Wet Early, Cooler Sunday

| March 18, 2017 @ 7:02 am

Starting out the weekend with some wet weather draped across North and Central Alabama just ahead of a cold front moving through the Southeast US. The main band of showers was located as I began writing this post from Centre to Cullman to Haleyville. The showers were moving fairly briskly southeastward and will likely clear most of Central Alabama by late morning or very early afternoon. There is just enough instability for a scattered thunderstorm or two, but the radar across Alabama was free of any lightning at 6:30 am. After the front clears your location, the sky will remain cloudy for several hours, but we could see some peeks at the sun by late afternoon. Highs will be in the 60s. Overnight lows will drop back considerably as compared to the last couple of days with lows around the 40-degree mark by sunrise Sunday morning.

It looks like the weather will be terrific this week along the beaches! Highs are expected to be in the lower 70s with lows in the middle and upper 50s. For a detailed look at the weather from Fort Morgan over to Panama City Beach, click here to see our Beach Forecast Center page. Save Up To 25% on Spring Break Beach Vacations on the Alabama Gulf Coast with Brett/Robinson! The Beach Forecast is partially underwritten by the support of Brett/Robinson Vacation Rentals in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Click here to see Brett/Robinson’s best beach offers now!

An upper trough digs sharply along the East Coast today and tonight while the cold front moves steadily southeastward out into the Atlantic. Sunday will be dry for Alabama with sunshine, but the coolish air in our northwesterly flow pattern will hold temperatures to the range of about 58 to 62. The surface high will settle into Northwest Florida by Monday morning, so we’ll see another chilly morning as everyone heads back to work with lows again around 40 degrees while those cooler valley locations will dip into the 30s. There may be some pockets of frost, but I am not looking for a widespread freeze.

Monday and Tuesday we see an upper trough as the main feature in our weather, so we stay dry as temperatures warm with highs getting into the 70s. A very subtle disturbance moving through the ridge Wednesday will help to push a weak frontal zone into Central Alabama on Wednesday. Wednesday will see a mix of clouds and sun with small chances for a passing shower. Showers will be fairly sparse, so I expect most of us to remain dry, but a shower is possible. The passage of the frontal zone on Wednesday will drop temperatures back into the middle 60s.

It’s another upper ridge for us on Thursday and Friday. By Friday the ridge axis is located along the East Coast, so we come under southwesterly flow which will warm us up and increase moisture substantially. Friday we’ll also see moisture increase as the surface flow comes around to the south as the surface high moves off into the Atlantic. This will set the stage for the potential for some severe weather from late Friday into Saturday across the Central and Southeast US. A vigorous short wave near Amarillo, TX, on Friday at 1 pm will move rapidly eastward with the trough axis reaching a line from the eastern Great Lakes to about Birmingham by 1 pm on Saturday. While much too early to generate a specific severe weather forecast, the pattern does suggest the potential for severe storms. CAPE values reach values in the range of 1400 to 1900 j/kg ahead of the front at 1 pm on Saturday across Alabama. However, it also appears that the shear is not in phase with the best instability. So we’ll need to keep a watchful eye on how future model runs shape up for this event. Friday and Saturday high temperatures should be in the 70s.

Looking out into voodoo country, a strong upper ridge over the eastern two-thirds of the country n March 27th promises a big dose of warm weather for a large chunk of the eastern US. But the ridge doesn’t block the parade of upper troughs with one forecast around the 29th and another around the 31st. Another substantial ridge around April 2nd promises a warm start to April.

I will be filling in for Meaghan Thomas on ABC 3340 at 6 and 10 pm today, so be sure to catch the weather segment with the latest forecast. I anticipate having the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here first thing Sunday morning. Enjoy the day and stay dry. Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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