Tropical Storm Erika has completely fallen apart this morning, the victim of wind shear and the mountainous terrain of the island of Hispaniola.
Reconnaissance into the storm was unable to find evidence of a closed circulation.
The system will continue northwest into the Gulf of Mexico and bring heavy rain to the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf Coast. Regeneration does not look likely.
Let me start off by stating that my confidence in this forecast is not particularly good! Why, you may ask? Well, we’ve got a tropical storm that the models have not been handling well in either intensity or track. Add to that the presence of a weak upper low spinning in the vicinity of Mobile, and you come up with a low confidence factor considering the weak intensity of all of these features. But, we dive into what we’ve got knowing that we’ll probably have to make adjustments down the road – but that’s the nature of meteorology!
A weak upper low was situated above Mobile early this morning, and that weak upper low will be spinning for the next several days as it meanders around the northern Gulf coast and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. It should provide enough lift over Central Alabama to make showers and thunderstorms likely this afternoon and evening. Showers were few and far between this morning, but as the day wears on, I think we’ll see showers become more numerous with increased coverage. Temperatures should stay down somewhat because of the presence of clouds and showers with highs in the middle 80s.
Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is not forecasting any areas of severe weather today with only marginal areas in parts of South and Southwest Florida because of the presence of Erika – or what may be left of Erika.
If you have plans to head to the beaches of Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida you will have to contend with daily shower chances for the week ahead. Temperatures along the beach from Dauphin Island to Apalachicola will be mainly in the upper 80s with morning lows in the middle 70s. Sea water temperature was running in the lower 80s with 85 being reported at Dauphin Island.
Then there’s Erika. Erika continues to defy forecasters as it moves nearly due west overnight. Erika remained disorganized as it continued to fight a hostile environment with substantial wind shear as well as the problems associated with moving over the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. The present projected track also means that Erika will have to deal with continued interaction with land as it basically moves northwestward right along Cuba. Erika is not presenting much of a wind or surge threat, fortunately, however, Erika presents a big threat in the heavy rainfall it will produce which may trigger landslides in Hispaniola and Cuba. If you can, read the forecast discussion from NHC which is peppered with words like “low confidence” and “difficult to locate.” NHC also did not issue any kind of watch or warning for Florida because of the tremendous uncertainty in the forecast of Erika, but I do expect to see some type of watch or advisory issued later today. Hopefully, an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft will be investigating Erika later this morning and that data will help provide a clearer picture of Erika’s physical condition.
Getting back to the GFS and Central Alabama, moisture levels drop somewhat as seen by precipitable water charts, so the level and coverage of showers should drop back after today and Sunday. It will be difficult if not downright improbable to be able to pick which days have the best chances of rain. The weak upper low will meander around the Lower Mississippi Valley for much of the week ahead plus we’ll have to contend with Erika, where it goes and just how strong it will be. So the forecast for much of the week ahead will include a mention of showers as a possibility nearly every day.
The good news from this scenario is that temperatures should stay mainly in the 80s. We could hit 90 or 91 again but that will depend on just how much cloud cover we have and how many showers develop in the heat of the afternoon.
The forecast uncertainty is not limited to the GFS guidance either. I browsed through a little of the ECMWF output and found that it, too, was having trouble discerning a track for Erika.
I’ll be keeping a close eye on our weather today, so you can check back here for later updates on what the weather holds for us. The next Weather Xtreme Video will be posted here on Sunday morning. Have a great day and Godspeed.
Strong storms over northern Shelby County near Pelham are moving northwest into the southern part of Jefferson County.
The peach colored polygon is a Significant Weather Alert.
They are not severe, but they are causing lots of lightning. The thunder is very loud. Rain is torrential as well, potentially causing some minor flash flooding.
It is affecting the Hoover HS game at the Met right now. Same for the Pelham-Thompson game.
It will take at least half an hour for the storm to move out of the area.
**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today due to travel**
RADAR CHECK: A few small, isolated showers have formed this afternoon, mostly south and east of Birmingham.
These showers will end soon after sunset, and most high school football stadiums won’t have any rain issues tonight.
Birmingham reports 86 degrees at 2:00… looks like today will be the 13th consecutive day with a high under 90 degrees.
THE WEEKEND: Moisture levels will deepen, and we will mention scattered showers and thunderstorms tomorrow and Sunday with a mix of sun and clouds both days. While most of the showers will come during the afternoon and evening hours, we can’t rule out a late night or morning shower or two. Highs over the weekend will be mostly in the mid 80s.
NEXT WEEK: We expect only widely scattered showers Monday through Wednesday with partly sunny days and highs between 87 and 90 degrees. The 12Z GFS hints that showers and storms could become more numerous by Thursday and Friday with deeper moisture.
ERIKA: The tropical storm, just south of Hispaniola, remains very disorganized this afternoon.
With continued wind shear, and interaction with the mountainous island, there is a very real chance that Erika won’t survive the next 12 hours.
If it does hang on, the ultimate track will be determined by it’s strength. If the system can get it’s act together and become better organized, it should turn northward into the Florida Peninsula by Monday, staying below hurricane strength (which is the official NHC track).
If the system remains a closed low, but stays weak and disorganized, the low level swirl will move into the Gulf of Mexico. There, the system will encounter 30 to 40 knots of deep layer shear, meaning it will most likely dissipate without bothering anyone.
One way or another this, most likely, won’t be an issue for Alabama. Here is the latest NHC track.
We will keep an close eye on it over the weekend, of course.
GULF COAST WEATHER: We are projecting about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores through early next week with a few scattered storms possible; highs on the coast will be in the upper 80s, with sea water temperatures in the mid 80s.
A little early for a specific Labor Day weekend forecast, but for now we don’t see anything to suggest high rain coverage. No signs of any tropical issues.
See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here. The Gulf Coast Beach Forecast is presented by Gulf Shores Plantation by Mandoki Hospitality Vacation Rentals. Escape to Gulf Shores Plantation where memories last a lifetime.
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Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday… my next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here bright and early Monday morning by 7:00. Enjoy the weekend!
Here are some of our favorite stories from our partners at Alabama NewsCenter from this past week, August 21 – 27, 2015.
Can’t Miss Alabama: This week’s summertime favorites include jazz, expos and a film festival – Here’s a look at the hottest happenings across the state this weekend.
Sidewalk Film Festival’s 17th year more diverse, local at same time – Films from more than two dozen countries join large Alabama-produced slate.
Homewood restaurant owners turn Katrina tragedy into triumph – A decade after hurricane, couple finds recipe for recovery in Alabama.
Katrina took her home in Mississippi, now she sells them in Birmingham – “I realize how hard it is to lose everything and not have a home of your own.” – Pye Parson
Blown from New Orleans by Katrina, family puts down roots in Alabama’s Wiregrass – Harolyn Benjamin went from helping others to being helped and is now helping others again.
Jasper couple left New Orleans, but the city has never left them – Kilgores now share a taste of Louisiana through Black Rock Bistro.
Regions Field attendance tops 400,000 for second straight season – Barons reach milestone in consecutive seasons for first time in more than 60 years.
Alabama Bright Lights: Curtis Saucier pays the love forward – “God gives special kids to special people.” – Curtis Saucier.
Russellville rocket team sets sights on NASA Student Launch program – Victory fuels the desire to compete in another major competition.
Brighter Minds: “Raising the bar by raising your hand” – “Education is the key to opening every door.” Margaret Morton, Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement
Motley: Changing the trajectory of education in Alabama requires engagement – Aspen Institute leader knows the importance of support.
How Alabama is matching workforce needs with state education – “Alabama business and industry have spoken and they’ve spoken loudly.” – Dr. Philip Cleveland
Playing it SAFE for Alabama families and education – Margaret Morton believes workforce development lies in family development.
100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die: Irondale Café – Check out this tasty Southern side dish featured this week.
Alabama Power Foundation accepting Students to Stewards grant applications – Program supports conservation education across Alabama.
Alabama Road Trips: On the trail of the pig – Alabama’s historic barbecue restaurants – Alabama “Q” has been around since the 1890s, but it’s never been bigger.
Southern Company/AGL Resources deal would create leading U.S. joint electricity-natural gas utility – Purchase is Alabama Power parent’s largest energy diversification acquisition.
Mercedes won’t exit Saints stadium pact with new Falcons deal – Automaker set to sponsor rivals’ venues in New Orleans and Atlanta.
Montgomery area children take in trick golf shots, First Tee values – Alabama Power Junior Clinic teaches while entertaining.
Women urged at Mobile forum to ‘step off that cliff’ – Shattering the Glass Ceiling encourages and challenges Alabama women.
Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic tees off with ‘extremely strong’ field – Top women in golf playing today through Sunday in Alabama.
Murphy vs. Baker among Alabama NewsCenter’s top high school football match-ups this week – A look at some Alabama high school football games you may want to take in this week.
At 1:09 pm the National Weather Service in Birmingham sent out a Public Information Statement to advise weather radio listeners in East Central Alabama that the NOAA Weather Radio broadcasting on 146.475 MHz from an antenna on Mt. Cheaha will be off the air for scheduled maintenance this afternoon.
Fortunately, there does not appear to be any serious weather to be concerned about. Alternatives include the Oneonta transmitter on 162.425 MHz or the Birmingham transmitter on 162.550 MHz.
I’ve included the full text of the message below.
NOUS44 KBMX 281809 PNSBMX ALZ011>015-017>050-290615- PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL 109 PM CDT FRI AUG 28 2015 ...ANNISTON NOAA WEATHER RADIO WILL BE OFF THE AIR... THE ANNISTON NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTER...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.475 MHZ...WILL BE OFF THE AIR FOR SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE THIS AFTERNOON. DURING THIS TIME FRAME THE RADIO MAY EXPERIENCE PERIODIC OUTAGES. THE TECHNICIANS WILL WORK AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE TO COMPLETE THE WORK AND GET THE AUDIO BACK UP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IN THE MEANTIME...PLEASE TUNE TO LOCAL MEDIA AND COMMERCIAL RADIO FOR THE LATEST WEATHER INFORMATION. BACKUP NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTERS ARE: ONEONTA...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.425 MHZ...AND BIRMINGHAM...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.550 MHZ. KEEP IN MIND THAT NOT ALL BACKUP TRANSMITTERS WILL TONE FOR YOUR SPECIFIC COUNTY...SO PLEASE STAY WEATHER AWARE DURING THE OUTAGE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS OUTAGE MAY CAUSE. $$