upper low swinging over Alabama Tuesday. We all know strange things can happen under a cold core; dynamic cooling can bring snow flakes when you don’t expect them. Low level thickness values here suggest just some cold rain at times for this part of Alabama Tuesday; any snow most likely would come over Tennessee. So, while things could change, for now it just doesn’t look like a snow look for Alabama on Tuesday.

VOODOO LAND FUN: Snow lovers tend to watch every model run this time of the year, going over the data with a fine toothed comb looking for the magical freezing line at 850 mb, and the 5400 meter 1000-500 mb thickness line (which can represent lines where it is “cold enough to snow”). The 12Z GFS shows a good snow look for North Alabama on December 22, followed by very cold air on through Christmas Day. Nothing but pure speculation for now… see the Weather Xtreme for the maps 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. Scroll down for the show notes on this week’s new episode we recorded last night. Great to have Kevin Laws of the Birmingham NWS on with us.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Cold Air Settles Into Alabama

| 6:02 am December 11, 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.

CHILLY DAY: We are projecting a high of only 48 degrees today; if that verifies it will be our lowest maximum temperature since February 12 of this year when the high was 42. Keep in mind the cold air is shallow, and in the higher levels we still have a southwest flow aloft with a long wave upper trough axis still to the west. Clouds should thicken around here later today and tonight as the trough approaches, but no rain is expected over this part of the state.

TOMORROW: Rain will develop along the Gulf coast tonight and tomorrow; wet weather is likely for places like Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, Dothan, and Ozark, but we stay dry. Clouds tomorrow morning will give way to a partly sunny afternoon; we start the day near freezing, and the high will be in the middle 50s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Expect a slow warming trend with a good supply of sunshine both days; we will reach the upper 50s Thursday, and a 60 degree high is likely Friday. Mornings will stay cold with lows in the low to mid 30s.

WEEKEND SHOWERS: The next weather system will bring some risk of rain to Alabama over the weekend. The latest GFS in hand suggests the main window for showers here will come from about 9:00 p.m. Saturday to 12:00 noon Sunday. And, with only limited moisture, rain should be on the light side with amounts generally 1/4 inch or less. The high will be near 60 degrees both days.

NEXT WEEK: The surface front is expected to stall somewhere over South Alabama Sunday night, and the GFS keeps showers going on Monday over the southern third of Alabama, while Monday looks cool and dry up our way with a high in the low 50s.

Snow lovers are already talking about the GFS output for Tuesday (December 18, a week from today); the past two runs have shown a deep, cold core upper low over North Alabama with potential for some light rain over the northern half of the state. The very low 1000-500 mb thickness values (below 5400 meters) are certainly attention getting, but that is mainly the result of very cold air aloft, and not really cold air at the surface. But still, under a 500 mb cold core like that (-25 to -30 C), you sure can have some snow, even if surface temperatures are 40 (F) or warmer.

No way we can resolve the issue this far in advance; we will just mention a cold day Tuesday with some risk of rain, and we will fine tune the forecast as the event gets closer.

CHRISTMAS WEATHER: Global models continue to show a pretty chilly look for Alabama around Christmas Day, but no way of knowing now how cold, or the exact timing of the cold air shots. 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. Scroll down for the show notes on this week’s new episode we recorded last night.

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

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon…. enjoy the day…

WeatherBrains 359: I Took Off My Pants

| 4:55 am December 11, 2012

WeatherBrains Episode 359 is now online (December 10, 2012). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Bruce Thomas, Vice President, Midland RadioBruce Thomas is live tonight with Bill Murray and Bruce is tonight’s Guest Panelist. Bruce is a WeatherBrains Alum, having appeared several times. He is a Vice President at Midland Radio and is known in most circles as Mr. WeatherRadio. Bruce is also the President Elect of the National Weather Association.

Kevin Laws, SOO, WFO Birmingham, ALJoining us tonight as our Guest WeatherBrain is Kevin Laws. Kevin is the Science and Operations Officer (SOO), at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Birmingham.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes today: 87 at Fort Pierce and Punta Gorda, FL, and -24 at Alamosa, CO
  • Marginal severe weather across the Gulf Coast
  • and more!

Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: We’re nearing the start of winter, so it is time for forecasters to start thinking about compensating for snow in making temperature forecasts. So this week the 101 segment looks at what snow cover can do to a temperature forecast.

TWIWH: Bill Murray takes a week off from TWIWH.

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 359:

NWS Birmingham, AL

Spotter Training and Dual Pol Presentation by Kevin Laws

Charles Wax information

Picks of the Week:

Nate Johnson – Cliff Mass Weather Blog – Rebuilding the National Weather Service

Kevin Laws – Twister Data

Bill Murray – Kevin Laws’ Polygonology

Brian Peters – Gets the Fog Horn!

Kevin Selle – EdgeRank for News People

James Spann – Edgewater, FL, tornado, Dec. 10, 2012

JP Spann – Joins Brian in getting the Horn! His Dad stole his pick!

Bruce Thomas – Gets the Horn, too. (Midland Weather Radio)

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

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