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RADAR CHECK: Naturally, about the time we talk about fewer showers, they pop up pretty quickly on radar early this morning over East Alabama. Rain is falling at daybreak around Anniston, Gadsden, and Weiss Lake, but the rest of the state is dry. As discussed here so many times, forecasting placement and timing of summer showers is one of the most challenging tasks we face every year in operational meteorology here.
There is a chance of showers and storms statewide today and early tonight, but they should be more widely spaced, unlike recent days. The chance of any one spot getting wet is about one in four, and aside from the morning showers over East Alabama, most of the showers should come between 1 and 8 p.m. Otherwise, the day will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the upper 80s. Some West Alabama communities might touch 90 degrees for the first time since late June.
TOMORROW/THURSDAY: Showers and storms will remain rather scattered tomorrow, and mostly during the afternoon and evening hours with a high between 87 and 90. But, on Thursday, we expect an increase in the number of showers and storms as a surface front approaches from the north. It won’t rain all day Thursday, but it could rain at any time, and a strong storm is possible in spots (SPC has the low end 5 percent severe weather possibilities defined for most of Alabama Thursday).
Beyond Thursday, the weather will be chance on a day to day basis… let’s take it one day at a time…
FRIDAY: The GFS continues to show drier air entering North Alabama, with generally rain-free conditions north of I-59, and a risk of showers continuing to the south. For Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, we will hang on to the risk of a shower Friday, but they should be pretty widely spaced. The high will be in the upper 80s.
SATURDAY: A TUTT (tropical upper tropospheric upper trough) will move along the Gulf Coast, and moisture should increase statewide. So, we will forecast scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms, with the best coverage over the southern half of Alabama. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.
SUNDAY: The TUTT will move west, and we should in a typical summer pattern with a mix of sun and clouds, and the risk of a passing shower or storm in spots, mainly during the afternoon and evening hours. The high should be in the 87-90 degree range.
NEXT WEEK: Our weather will depend on the behavior of Tropical Storm Chantal. The GFS brings the system across the Florida Peninsula and into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early in the week, with a second landfall around Panama City/Apalachicola by mid-week. Skill in forecasting a tropical system this far in advance is very low, and this solution might not be correct. I think the best solution for our part of Alabama at this point is a forecast toward climatology (partly sunny, humid days with scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and storms), and we can make changes as needed as we get clarity on Chantal.
CHANTAL: The tropical storm looks rather ragged this morning… it is moving so fast (25-30 mph) that the low level circulation is outrunning the convection. It will have to move right over Hispaniola tomorrow night, and the mountainous island will be a big obstacle. If it survives, the system should wind up over the Bahamas by the weekend, with a turn to the left thanks to a strong ridge north of the system in the Atlantic. The GFS shows landfall around Cape Canaveral early next week… then emerging into the Gulf of Mexico. We do note the intensity model guidance is more aggressive this morning, and NHC keeps Chantal as a tropical storm into the Bahamas. Still more questions than answers in terms of the effect on the Southeast U.S…. please see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.
GULF COAST WEATHER: About 5 to 7 hours of sunshine today and tomorrow, but lowering to 2 to 4 hours by Thursday and Friday due to the TUTT low. Each day there will be a risk of scattered showers and storms, and they should be a little more active Thursday/Friday. For the weekend, we project 3 to 5 hours of sunshine Saturday and Sunday with a few passing showers and thunderstorms. The weather on the coast next week will be determined by how Chantal behaves, and it is simply too early to know, just something to watch in coming days. Highs on the coast will be in the 80s, and the sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 81 degrees.
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I will be speaking to the Jefferson County Master Gardeners this morning… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!