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Archive for July 7th, 2013

Tropical Storm Chantal Forms

| 9:59 pm July 7, 2013

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The strong tropical wave east southeast of the Windward Islands has developed a circulation and is being classified as Tropical Storm Chantal. Advisories are being initiated.

It will move across the Lesser Antilles tomorrow night and will move into the eastern Caribbean early on Tuesday. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia. A tropical storm watch is in effect now for St. Vincent.

By Tuesday night, it will be about 200 miles south of Puerto Rico. This track will keep it south of higher wind shear and it is over warm water, so intensification is likely. By Tuesday night it will have top winds of 65 mph. It should move over Haiti late Wednesday, weakening as it does.

Here is the official forecast track:

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As it traverses the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and Cuba, Chantal may weaken to a remnant low. If it holds together, it will approach the Bahamas east of Florida by late Friday.

Showers Slowly Dying

| 8:24 pm July 7, 2013

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Moderate to heavy showers are migrating northward through Bibb and Chilton Counties at this time. They will probably survive into eastern Tuscaloosa and Shelby Counties, although they are weakening as they go.

Others are moving northward through Lamar, Fayette and Walker Counties.

Otherwise, everything is calming down for the night.

Look for some patchy dense fog by morning due to all the moist ground and good radiational cooling conditions late tonight.

Scattered Showers and Storms

| 3:48 pm July 7, 2013

This trend will continue until sunset, although more showers could form overnight.

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Showers and storms are scattered across North and Central Alabama at this hour

The greatest concentration is over Marion and Fayette Counties lapping over into Walker and Lamar Counties.

There are several in Tuscaloosa County as well.

More were occurring from Marengo into Choctaw Counties about to move into Sumter County.

A few showers were moving into southern parts of the Birmingham area.

Everything Is moving northward.

Elsewhere they are scattered across the area.

Tropics and Alabama Weather Update

| 10:51 am July 7, 2013

The tropics are getting a little more interesting as we head deeper into July. Here is an update:

DISTURBANCE 94L: The trough of low pressure over the western Gulf of Mexico shows no signs of organization at this time and it is not expected to become a depression.

DISTURBANCE 95L:  There is a strong tropical wave about 1350 miles east southeast of the Windward Islands today.  It has shown signs of organization but has not developed a closed circulation yet.  It should cross the southernmost Windward Islands Monday night and emerge into the eastern Caribbean on Tuesday.  Most of the guidance thinks it will be a tropical storm. 

If so, it will be named Chantal.  In any case, this system will bring squally weather to the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Barbados by late Monday into Tuesday.   

It then will likely take a track near the Greater Antilles (Hispaniola, Cuba) by late in the week.  Here are some of the models’ forecasts for the system:

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It could then affect anywhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Panhandle or the southeastern coast of the U.S. next weekend.   Could Candace be another Dennis from 2005?  Remember, it made landfall at Navarre Beach in the Panhandle as a Category Three hurricane.;

SEASON COUNT:  So far, two tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin.  Andrea moved inland in the Florida Big Bend area on June 6th as a strong tropical storm (top winds 65mph). Tropical Storm Barry formed over the southwestern Caribbean on June 17th, moved across the Yucatan and grew into a Tropical Storm over the Bay of Campeche.  It made landfall near with winds of 45 mph near Veracruz on the 20th.

QUICK CENTRAL ALABAMA NOWCAST:
Showers continue from Dallas through Autauga, southern Chilton, Coosa, Clay, Tallapoosa and Randolph Counties, extending southward into the LaGrange and Opelika areas. This activity is moving northeast, but the entire area is pushing slowly eastward as drier air filters into Alabama.

Showers over Southwest Alabama in Clarke County were moving into Marengo County. This activity is on a track that could impact Central Alabama, but it should also be shunted east and southeast eventually by the drying. It could impact areas as far north as Clanton, but the Birmingham area should be protected from it.

Scattered showers could form late this morning in the I-20 corridor and lift northward, but they should be in the Tennessee Valley by mid-afternoon, leaving things dry in the Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Gadsden and Anniston areas. Can’t rule out a stray shower or storm, but the chances appear to have come down a bit this afternoon.

There could be a few scattered showers through the overnight hours and there will be some on Monday as well. Tuesday will finally feel like a more typical summer day, with just scattered PM storms and highs in the upper 80s.

Moisture Levels Remain High

| 6:56 am July 7, 2013

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The cool and wet pattern that Central Alabama has seen for the last several days lets up a little today, but with a very moist, tropical air mass in place, we maintain shower chances through much of the upcoming week. Yesterday was an unusual day for weather in Central Alabama with afternoon highs only in the mid 70s – that’s 15 degrees below the average high of 91 for early July – and close to an all day kind of rain.

The upper closed low that was in the vicinity of St. Louis yesterday morning will gradually pull northeastward and weaken today and Monday. As the upper low moves away, it will leave tropical moisture in place as we should return to something more typical of our summer weather. While today is expected to be drier than yesterday, showers remain likely but coverage and hours of rain should be reduced. Today’s highs are expected to edge upward into the lower 80s.

For beach goers, the weather improves as we slowly return to more typical summer weather along the beautiful beaches of Alabama and Northwest Florida. I expect scattered storms today, but they will become more widely spaced as we head into Monday. Temperatures will be edging back to their usual summertime levels in the upper 80s to near 90F. Low will be in the muggy 70s.

The model forecasts show a fairly fast transition of the upper low into an open trough that moves into New England Monday afternoon. While the trough does exit quickly, it does leave behind a weakness between the Bermuda high to our east and the strong ridge to our west. This will keep us in those diurnally driven showers and thunderstorms for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But by Wednesday, I note another change beginning to take shape for the end of the week. The upper ridge over the west builds northward keeping the western US hot as a strong short wave moves out of South Central Canada into the western Great Lakes. Thursday and Friday it digs into the eastern US as a fairly sharp trough. Keep in mind that we don’t usually see cold fronts reaching into the Southeast US during the summer months, especially July and August. However, the GFS is suggesting a frontal boundary coming into the Southeast US on Friday. The ECMWF which showed something similar but slower yesterday now has a much closer resemblance to the GFS. Confidence is a bit higher than yesterday with the two solutions coming into better agreement. While I’m not prepared to stick my neck out on a completely dry forecast, we could see drier air make its way into the Southeast which would bring some welcome relief to the high humidity even if we still see isolated showers in the heat of the afternoon.

The good news for us is that this pattern keeps any potential for high heat away even though we should see afternoon highs recover into the 80s, upper 80s by Wednesday and Thursday, for the upcoming week.

Tropics are a tad more active. There are two areas being watched by the NHC, one in the western Gulf and one about 1500 miles east of the Windward Islands, however, neither of them appears likely to develop for the next couple of days. And the main severe weather threat, outside of flash flooding in the Southern Appalachians, remains along the northern tier of the US.

The GFS maintains a general trough over the eastern US through the 16th of July, but by the 22nd, a large ridge is forecast to build into the Central US bringing much hotter weather to the eastern half of the country.

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-Brian-