Archive for March 1st, 2013
Photograph by Kathy Bell, owner of kbella photography.
March marks the start of both meteorological and astronomical spring. It is definitely a time of transition in Alabama. As the days lengthen and the sun moves higher in the sky, average temperatures start to climb. The average high in Birmingham at the start of the month is 62F. By month’s end, the average daytime high is 70F. The average low at the start of the month is 39F. By March 31st, the average is 45F. The warmest it has ever been in March was 90F on March 21st, 1907, as Birmingham was in the middle of an unusual heat wave.
The coldest March reading in Birmingham history was 2F on March 14, 1993. That was the day after the 1993 blizzard, which is also remarkable for producing the city’s biggest snowfall ever, 13 inches at the Airport. The temperature generally drops to freezing or below on 6.1 days in the month. The average date of the last freeze usually occurs in mid to late March.
March is the wettest month of the year in Birmingham. On average, 6.10 inches of rain falls in the Magic City. The 15.80 inches that fell in march 1980 is the most ever recorded in the third month of the year. It occurred during a month of flooding. It rains on 11.0 days on average, which ranks third behind July at 12.4 days and January at 11.2 days.
Thunderstorms occur on 4.5 days. The months of April through August are all stormier, but March does mark the beginning of the primary severe weather season, at least in North and Central Alabama. Alabama’s deadliest tornado outbreak in history occurred on March 21, 1932.
The percentage of possible sunshine is on the increase, averaging 55% in the month, up from the 42 percent that is typical of January, but still less than the 66 percent we usually see in May and October. The sky is cloudy 41 percent of the time. It is clear 24.2 percent of the time.
March is tied with April as the windiest month of the year, with an average wind speed of 10.4 mph.
Lots of reports of snow and mixed precipitation coming in from across North and Central Alabama.
You can see from the radar that the precipitation is very, very light. It should get a little heavier late tonight and early Saturday morning as a trough of low pressure swings across the area.
Some recent reports…
…light snow reported at Good Hope in Cullman County
…@KN4TX reported flakes on the northern side of Lake Tuscaloosa
…a light sleet and snow mix being reported in Odenville
…light snow in Hazel Green
…mix of snow, sleet and rain at Trussville.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for the northern part of Central Alabama until noon Saturday. Counties included are: Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Winston as well as DeKalb and Jackson Counties in Northeast Alabama.
Areas in the winter weather advisory will anywhere from no snow to a dusting of snow, with areas that see heavier snow showers perhaps getting 1/2 to 1 inch of snow. The heavier amounts are more likely in the higher elevations north and east of Birmingham.
The NWS in Birmingham has issued a winter weather advisory for North-Central Alabama for tonight and tomorrow….
Scroll down for the details of the expected wintry weather this weekend….
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METEOROLOGICAL SPRING STARTS OFF COLD: Sure doesn’t feel like the first of March this afternoon Cullman is reporting only 35 degrees at mid-afternoon… Birmingham is at 43. These temperatures are well below the values printed by the computer models, and about 20 degrees below average for the first day of March in Alabama. We have had a number of reports of snow flurries over the northern third of the state over the past few hours, but nothing really significant.
SNOW SHOWERS: The NWS in Huntsville has issued a winter weather advisory for Jackson and DeKalb Counties of far Northeast Alabama, this is where around one inch of snow is likely across higher terrain, especially over 1,000 feet. Our thinking hasn’t changed much at all… snow showers are likely across the northern half of Alabama late tonight and tomorrow. The snow showers will be scattered, but they can be locally heavy and can sure make the ground white in a hurry. We expect a dusting to one-half inch on grassy areas, with the main window for snow showers coming from about midnight tonight through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Generally speaking, we don’t expect any travel issues. But, early tomorrow morning temperatures will be below freezing for brief time, so watch for a few isolated slick spots where snow showers are falling. And, should there be any leftover moisture late tomorrow night a touch of black ice is possible early Sunday morning. But, strong winds should evaporate most of the standing moisture before we go below freezing.
Otherwise, tomorrow will be raw, blustery, and cold with temperatures struggling to get out of the 30s. MOS products from models are way too warm, like today. An icy north wind of 10-20 mph will make it feel even colder. Sure isn’t good baseball weather.
Sunday morning will feature a low between 22 and 27 degrees, followed by a high in the mid to upper 40s Sunday afternoon. The sky should be mostly sunny Sunday thanks to sinking air in the wake of the upper trough.
NEXT WEEK: A dynamic weather system will bring a chance of rain showers to Alabama after midnight Monday night into Tuesday. Moisture will be limited, and rain amounts should be 1/2 inch or less. Then, dynamic cooling would bring a few snow showers or flurries to North/Central Alabama Tuesday night, but for now accumulation doesn’t look likely. Wednesday will feature a clearing sky and colder temperatures.
We should note that system will have the potential to spin up a very significant nor’easter for the middle U.S. Atlantic Coast Wednesday of next week, with potential for heavy snow around Washington and Baltimore. The Ash Wednesday snow of 1962 is being kicked around as an analog, but way too early to be specific for our friends there.
We finally warm up late next week, with highs in the 60s likely one week from today (Friday March 8). See the Weather Xtreme video for more long range ideas and details.
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I had a great time today seeing kids at the Trinity Methodist CDC (Child Development Center) in Homewood, and at Wylam K-8 School in Birmingham. Lots of good action coming up on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 and 6:00 on ABC 33/40 News. Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday; my next Weather Xtreme video will be posted bright and early Monday morning by 7:00 a.m. Enjoy the weekend!
I say that tongue in cheek, since this will not be a significant snow event in any way for North or Central Alabama.
But snowflakes are flying across parts of northern Alabama and northern Georgia, so I will declare Operation Snow Watch officially in effect.
A few snow flurries have been reported near Mentone and over in Rome GA with a mix near Fort Payne earlier. Snowflakes were flying in Hackleburg and Pride AL according to reports. It was spitting snow in Oneonta according to a report on Twitter.
Within the past hour, the PING project has picked up two reports of snow from Kimestone and Madison Counties, with an ice pellets/snowflake mix out of Cullman county.
Radar is showing a few spits and sputters of snowflakes over Northwest Alabama, mainly over Franklin, Marion and Winston Counties, with more back toward Corinth MS that will be pushing into Alabama later. But these won’t cause any accumulations.
Clouds are thick across the northern half of Alabama, extending down into South Central Alabama. They will continue to thicken through the afternoon as some mid level moisture slides into the area in association with the big upper trough that is moving our way.
There is still a little bit of sun down around Auburn and over in LaGrange GA. Temperatures are in the lower 40s in the I-20 corridor at this hour, with upper 30s over the Tennessee Valley.
Any accumulations will come tonight and Saturday morning as snow showers develop in the slight instability caused by the cold temperatures with the trough moving across.
Accumulations will be small, from nothing at any to spotty dusting to 1/2 inch amounts, mainly for areas north of a line from Reform to Hoover to Wedowee. The best chance will be in the higher elevations north and east of Birmingham. Any accumulations will be on grassy areas and roads should not be a problem.
The best chance for snow in the Birmingham area should be Saturday morning between 6 and noon, mainly between 6 and 9, when the better moisture will be in the snow growth regions aloft.
As always with these kinds of events, there will be surprises. Areas that see a heavier snow shower could see a quick coating on grassy areas.
Central Alabama could see snow flurries Saturday morning as far south as the US-80 corridor.
The best chances for an inch of snow will be across southern Kentucky, extending down into Middle Tenenssee. It is snowing at Paducah and Hopkinsville KY at this hour.
Add your precipitation reports below.