Severe Storms Possible Tonight

| February 23, 2012 @ 6:15 am

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WARM FEBRUARY DAY: We are forecasting a high of 76 degrees today…which is within 6 degrees of the record high today (82 set in 1918), and way above the average high of 61. The sky will be partly sunny, and winds will increase out of the south.

The winter warmth will make the atmosphere unstable, and with the approach of a storm system, the stage is set for the potential of strong to severe thunderstorms across our state tonight. SPC maintains their standard “slight risk” of severe weather for the northern two-thirds of Alabama.

Most models are forecasting a moderate amount of instability, with surface based CAPE values near or a little over 500 j/kg. Shear values remain high, with 0-3 SRH (storm relative helicity) values over 400 m2/s2. With a decent capping inversion in place, it seems it will take the upper forcing to get the storms going tonight, which means there is decent chance the storms will be linear, and not cellular, meaning the main threat will come from hail and strong straight line winds. But, if any storms do happen to form ahead of the main line, an isolated tornado is certainly possible.

The main window for strong to severe storms is from about 6:00 tonight through 3:00 a.m. Friday.

TOMORROW: Any leftover showers should end pretty early in the day, and the sky becomes partly sunny with a cool breeze. Tomorrow’s high will be between 57 and 60 degrees, a little below average for late February.

OUR WEEKEND: Saturday still looks sunny and cool. We begin the day in the low to mid 30s, but rise into the mid 50s. Still a few questions about Sunday; I still think most of the day will be dry, but I get the idea we will need to mention some risk of a little light rain by mid to late afternoon, mainly south of Birmingham. The high Sunday should be near 60 with a general increase in clouds during the day.

NEXT WEEK: The first half of the week looks mild and showery; the most organized rain should come Wednesday, when some thunderstorms could be involved. See the Weather Xtreme video for more long range ideas and all of the graphics that go along with this discussion.

STORM ALERT 2012: Again a reminder our annual severe weather awareness tour rolls along. The show that was scheduled for tonight at Pleasant Valley High School in Calhoun County has been rescheduled for Monday March 5 (due to tonight’s severe weather threat). The next show will be in Cullman on Tuesday of next week, February 28, at 6:30. One of the featured stories we are doing this year is looking at the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak through the eyes of a child, featuring letters written by kids from East Elementary in Cullman.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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I will be spending the morning with other broadcast meteorologists, NWS personnel, and emergency managers in an IWT (integrated warning team) meeting in Shelby County… great to see all of the players in the warning process getting together to make the system better and stronger. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 3:30 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

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Category: Alabama's Weather

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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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