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If you stepped outside early this morning, you can personally confirm that February 17th was one of the coldest mornings of 2013. Because I’m writing this before sunrise, we’ll have to wait to see what the coldest value is at the Birmingham airport. The 6 am temperature was ??. In Helena, I dipped to 22 degrees at 6 am, and our good friend, Vic Bell, in Black Creek reported 14 degrees just before 6 am with a snow cover.
Thanks to a plentiful supply of sunshine today, we should recover nicely to around 50 degrees. Today will seem a lot warmer than yesterday in part because the wind will have died down with just a westerly flow at 5 to 10 mph. But the overall weather pattern remains very progressive with a continuous train of weather systems about every 2 to 3 days.
The next system blows in here on Monday night and into Tuesday morning as a trough digs into the eastern US. Monday should be primarily dry as the clouds increase and thicken up into the afternoon and evening. Showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms will occur Monday evening into Tuesday morning. The rain should depart much of Central Alabama by noon time as we see another cool down as the trough moves by returning the upper flow to the northwest. But the chill down is fairly short lived as a ridge builds into the Mississippi River Valley on Wednesday warming us back up again. The next system begins to take shape Wednesday over the Southwest US.
That trough moves very quickly into the Central US on Thursday and goes negatively tilted. This results in a Day 5 outlook for severe weather over the Lower Mississippi River Valley from northern Louisiana into extreme West Central Alabama. Once again instability is expected to be the greatest along the Gulf Coast, however, the strength of the trough along with strong jet dynamics suggest a squall line scenario for the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The GFS shows dew points climbing rapidly with 60-degree values reaching northern Mississippi. But because the overall pattern begins to de-amplify quickly, the severe weather threat should diminish as the bulk of the weather reaches Central Alabama early Friday.
With a ridge holding over Cuba, the flow over us goes southwesterly. This means that any frontal system that gets into the area Friday is likely to stick around for much of the weekend. This will keep our weather cloudy and perhaps wet depending on exactly how far south and east the front progresses. Greatest rain chances appears to be across South Alabama and the Gulf Coast area. We have to wait on the next system coming out of the southern Rockies on late Sunday and into Monday for another round of wet weather that should finally push things east of us.
Rainfall for the next five days should bring about 1 to 2 inches for much of Alabama with one system Monday night into Tuesday and the second one in the Thursday-Friday time frame.
Interesting long range look with another long wave trough setting up over the eastern US around the 2nd of March. The GFS paints some winter mischief for the Southeast US with another blast of cold air, but this scenario seems a little overdone with the moisture lingering too much and too long after the front goes by. But it is voodoo country, so we’ll have some fun speculating about a snow event for us.
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STORM ALERT 2013: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama continues through February. We will share lessons learned after the April 27, 2011, generational tornado event, along with some other amazing weather stories. Learn how to keep your family safe during severe weather plus you have a chance to win some cool prizes as well. The remaining Storm Alert tour date are…
February 21 Clanton – Jeff State Performing Arts Center
February 26 Ohatchee – Ohatchee High School
February 28 Clay – Clay/Chalkville High School
All shows begin at 6:30 pm with doors opening at 5:00 pm so get there early for a good seat.
Looks like the weather folks are going to keep busy over the next couple of weeks with a continuing train of weather systems to deal with. James Spann should be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing Monday morning. I hope you have a great Sunday and Godspeed.