Archive for January 12th, 2014

Cloudless Sunday

| January 12, 2014 @ 2:52 pm


You can’t find a cloud anyway across the state on this Sunday.

If you travel southwestward, you would find a few clouds along the Louisiana coast, but you wouldn’t find heavier clouds until the Beaumont area. To the north, you would encounter heavier cloudiness around Indianapolis or to the northeast over West Virginia. Those clouds over Texas are building and moving northeast.

They will overspread Alabama tonight and skies will be cloudy by morning.

The nearest precipitation to Alabama is showers over eastern Texas. Those showers will arrive in western Alabama by sunrise. Overnight lows will be in the 40s.

Get ready for a rainy Monday,

Some Extreme Weather

| January 12, 2014 @ 9:08 am

Warmest in the Lower 48 States yesterday was 86F at Orlando, FL.

Coldest yesterday was -4F at Alamosa, CO. Only -1F this morning.

Warmest in the world (based on METAR observations only) was 104F at Paraburdoo, Australia.

Coldest in the world -47F was at Norman Wells, NT, Canada.

Highest wind gust was 88 kt at Mount Washington, NH (I’ve been there).


Remembering the 1982 Ice Storm

| January 12, 2014 @ 8:15 am


A powerful cold front moved through on Saturday, January 9, 1982, sending temperatures plummeting. The high on Saturday was 49F, but it was down to 27F by midnight and the mercury was in a free fall like I had never seen. It was bitterly cold all day on Sunday, with the mercury slowly inching through the teens along with a powerful north wind and a few snow flurries. But even more interesting things were on the way. The NOAA Weather Radio that morning gave the standard two day forecast with a three day extended outlook. It called for rain or snow Tuesday night. That is all that a snow fan needed to hear, and with temperatures expected to drop to near zero, the prospects of some wintry precipitation had to be promising.

The morning low on Monday was 2F. The 500 mb chart told the story. A huge vortex was over Quebec, and a cross polar flow was delivering cold air straight into the Southeast. The mercury struggled back up to 27F on Monday, but with the high close by Monday night, winds went dead calm and the mercury plunged to –1F at the Airport during the evening hours. But in response to developing low pressure in the Gulf, cloud cover increased, and by midnight, it was back up to a balmy 13F.

Morning forecasts on Tuesday, January 12th had called for a winter storm watch for occasional sleet and freezing rain that would arrive by sundown. By mid-morning, as freezing rain and sleet across South Alabama was spreading rapidly north, the watch was changed to a winter storm warning. The snow arrived about 8 hours earlier than anticipated in the Birmingham area and quickly changed over to a mix of freezing rain and sleet that turned roads in skating rinks. Thousands of motorists had to abandon their vehicles on roads and hike home or spend the night in shelters. One suburban shopping mall became a huge shelter. So many wrecks occurred that the Birmingham Police Department could not answer the calls for accident investigation.

As temperatures hovered near the freezing mark through the night, freezing rain created a thick coating on all exposed objects. Trees snapped, pulling down power lines and putting as many as 750,000 Alabamians in the dark. Travel became possible for a short while on Wednesday, as temperatures rose to just above freezing at lunch. But the sound of tree limbs snapping under the weight of the ice was like shotguns.

An upper level disturbance brought a nice snowfall on Wednesday night that led to some great sledding and snowball fights on Thursday. But when it was all said and done, twenty Alabamians were dead and another 300 injured and damage totaled $78 million.

Sunny Sunday but Wet Monday

| January 12, 2014 @ 7:20 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.

A surface high settles in over the Southeast US today, so even with a chilly start as temperatures dip near the freezing mark, plenty of sunshine should see afternoon highs climb into the middle and upper 50s, not quite as warm as yesterday, but still a bit above the 30-year average highs for this date. Vic Bell up in Black Creek reported a low of 27 this morning with a good frost. But the overall weather pattern remains very fast, so there is something new on the horizon just about everyday this week. These fast systems are sometimes referred to as clipper systems as the move by at a fast clip!

Clouds increase tonight and early Monday with some showers possible Monday morning but widespread rain and showers by afternoon and evening. There are some slight timing differences in the models but confidence is high that we’ll see rain in the afternoon and evening. Fortunately we remain somewhat mild with highs Monday again in the middle and upper 50s. The upper trough moves off the East Coast on Tuesday as another trough dives into the Central US. This diving short wave will bring another round of cold weather to the eastern US as we see the 540 height contour reach all the way to the Gulf Coast once again.

Wednesday morning we may see some snow showers or snow flurries as strong cold air advection occurs. Wednesday will be a raw kind of day with highs struggling to get out of the 30s. We should see some sunshine by afternoon as the clouds depart with the upper trough. Morning lows on Thursday morning will again drop back into the 20s. That trough moves into northern New England but yet another strong impulse digs into the Upper Midwest on Thursday and into the Southeast by Friday – did I mention that these systems are clipping right along!! Because of the rapid succession of these systems, it seems highly unlikely that we’ll see more than clouds since moisture will have a very hard time to recover. But the strong amplitude of the short wave moving through the long wave trough position Friday means another shot of cold air with lows Saturday morning falling back into the 20s. Saturday will be another relatively raw day with highs in the 40s.

Sunday the pattern dampens just a tad allowing Central Alabama to return to seasonal temperatures with lows around 32 and highs in the lower 50s.

The GFS continues to hammer away at a continuous parade of strong impulses moving through the overall long wave trough position. The pattern makes it difficult for moisture to make a significant return, but the strong impulse around the 24th could provide some winter weather mischief for the Southeast US. And it is followed quickly by another strong short wave with potential for winter mischief depending on moisture recovery. No rest for the folks in the weather department.

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
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Be sure to catch the latest weather forecast on ABC 3340 News at 5 and 10 pm today as I will be filling in for Ashley Brand. James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video bright and early Monday morning. Enjoy this gorgeous day and Godspeed.