Archive for March 10th, 2013
Showers and some thunder have pushed into Northwest Alabama from northeastern Mississippi this evening. Thunder was being reported in Marion and Lamar Counties with the showers there a short time ago. The electrical activity has pretty much disappeared now. There will be more later.
A cold front is pushing eastward across the Mississippi Delta tonight. Moisture is surging northward from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of the front. Increasing winds at about 5,000 feet should allow the activity to pick up in intensity over the next few hours over Mississippi. As moisture levels increase, the intensity of the rainfall will also increase.
The main activity will push into Alabama after midnight, but by then, it will begin to weaken into just a broad band of moderate to occasionally heavy rain with some embedded thunder through the pre-dawn hours as it moves across western Alabama, reaching the I-59 corridor around sunrise. No severe weather is expected.
It will continue to push across the state during the morning hours. The brunt of the rainfall will be east of I-59 by early afternoon, although it will take until late afternoon to get it out of Central Alabama.
The activity will intensify during the afternoon over southeastern sections of the state as a secondary low pressure system develops along the Gulf Coast. But the activity will be over by then.
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A windy and mild late winter Sunday is in progress across Central Alabama. Southeasterly winds are averaging 10-20 mph, occasionally gusting to near 30 mph this morning. That will continue through the day and through much of the overnight as we remain sandwiched between a surface low between Concordia, KS and Kansas City. That surface low is not very strong, with a minimum pressure of 1001 millibars. But it is running up against strong high pressure stubbornly centered near Columbia SC, which has a pressure of 1026 millibars. Squeezing all those isobars together has resulted in a strong pressure gradient between the two systems and some strong southerly winds.
Temperatures over North and Central Alabama are in the lower and middle 60s. Sky conditions are all over the board, with sunshine in many areas, but patches of clouds in others. Heavy cloudiness is over Mississippi however, and this will move over the state from the west during the afternoon hours.
Temperatures will make the 70s in most locations, although cloudier spots will struggle to get past 70F.
Rain covers much of Missouri, Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana, down into northeastern Texas at this hour. There is some lightning over eastern Texas into Louisiana, but there is no severe weather at this hour. There were a couple of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings earlier this morning in Arkansas and Texas, but that activity has weakened.
The SPC has a low end 2% tornado probability for today over the Mississippi Delta region of Mississippi and Louisiana and a broader 5% risk down the Mississippi River from the Missouri Bootheel to Natchez MS and back into Central Louisiana and Eastern Texas. This is not enough to trigger a slight risk outlook for any area.
Storms will strengthen this afternoon to our west as the heating of the day increases instabilities and wind profiles remain fairly strong. But the storms will push into the Northwest Corner of Alabama around midnight and will slowly work their way into West Alabama during the predawn hours. They will reach Tuscaloosa around sunrise and Birmingham between 7-9 a.m. Heavy rain and gusty winds will be the main factors.
The rainfall could get a little heavier as it moves over into eastern sections of Alabama Monday afternoon. This will translate into about an inch of rain in the I-59 corridor, with heavier amounts northwest and southeast of the corridor. 1-2 inch amounts will be common with the heavier rain, with some isolated 2+ inch amounts. Storm activity could increase a bit as well, but still, there won’t be enough instability for strong or severe storms.
The rain should be out of all but southeastern sections of the area by Monday evening. We will start off in the 50s Monday morning, and the mercury will barely move during the day over northwestern sections. Folks in the I-59 corridor should rise slightly to around 60F. Areas down toward Alex City will get into the middle 60s tomorrow.
Look for cooler conditions behind the system for midweek. Lows Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be in the 30s, with a chance for a light freeze in there on one or more of the mornings for colder locations. Highs will be in the upper 50s to near 60F. Temperatures will start to moderate by late in the week, returning to near 70F for the weekend, which looks to be pretty nice for now.
Our friend Steve Jones at the AlabamaQuake website has written an excellent summary of earthquakes in North Alabama. He wanted to make readers over here on AlabamaWX aware of it since we pay quite a bit of attention to earthquakes when they happen around here.
He writes: “Earthquakes are actually fairly common in the eastern half of the United States, and we see in Alabama the effects from the Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone (SASZ), which roughly follows the Appalachian Mountains from southwestern Virginia into the northeastern corner and central part of Alabama. The USGS says that, “the Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone is one of the most active earthquake zones in the eastern United States.”
Check out the new page, and read also the report prepared to be featured during the next few days at AlabamaQuake about the Japan M9.0 2011 earthquake, “Anatomy of a Mega-Quake” – its URL is http://alabamaquake.com/reports.html#Japan_M9.0_2011
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Look for a mix of sun and clouds today across Alabama as we get set for a rainy Monday. In spite of the clouds, the weather will be mild as we reach the lower 70s for highs. The surface low will progress steadily northeastward reaching the Great Lakes area Monday afternoon and dragging the cold front through Alabama on Monday. Rain should enter the state in the northwest corner tonight around midnight and spread across the area during the day Monday. Look for off and on rain much of the day as the front moves by taking the rain out of the state by midnight Monday night.
There does not appear to be any serious risk for severe weather with instability values sufficiently low. I do note that the shear values are high, so this is another high shear but low instability situations. But the instability appears to be low enough to preclude a severe weather threat.
We’ll see a couple of cool days on Tuesday and Wednesday as the upper flow goes northwesterly, but the bulk of the cold air moves into the East Coast area putting us in a region for a nice cool down with nothing extremely cold for us to deal with. The ridge moves closer as we get into the weekend, so the temperatures should gradually climb getting warmer each day. We should be back into the lower 70s by Saturday.
Rainfall with the Monday system should provide a fairly nice dousing with 1 to 2 inches of rain for most locations. It does seem likely when looking out into voodoo country that we will be seeing March a bit less wet than January and February.
The week 2 outlook has changed a bit. The GFS is still forecasting a ridge, however, the ridge stays further west, so we do not come under the strong southwesterly flow that we saw yesterday. This is likely to mean a drier forecast for us. One weather system comes by around the 21st/22nd to give us another shot at some rain, but then the ridge takes hold once again positioned just to our west.
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James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning – unless he forgot to set his clock forward! Have a wonderful Sunday and Godspeed.