Archive for January 1st, 2013

Top Alabama Weather Related Events of 2012

| January 1, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

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.

Cool, Wet New Years Day

| January 1, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

**We are on a holiday schedule, so just one Weather Xtreme video today… we get back to the regular “two a day” schedule tomorrow**

WET IS THE WORD: As forecast, it has been a long duration rain event for North-Central Alabama today…

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 2.42.13 PM

Our SKYCAM in downtown Birmingham reports 0.91″ at 3:15 this afternoon, so it looks like most places around here will wind up with about one inch of beneficial rain. The rain will taper off from northwest to southeast tonight.

REST OF THE WEEK: Clouds will hang tough during much of the day tomorrow with a high only in the upper 40s. Then, on Thursday, it looks like we have a crack at getting a few intervals of sunshine with a high around 50 degrees. The next impulse in the flow will bring a little light rain to far South Alabama tomorrow night into Thursday, but it sure looks that precipitation will remain well to the south of us.

Friday will be cool and dry, with ample sunshine and a high in the 47 to 50 degree range.

WEEKEND PEEK: A short wave could squeeze out a few sprinkles late Saturday night or Sunday, but the low levels are very dry and nothing really significant is expected for now. Highs over the weekend will be in the 52-55 degree range, right at seasonal averages for early January in Alabama.

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WEATHER: Looking good at this point; the weather in Miami next Monday (Jan 7) will be warm, as expected, with a high in the upper 70s.The sky will be partly sunny during the day, and there is only a small risk (10-20 percent) of a shower during the game that night. The kickoff temperature should be close to 72 degrees.

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.

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

U.S. 2012 Weather in Review

| January 1, 2013 @ 9:30 am

As we turn the page from 2012 to 2013, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the top ten weather events of 2012, as voted by the readers of AlabamaWX and the listeners at

Going from 10th to 1st:

10. A powerful derecho, which is a widespread damaging winds event, caused destruction from Illinois to Virginia on June 29th,  Power was knocked out to over three million homes and businesses.  A total of eighteen people were killed.

9. Heat, drought and fire dominated the headlines in 2012.  The country started off with its warmest January – March on record, with the national average temperature some 6F above normal.  Twenty five states east of the Rockies were warmer than normal during this period.  The summer was the third warmest on record, just 2/10ths of a degree cooler than the record setting Dust Bowl year of 1936.  Over eight million acres were burned by wildfires in June, July and August,, over twice the normal average for that period.

8. A line of severe storms moved through the lower Mississippi Valley on the night of the January 22nd and the early morning hours of January 23rd, producing 25 tornadoes in six states.  Two people died in Jefferson County, Alabama, less than a year after the second deadliest tornado outbreak in the state’s history killed 251 on April 27, 2011.

7.  A swarm of tornadoes affected the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex during the early afternoon of April 3rd.  News helicopters captured amazing video of the tornado lofting truck trailers into the air like toys.  Twenty tornadoes impacted the region that day, and amazingly, no one was seriously injured or killed.

6. Category one Hurricane Isaac moved into southeastern Louisiana on the evening of August 28th.  The storm dumped over 20 inches of rain on New Orleans and caused serious storm surge flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi, but the Crescent City was spared tidal inundation.  Seven people died in the U.S.

5. For the seventh consecutive year, the U.S. was spared a hit by a major hurricane.  The last category three or higher hurricane to hit the country was Wilma in 2005.  It was an active hurricane season, with nineteen named storms, ten hurricanes and one major hurricane (Michael).

4. Forty four tornadoes across seven states during the overnight of the 28th and the morning of the 29th in the Leap Day 2012 tornado outbreak.  One tornado hit Branson, Missouri.  Fifteen people died in the outbreak.

3. At least twenty four tornadoes touched down across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana on Christmas Day.  There had never been a tornado in Alabama on Christmas Day (since accurate records began to be maintained in 1950).  There was one EF3 tornado in Mississippi and a strong tornado struck areas northwest and north of Mobile.

2. The largest tornado outbreak of the year saw sixty eight tornadoes across eleven states from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio across Kentucky and south into Alabama.  A total of forty people were killed.

1. The storm that emergency managers in New York City feared finally happened as Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey coast on October 29th.  The category one hurricane, which wasn’t officially tropical by the classic definition, had storm surge impacts of a category three hurricane.  The New Jersey coast was heavily damaged,  and there was severe flooding in the New York City metro area.  Damage is estimated at over $65 billion, making it the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Rain Kicks Off The New Year

| January 1, 2013 @ 8:09 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.

SOAKER: A large mass of rain covers North-Central Alabama this morning as we welcome 2013. The rain is generally north of a line (at 8am) from York to Clanton to Roanoke; the rain area will move slowly south during the day. The air is cool and stable; no thunder, no lightning, no severe weather. Just good ole fashioned rain.

The rain will end from northwest to southeast tonight; rain amounts should be around one inch in most places.

REST OF THE WEEK: A southwest flow aloft will continue through Thursday, keeping clouds over Alabama with cool temperatures below. I doubt if we get out of the 40s tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday. Another wave in the flow will bring some light rain to the Gulf Coast region tomorrow night into Thursday morning, but all models now keep that rain mass well to the south of here, and I think we can pretty much drop the mention of significant rain for tomorrow night for this part of Alabama (I-59/20 corridors).

Subsidence will bring the sun back in full force on Friday, but the weather stays pretty chilly; we start the day in the 20s, and the high will be in the mid to upper 40s.

WEEKEND OUTLOOK: A fairly strong short wave will impact Alabama over the weekend, meaning the sky will be generally cloudy both days, but the low levels are dry and the chance of really meaningful precipitation looks fairly small. We might consider mentioning a few sprinkles or flurries Saturday night or Sunday, but measurable precipitation looks unlikely. Highs will be in the 47-51 degree range both days with only a very limited amount of sunshine.

The weather looks rain-free early next week with ample sunshine Monday and Tuesday with seasonal temperatures.

VOODOO COUNTRY: An interesting setup shows up on the 06Z GFS around January 12 with a very cold, 1041 mb high just north of the Great Salt Lake, and a disturbed southwest flow aloft here with lots of rain. Low level temperatures will be cold, with some hint of ice issues on the northern periphery of the precipitation. But, as you know, that feature will probably vanish on future runs. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps 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.

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

Google Plus

We are on a holiday schedule today, so just one Weather Xtreme video… back to the “two a days” tomorrow. Enjoy the day and stay dry!