Archive for June, 2013

Mid-Evening Radar Update

| June 30, 2013 @ 9:01 pm


Storms are fairly concentrated in two places tonight, including Morgan County in North Alabama and Greene and Hale Counties in West Central Alabama.

Showers have weakened over Walker County.

The storms over Morgan County are near the vortex of the upper level disturbance that has triggered the showers today. It is moving to the northeast.

The showers and storms will continue to go downhill and should be gone in the next couple of hours.

Isolated Showers Forming

| June 30, 2013 @ 2:52 pm


Isolated showers are forming across western Alabama this afternoon ahead of a southeastward diving upper disturbance that is near Memphis at this hour. They extend northward along a curved line into Central Tennessee west of Nashville.

The heaviest shower was just northeast of Jasper in Walker County, moving east toward Arkadelphia. No lightning yet, but it probably isn’t far away.

Showers are increasing quickly over Pickens County, extending into northwestern Tuscaloosa County. The main cells are north of Aliceville, northeast of Carrollton and between Gordo and Reform. Movement is toward the east. Will probably see lightning and thunder in the Tuscaloosa area within the hour.

Showers will continue to develop and some of them will grow into storms as we go through the afternoon hours. They may linger a little linger than usual this evening thanks to the parent disturbance.

A Noonday Update

| June 30, 2013 @ 12:26 pm


As we sail into afternoon here in Central Alabama, here is a quick look at the Alabama weather situation.

Yesterday’s cold front lies across southeastern Alabama with a surface low tracking along it southwest of Atlanta. The front isn’t going to go much further to the south though. Another weak surface low was east of New Orleans, pushing to the east northeast slowly as well. The front will have a hard time making it to the coast. That’s a tough nut to crack in the summer in the South.

The front was triggering widespread showers and storms from the Northeast U.S. across eastern North Carolina and into northern Florida. Severe severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings have been issued, including a couple in northeastern Florida. There is even a tornado warning right now west of Wilmington NC.

The upper air charts are dominated by an impressive upper level high centered near Las Vegas, with an equally impressive trough covering the east third of the nation, anchored by a big upper low near Indianapolis. We are feeling the influence of this trough and will for the next couple of days. It is responsible for the front to our southeast and the axis of drier air that has pushed southeast of I-59.

With mostly clear skies this morning north of the front, temperatures have warmed nicely into the middle 80s across the I-20/59 corridor. We are starting to see just a tad of instability behind the axis of driest air and a cumulus field was developing across North Central Alabama. Some high clouds were being blown off the thunderstorm activity to the south around I-20.

A very impressive upper level disturbance was clearly evident on water vapor satellite imagery, approaching the Memphis area, and diving southeast. It has some better moisture with it, and a very nice cumulus field has developed. This feature will starting triggering scattered showers and storms as it moves southeastward across northern Mississippi and northern Alabama later today and this evening. The chance you will see rain is still only about 20 percent though. Highs will top out in the upper 80s. Lows tonight will be in the upper 60s.

The upper trough will be a fixture for much of the week ahead, retrograding back to the west a bit by the end of the week. We stay in a broad southwesterly flow aloft from our position ahead of the trough. This means plenty of mugginess and a slightly elevated chance of mainly afternoon and evening thunderstorms each day. Rain chances will ramp up from today’s 20 percent, to around 30-40 percent Monday and Tuesday, to around 40-60 percent each day through the holiday weekend. High temperatures will be held back from normal levels just a bit, averaging in the middle 80s ealry in the week, but closer to 80F through the rest of the week and weekend.

Pretty pleasant for the first week of July, if you don’t mind a few showers.

Just Where Will the Showers Be?

| June 30, 2013 @ 6:38 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.

The main forecast challenge for today is to determine exactly where the dividing line is between the drier air that moved into Central Alabama yesterday and the more moisture rich air where showers become likely. The sounding at the Shelby County Airport from last night is certainly dry but surface dew points show the dew point boundary to be between Birmingham and Alexander City. I’m going to continue with a dry forecast for Central Alabama with showers most likely to occur generally south of Clanton across the southern half of Alabama. The main rationale for this is the continued digging of the upper trough before it begins to retrograde plus the forecasts of precipitable water.

A dense fog advisory was posted for parts of Central Alabama in a swath running east to west between Birmingham and Troy. The fog should burn off around 9 am.

As the upper trough does begin to retrograde Monday into Tuesday, the precipitable water (PW) values for Central Alabama begin to climb which puts scattered showers back into the forecast. PW values should continue to climb into mid-week which should increase showers in number and coverage. MOS guidance values for probabilities rise into the 50 to 65 percent range for Wednesday and Thursday which seems pretty reasonable. The main driving force will be diurnal heating.

July 3rd and 4th could be fairly wet with showers and thunderstorms likely with highs 86 to 89, still not bad temperatures for the early portion of July when the 30-year average high for Birmingham sits at 90 degrees.

The upper trough continues to weaken as we head into the end of the week as the upper ridge to our east, the Bermuda High, noses into the Southeast. This will keep us in fairly deep moisture as heights rise and temperatures climb back toward the 90 degree mark.

Tropics remain quiet with one area in the western Caribbean being watched. For now, however, the upper wind flow across the Caribbean is strongly out of the west, so there is not likely to be any tropical storm formation for the next several days.

Across the nation, heat is the big news for the western US. Bill made an excellent post on the records late yesterday afternoon. The ridge in the west is expected to stay in place for the foreseeable future. Even with the somewhat anomalous pattern, severe weather risk is fairly low.

The GFS continues to maintain a somewhat troughy look to the upper air pattern through about the 11th of July, but after that the upper ridge builds back into the Central Plains and Ohio Valley returning us to a more summer-ish look to the flow.

And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

James Spann Charles Daniel Ashley Brand
J. B. Elliott Bill Murray Brian Peters
E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

James Spann should be back Monday morning with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. Check back with the Blog frequently for the latest updates on the ever changing and somewhat challenging weather for Central Aalbama. Godspeed.


Amazing Records Out West

| June 29, 2013 @ 10:45 pm


The western United States is sizzling under a huge 594 dkm upper level high pressure system.

Lots of records fell on Friday, and even more today. Here is a representative listing of daily records for 6/29:

123F at Needles CA (June record)
122F at Palm Springs/Thermal CA
121F at Indio CA
118F at Las Vegas NWS (since establishment in 1996)
115F at Phantom Ranch AZ
115F at Las Vegas (MCarran – official station)
112F at Kingman AZ (second straight 110+ day; first time ever in June).
110F at Laredo
109F at Victoria TX (All time June high temp record).
108F at Austin – Camp Mabry. 106F on Friday was also a record.
108F at Del Rio.
108F at San Antonio. (New record for June).
107F at Houston – Intercontinental. (New record for June).
107F at Austin – Bergstrom. 105F on Friday also a record.
107F at Corpus Christi. Just shy of the 109F all time record high.
107f at Sacramento.
106F at College Station
106F at Harlingen
105F at Houston Hobby. (New record for June).
105F at Winslow AZ
105F at Longview TX (Tied record)
105F at Salt Lake City (Tied all time June record)
104F at McAllen
102F at Brownsville
102F at Lufkin TX (tied record)
102F at Reno
92F at Mountain View, CA (Home of Google!)
89F at South Lake Tahoe

Seems ridiculous, but the 73F at Crescent City CA today was also a record for the date.

And equally ridiculous, the 58F at Astoria< OR this morning was a record warm minimum.

For the Rest of the Evening

| June 29, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

A quick look at the surface analysis shows the frontal boundary continues to drop south across the state today. The front was roughly along the Interstate 20 corridor across the state. It will continue to head south overnight and will actually bring a bit of drier air in behind it. That should translate into less humidity and slightly more comfortable evenings and mornings for the next couple of days.

6-29-2013 5-05-44 PM

Looking at the latest satellite image, most of north Alabama is seeing mostly sunny skies that have allowed most areas to have a very nice Saturday across those portions of the state. The thicker and taller clouds associated with the thunderstorms that continue to push south is quite evident along the Interstate 85 corridor and the Interstate 65 corridor south of Montgomery. The thick, white clouds will push south out ahead of the frontal boundary.

6-29-2013 5-02-42 PM

The radar has been fairly active across portions of our southern counties this afternoon. The showers and storms that developed continue a southward progression. Nearly all the convection is along and south of Interstate 85 and U.S. 80. The one exception is a thunderstorm over northern Chambers and southern Randolph Counties. None of these storms have been severe today, but are producing gusty winds, intense rain and frequent lightning. The rest of north Alabama has seen abundant sunshine with mostly sunny skies. It should be a great looking evening as most locations will remain dry. Today looks as though it was the better day of the weekend as storms tomorrow will go from more isolated to scattered. Rain chances will increase as we head into the first week of July.

6-29-2013 5-22-51 PM

Scattered Storms to the South

| June 29, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

Depending where you are across North Central Alabama, the weather is quite different. Areas along and north of Interstate 20 are seeing mostly sunny skies. To the south, scattered showers and thunderstorms. These storms are widely scattered but are a bit more concentrated along the U.S. Highway 80 corridor from Marengo County to Dallas County. Storms are approaching the Selma area and could be producing gusty winds and some small hail. All storms are producing intense rain and frequent lightning. There are intense storms impacting portions of Elmore, Autauga, Montgomery Counties as well. All activity will continue to move to the east/southeast through out this afternoon.

6-29-2013 3-02-04 PM

A Few Isolated Storms Developing

| June 29, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

Some showers and storms have popped up early this afternoon across Central Alabama. There is one storm in northeast Tuscaloosa County along Interstate 20/59 and another shower in northern Talladega County. There is a cluster of more organized activity across Sumter and Marengo Counties, near Demopolis affecting highways 80 and 25. All activity is pushing off to the southeast. Additional isolated showers can be expected to develop through out the afternoon. Development should be confined to areas along and south of Interstate 20.

6-29-2013 1-20-03 PM

Late Morning Update

| June 29, 2013 @ 11:24 am

Just after 11 am, cumulus clouds had begun forming in the sky over North and Central Alabama while some low clouds and fog were finally dissipating in the area from Montgomery to Columbus, GA. With the morning soundings in, it sure looks like showers and thunderstorms will be confined to the southern portion of the state and the Florida Panhandle. Precipitable water values were down around one and a quarter inches over North and Central Alabama as compared to values closer to 2 inches over southern sections. Lapse rates over the northern half of the state are much less than the environment we saw yesterday.

So it looks like we should see mostly dry weather today with highs climbing into the upper 80s and lower 90s, 87 to 92 range, across the area. An isolated shower in Central Alabama is still possible, but I really do not expect to see much development here.

Both the NAM and GFS MOS products show dew points lowering to near 60 degrees tomorrow. I’m not completely sure those values are to be trusted since late morning values seem to be several degrees higher than what is forecast for early this afternoon. Plus you have to go all the way western Kentucky to see dew points near 60. There’s no doubt it is going to be drier, maybe just not quite as good as the MOS products show. Precipitable water values come back a little tomorrow, but they come up to values around 1.5 inches. This could mean that we stay essentially dry tomorrow, too, with the bulk of showers in South Alabama. Again, though, we are not dry enough to completely rule out the development of a shower or two.


Weather Calmer Today

| June 29, 2013 @ 6:51 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.

Thunderstorms galore yesterday, but as an unusually deep trough carves out across the eastern US, it looks like our weather will be considerably calmer today with most of the shower and thunderstorm action to the south across southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. However, isolated thunderstorms will still be possible today as moisture levels stay high.

The upper air pattern is unusual for late June. The deep trough over the eastern half of the US is not what we typically see this time of year. That trough should push some drier air into the Southeast US, but because the trough will close off and begin to move back west, referred to as retrograding, we will stay in a pattern with the potential for scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. And showers should increase in number and coverage as we head to the end of next week.

The average high temperature for Birmingham for late June is 90 degrees. Temperatures after today will be trending downward with highs for much of the upcoming week in the 80s. For Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it looks like readings will be mainly in the middle 80s. Lows will be a little cooler, too, with values in the middle and upper 60s. And with slightly lower humidity, it will certainly not feel like late June or early July.

Tropics remain quiet. NHC is watching an area of cloudiness in the vicinity of the Leeward Islands, however, upper level winds appear unfavorable for any development of the disturbed area.

And severe weather falls off somewhat across the country for the next several days with the unusual upper air pattern.

The long range GFS weakens the upper trough over the eastern US, however, the overall troughiness remains, so there appears to be no sign of any significant heat for us. The ridge stays over the western US keeping them unusually warm.

And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

James Spann Charles Daniel Ashley Brand
J. B. Elliott Bill Murray Brian Peters
E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

I had a great time speaking to the Vulcan Power Squadron on Thursday evening. Be sure to stay in touch with the Blog for the latest weather changes and updates. The next Weather Xtreme Video will be posted first thing on Sunday morning. Enjoy the day and Godspeed.


Storms Pushing South

| June 28, 2013 @ 10:34 pm


It has been a very active day and night for strong and severe storms across Alabama as there were numerous reports of tree and power line damage in many areas today. The worst of the weather continues to push south tonight with the most intense activity along and south of the Interstate 85 and Highway 80 corridors from Auburn to Montgomery. Frequent lightning and intense rain continues to accompany these storms. All watches and warning for our part of Alabama have been cancelled or allowed to expire.

Across the rest of Central Alabama, conditions have calmed down and most areas will begin to dry out and clear out. We are watching a few thunderstorms in Northwest Alabama that have developed over the last hour and are dropping south as well. If the hold together they could be impacting portions of Marion and Winston County around midnight. Tomorrow will be a much better and brighter day across Alabama as a front will push south of the area overnight. That will bring some slightly cooler and drier air for Central Alabama.

6-28-2013 10-26-09 PM

All Counties Have Been Cleared from Watch

| June 28, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

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