Archive for March, 2013

Scattered Showers & Storms this Evening

| March 31, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

A check of the radar this evening shows most of Alabama remains rain free. Heavier storms have been to the south where there were a couple of severe thunderstorms warnings for Dallas and Lowndes Counties earlier this afternoon. More intense storms continue across some of our southern counties, even a couple of reports of small hail near Troy this evening, but luckily none of these storms are currently severe.

Across our part of the state some showers with a few rumbles of thunder stretch across our northern counties from Vernon and Sulligent in Lamar County, through Jasper, Cullman and to near Mentone. This activity will continue to move east through out the night and we could see a few more showers across the Birmingham Metro tonight. Not expecting severe weather and the rain should get out of here by the morning.

3-31-2013 7-35-08 PM

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Lowndes County til 5:15 p.m.

| March 31, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

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Quarter sized hail covering the ground at Collirene in Lowndes County. Completely covering the ground. The hail core will pass near Moss before 5 p.m. and near Haynesville shortly after 5. Be prepared for 2 inch hail!.

Our storm which has a high potential for large hail is entering Lowndes County now, and will pass near Haynesville and Lowndesboro after passing near or north of moss and Gordonville.







Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Dallas County til 4:45 p.m.

| March 31, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

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A severe thunderstorm has developed south of Selma. It is moving east northeast.

The main hail core, with hail to the size of quarters, will pass south of Sardis and Benton and towards Lowndesboro.

Here is the polygon that is the warning.







Disturbances in the Flow

| March 31, 2013 @ 1:38 pm


An update from the Weather Center at 1:35 p.m…

An area of moderate to heavy showers is pushing from west to east across West Central Alabama at this hour. The heaviest rain is across Tuscaloosa County, poised to push across the City of Tuscaloosa. I couldn’t find any lightning, but we can’t rule out an isolated stroke or two if the convection grows.

The activity is being fed a steady diet of slightly unstable air, so it will probably hold together.

The showers are associated with another disturbance in the upper flow across the area. Watching radar animations, you can see a subtle spin in the precipitation echoes.

Skies are mostly cloudy, but there are a few breaks in the clouds across the Black Belt counties, such as Hale, Marengo, Dallas and Perry. Sunshine is evident on the Skycam from Selma.

The sun was also trying to break out across North Central Alabama, around Jefferson, Blount and Cullman Counties. Temperatures are climbing through the lower 60s, heading toward highs in the middle and upper 60s generally.

Looking back to the west, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms continues pushing southeastward across Louisiana and into western Mississippi. It has been pushing southeast but appears to be turning more east in the upper flow. It may affect areas generally south of a line from Aliceville to Calera to Roanoke later.

Outside of this complex of storms, scattered storms will develop over North Central and North Alabama this afternoon and evening ahead of a cold front that will cross the area tonight.

Organized severe weather is not expected across North Central Alabama, but along and south of US-80, there may be enough instability for several severe thunderstorm warnings as the complex moves across the area. And we can’t rule out an isolated severe thunderstorm over the rest of the area this afternoon and evening if instability can fuel thunderstorm updrafts sufficiently.

Tuscaloosa had already picked up one half inch of rain (0.48″) through 1:30.

Showers, Some Thunder

| March 31, 2013 @ 10:28 am

3-31-2013 10-26-45 AM

An area of showers, heavy at times, has settled into a west to east orientation across Central Alabama from Pickens and Sumter County in the west into Shelby, Chilton and Autauga Counties over into Clay and Tallapoosa Counties in the east.

There is still some lightning in the western counties, especially near and southwest of Carrollton, but the activity has weakened substantially in the past couple of hours.

There are some moderate to heavy showers in the Tennessee Valley from Guntersville back to Decatur and then over much of eastern Lauderdale and Limestone counties.

Everything is moving east.

A complex and confusing surface pattern clutters the weather maps this morning across the southeastern quarter of the United States. A collection of surface low centers is over southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. A cold front trails back into the Dallas area. Ahead of the system, a warm front has pushed into Kentucky and is working against the wedge to get across the Smokies into North Carolina.

A QLCS (Quasi-linear convective system), a fancy name for a line of storms, is pushing across southern Arkansas and northeastern Texas into northwestern Louisiana at this hour. There is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect as well as several severe thunderstorm warnings at this hour. There was even a brief tornado warning in northeastern Texas. This activity will weaken and move across Louisiana into Central Mississippi. It should stay well to our southwest.

More storms will fire this afternoon across northern Mississippi ahead of the cold front and these storms will work into Alabama later. They won’t be severe. They should be east of I-65 by 9 p.m. and into Georgia by midnight.

A Wet Easter Sunday for Us

| March 31, 2013 @ 7:28 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.

It’s going to be a wet Easter Sunday across much of Alabama as a combination of upper level disturbances and a surface front bring showers and thunderstorms to the area.

As we noted yesterday, a series of upper level disturbances are passing the area. We had one yesterday afternoon and evening that brought about a quarter of an inch to most folks. This morning, two more disturbances are poised to affect us. One over Mississippi will bring an area of showers and thundershowers to much of the north and central portions of Alabama. We get a short break in the rain before the second disturbance now affecting Oklahoma and Missouri, moves across the area. It is this second disturbance that will finally push the front to our northwest through much of Alabama. With the front passing, we should see some sunshine and drier weather on Monday while temperatures change very little.

We will definitely be hearing some thunder today and tonight, however, I do not believe the conditions for organized severe weather is very high. A few storms could be strong, and SPC has outlined a risk of severe storms from South Central Mississippi westward into the Hill Country of Texas. Rainfall amounts are likely to be in the range of three quarters of an inch to a little over an inch. Because the rain comes in the form of showers and thunderstorms, I think the rainfall amounts could vary substantially with some spots getting about half an inch while others may get as much as one and a half inches. I do not expect flooding issues, however, rain may be heavy in spots so isolated flash flooding may be possible.

A second front without any precipitation should come in here on Tuesday and that will drop temperatures once again. Tuesday should be noticeably colder with highs in the lower 60s. Wednesday morning we are likely to see some locales dip into the 30s, but I do not believe we will see a significant freeze.

Wednesday we should see clouds increase quickly with rain chances climbing as a strong short wave trough moves out of the southern Rockies into the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Our best chance for rain comes Thursday, however, depending on the exact timing of the upper trough, we could see some showers reaching Alabama by Wednesday evening. That trough will cross the Mississippi River on Thursday with a surface low coming out of the northern Gulf of Mexico. That low will move quickly to the Mid-Atlantic coast by midday Friday returning dry weather to Alabama and promising a dry and warm weekend.

Yesterday I noted the extreme difference between the ECMWF and the GFS. Today, those two models have come much closer in their solutions with the GFS bringing the surface low further north and the ECMWF pushing it a bit further south. So the track forecasts of both are in close agreement which improves the confidence in the forecast for the latter part of the coming week. There are still some differences in the models especially in the strength of the low, but those are minor compared with the huge differences we saw yesterday.

Heaviest rainfall will be focused along and just south of the track of the surface low. For Central Alabama, rainfall amounts are likely to be around one inch, but along the Gulf Coast, rainfall total for the storm could reach 2 to 3 inches. Severe weather is probably a fairly likely occurrence for the Florida Peninsula on Thursday or early Friday, but we should be primarily in a rain area.

Late Friday and into Saturday, we begin to come under the influence of an upper ridge. Several weak disturbances will be moving across the ridge, however, I expect to see only some passing clouds since there will not be any moisture to deal with plus the ridge should be strong enough to keep the best dynamics well north of Alabama. It should be a lovely Sunday with the ridge coming across the Mississippi River and highs reaching the lower to middle 70s.

The pattern remains active looking into week 2. As noted yesterday, a strong trough with a potential for severe weather comes at us around April 10th. The GFS suggests another low latitude short wave trough around April 13th with yet another system that would likely bring another risk for severe weather around April 16th. So no rest in the weather department as the springtime conveyor belt of storms gets cranked up!

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I hope that you have a good day today even with the wet weather forecast. James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. Be sure to stay up with the Blog today as we keep you posted on the latest developments in the weather for Central Alabama. Have a great day and Godspeed.


Morning Radar Update

| March 31, 2013 @ 6:49 am

3-31-2013 6-48-21 AM

Most Easter sunrise services are going off without a hitch weather wise across Central Alabama this morning.

The exceptions are over Lamar and Pickens Counties where showers and storms were rumbling in from Mississippi and over parts of Marion, Winston and Walker Counties, where some lighter showers and storms were occurring.

The heaviest storm was just west of Carrollton in southere Pickens County. This cell had indications of half inch hail. Lots of lightning and thunder too. This activity was pushing southeast toward northern Sumter and Greene Counties and will brush the Tuscaloosa area as well.

Behind this, another complex of storms was over Central Mississippi. It has been accompanied by severe thunderstorm warnings which remain in effect just west of Winona. This activity will be into western Alabama’s Pickens, Greene and Sumter Counties between 8:30 and 9.

There could be isolated severe storms across the area today so pay attention to later weather information here on the blog. There is no formal risk in effect for Alabama, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some severe weather.

There was fog in areas where skies cleared briefly last night, but clouds associated with the storms were moving back in at sunrise. Temperatures were in the 50s.

Brian will be posting the video and forecast discussion in minutes.

Tonight into Easter

| March 30, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

For the rest of tonight, most areas in North Central Alabama will continue to see some light to moderate rain for the next few hours. The rain should begin to taper off by later tonight and into the early morning hours. We can even see a few of the severe storms in Missouri and Oklahoma showing up in this radar image.

3-30-2013 7-43-19 PM

As we head into Easter Sunday, the weather will be very similar to today. The latest model runs continue to show the morning looking mostly dry, but there could be a few stray showers lingering around. Most of those sunrise services should be ok. Expect a mostly cloudy morning and we could even see a few peeks of sunshine in the morning. Clouds and additional showers and thunderstorms head our way by the afternoon.  The forecast map below is very close to what I expect heading into tomorrow morning.  Conditions look to be mostly dry, showers and thunderstorms will be off to our west. Cold front dropping to the southeast will be the focal point for the showers and thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon. May see a bit more in the way of thunderstorms tomorrow, but we are still not expecting any severe weather. The rain and storms will last into tomorrow evening and should last through much of tomorrow night.

3-30-2013 7-33-59 PM

The second front over northern Missouri will be dropping towards us will be the one that brings a different air mass to Alabama. Monday should be mostly dry and very warm, but the second front will cross the state and with it, much cooler air that will settle in for the mid part of the week.


Quick Radar Check

| March 30, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

Most areas across North Central Alabama are receiving some rain. Many locations are reporting very light to moderate rain is falling. There are some heavier showers making their way into southern Jefferson County near McCalla and Hoover and will be impacting I-459 shortly. There are more heavier showers from northern Pickens, western Tuscaloosa and northern Hale County. Moderate rain is falling under these showers as they continue to move east-northeast. Lighter rain is falling across the northern and eastern counties as well.

Most locations across this part of the state should see a nice, steady, soaking rain for the next few hours. There could even be a few rumbles of thunder under some of the more intense shower activity. Make sure you have the rain gear handy if you are heading out and about tonight.

3-30-2013 4-47-07 PM

Rain Moving In

| March 30, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

Rain has made into Central Alabama this afternoon and will continue to expand into the state from Mississippi. No severe weather associated with this activity, but we could have a few rumbles of thunder. Many areas will experience a soaking rain as we head through the evening. Not expecting to terribly much as most area will see around one half inch of rain. Some locations could see some heavier amounts, but no one should see greater than an inch. If you are heading out tonight, make sure you take the umbrella and rain gear with you.

Heaviest rain remains over North Alabama currently, from near Birmingham to Huntsville, then back to the west towards Memphis and the Mississippi River. More rain will continue to move into the western portions of the state and most everyone will see the wet stuff heading through the evening.  This is the type of rain that is great for sleeping; not too heavy, no sever storms, just the pitter-patter or rain drops and maybe the occasional rumble of thunder.

3-30-2013 2-17-17 PM

Talking Disturbances, Troughs, Vort Maxes

| March 30, 2013 @ 10:19 am


Click image to enlarge.

You hear us talk about upper disturbances all the time, and here is an example of a very visual one.

Look at the top left panel of the image to see the water vapor satellite image overlaid with the pattern at 18,000 feet. See the distinct kink in the wind bars, and the trough over the western Arkansas/eastern Oklahoma border? That’s your upper level trough, or upper level disturbance.

The middle left panel shows the radar with the surface features also displayed. You can see a warm front lying generally along I-20. There is a weak surface low associated with the upper level disturbance near Texarkana, AR/TX.

We also sometimes refer to these upper level disturbances as vort maxes, or vorticity maximums. These are areas where vorticity, or spin in the atmosphere, is maximized. You can see that in the yellow colors on the lower right hand panel of the graphic. Vort maxes are associated with rising air, and accordingly rain and storms.

Earlier there were a couple of severe thunderstorm warnings in Oklahoma, but the storm have weakened.

The large panel shows the visible satellite, with a good bit of sunshine in place across all but western Alabama. Temperatures are in the 50s now, heading for a rendezvous with 70F later today. Cloudier spots may remain in the upper 60s. Sunnier spots could reach the lower 70s.

That warm front will lift northeast through the afternoon, spurred by the surface low. The front will be accompanied by a round of showers with the chance of a little thunder. Then as the disturbance slides across the central part of the state late this afternoon and this evening, you will see another round of showers. You might hear a clap or two of thunder, but the storms won’t be strong or severe.

Expect more showers and more storms Sunday. Hopefully, morning events will be dry.

On This Date in 1962

| March 30, 2013 @ 9:23 am

Pictures on the front page of the Birmingham News on Friday, March 30, 1962 showed the Cuban trial of participants in the Bay of Pigs invasion attempt. A major story covered the Federal Government decision that it would cut off aid to segregated schools. The News reported this would cost Alabama $772,000 in Federal Aid. Locally, the Red Mountain Expressway was a hot story. Contracts were signed by the State Department of Transportation to begin construction on the much ballyhooed project.

The front page of the News carried a piece each day about why it was nice to live in Birmingham. Items that day included: Birmingham is a beautiful city; spring transforms the city into a floral celebration of azaleas, wisteria, redbuds, dogwoods, tulips and jonquils; Birmingham has rolling hills and beautiful Red Mountain and finally, the city boasts a 239 day growing season.

It was one of those beautifully mild spring mornings in Birmingham that Friday. A cold front was approaching from the northwest and the weather forecast called for showers and slightly cooler conditions. It had been 75F the day before in the Magic City.

That front would trigger showers and storms that mid-afternoon that produced widespread hail and damaging winds across North and Central Alabama. Marble sized hail accumulated to a depth of 2 inches in Albertville in Marshall County. Heavy hail was reported in Cullman. The storms massed south of Birmingham and crossed over Shades and Red Mountain. Across the city, trees were blown down, carports were knocked over, signs damaged, windows knocked out and utility lines were downed. Hail whitened lawns.

At the Airport, 80 small planes and 2 military aircraft were damaged. One small plane was flipped upside down by the high winds. Estimates of damage at the Airport along topped $500,000.