Here is my list of the top Alabama weather events of 2012.
10. Construction Started on National Water Center; Construction began on February 21st on the new National Water Center on the campus of the University of Alabama. The facility will house staff from several Federal agencies involved in water services. It is scheduled to be completed by the middle of this year.
9. April 5 Hail Event: A cold core upper low triggered two rounds of severe thunderstorms across Central Alabama that resulted in around 30 reports of large hail to the size of golf balls. There also several reports of high winds.
8. Dual Pol Upgrade: The NWS radar in Birmingham was upgraded to Dual Pol capability in February. This upgrade immediately started providing forecasters at BMX with very helpful radar data, especially in tornado detection, precipitation type identification and rainfall estimation.
7. Farmers Market Tornado: An unwarned EF1 tornado touched down in northwestern Birmingham during the early morning hours of December 10th. The tornado occurred from low-topped convection. Doppler radar gave little indication of rotation in advance of the touchdown, although Dual Pol data did indicate debris in the atmosphere as soon as it did.
6. Dual Pol Nabs Coosa County Tornado: a tornado debris signature in Dual Pol radar data allowed National Weather Service meteorologists to immediately spot a small tornado that touched down early on October 1st in southern Coosa County.
5. May/JuneFlooding Around Mobile Bay: A slow moving upper level disturbance and a deep plume of tropical moisture led to impressive rainfall totals around Mobile Bay on the 2nd, with nearly a foot falling near Daphne. 6.91 inches fell at the Mobile Airport. The same system brought some much lighter but still beneficial rains to Central Alabama on the 3rd. The Pensacola and Mobile areas were hard hit by heavy rains that caused severe flooding on June 9th. Pensacola picked up an amazing 13.11 inches of rain, nearly surpassing their all time daily record, 15.29 inches set in 1934. Shelters had to be pressed into service in the Pensacola area.
4. After the worst month for tornadoes in Alabama history the previous April, Alabama experienced zero tornadoes in April 2012. The respite was very welcome for the tornado weary state. The last tornado free April in Alabama occurred in 2004. A warm and dry pattern and a storm track shoved far to the north produced the tranquil month, typically the worst severe weather month. There were 35 tornadoes in the year in the state, very close to the long term average (2002-11) of 38.
3. March 2 Tornadoes: At the beginning of the big March 2d outbreak, morning supercells spawned six tornadoes across Limestone and Madison Counties in North Alabama, including one that followed a similar path to one of the deadliest tornadoes on April 27, 2011. In the Huntsville area, two tornadoes, including an EF2 and an EF1, damaged or destroyed 200 homes, a maximum security state prison and a high school.
2. December Tornadoes: Two tornadoes struck the City of Mobile just five days apart on December 20th and 25th. The most headlined tornado was the EF2 that moved across the City of Mobile on Christmas Day, passing between downtown and Prichard. It followed just five days after an early morning EF1 tornado cut a 7-mile path from Airport Blvd and I-65 to Prichard on 12/20. The Christmas Day tornado followed a very similar path just a couple of miles east of the first one. The second tornado was on the ground for 5.7 miles and had winds of 111-135 mph. Its maximum path width was 200 yards. There were several minor injuries, but no fatalities.
1. Center Point Tornado. On January 23, a supercell thunderstorm produced two tornadoes across Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties. One person was killed in the Oak Grove community of western Jefferson County and another in the Clay community of northeastern Jefferson County. A total of one hundred people were injured. The western Jefferson County tornado was rated an EF2 and the northeastern Jefferson tornado was rated as an EF3.
Please comment on this list and feel free to debate any that I left off.