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Line of Storms Splitting Apart, Severe Storms In South Alabama

| 4:31 pm April 27, 2016

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Showers and thunderstorms are currently over the northwestern part of the state in Lauderdale, Limestone, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence, Marion and Winston Counties. The rest of the heavy storm activity is located along and west of the I-65 corridor south of I-20.

A Severe Thunderstorm warning is in effect for eastern Lowndes County until 5:00 PM, and for northern Crenshaw and northeastern Butler counties until 4:45 PM.

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As expected, these storms have grown in intensity as we have reached and passed the most intense heating of the day. The SPC has actually removed sections of the state from the “Slight Risk” for severe weather for the rest of tonight, but much of southwest Alabama is still included.

Instability values are higher across the southern half of the state, with some CAPE readings in the 1500-3000 J/kg range. Values are much lower for areas north of the I-20 corridor. Shear values are still relatively low across the state, with much of the higher values still off to the west in Mississippi.

Looks like most of the storm activity will stay below the I-20 corridor with this round of storms, as the former line has broken apart, and the part to the north will be exiting the state to the northeast soon.

Almost the rest of the state is still under a “Marginal Risk” indicating isolated severe storms possible, but limited in duration, coverage, and intensity.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Montgomery County

| 4:29 pm April 27, 2016

Storms continue strong over South Central Alabama. One is over downtown Montgomery now. Hail and damaging winds are possible along with torrential rains and lightning.

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THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
NORTH CENTRAL MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 515 PM CDT

* AT 428 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER SOUTHWESTERN
MONTGOMERY…MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS AND QUARTER SIZE HAIL.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED.

IMPACT…HAIL DAMAGE TO VEHICLES IS EXPECTED. EXPECT WIND DAMAGE
TO ROOFS…SIDING…AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
MONTGOMERY…AUBURN UNIVERSITY IN MONTGOMERY…BOYLSTON…ALABAMA
STATE UNIVERSITY…GUNTER AIR FORCE BASE…BOB WOODRUFF LAKE…
MONTGOMERY RIVERWALK STADIUM…MONTGOMERY ZOO…LAGOON PARK…EASTDALE
MALL…ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL…TALLAPOOSA WATER PLANT AND MITYLENE.

THIS INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING HIGHWAYS…
INTERSTATE 65 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 168 AND 171.
INTERSTATE 85 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 1 AND 6.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Lowndes County

| 4:10 pm April 27, 2016

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Potentially severe thunderstorm near Calhoun in Lowndes County will move toward Letoatchee and Hayneville. Could eventually affect western parts of Montgomery. Hail and high winds along with lightning and torrential rains are the threats.

Elsewhere across Cetral Alabama, there are strong storms from Perry COunty through Dallas County into Lowndes, Butler, Crenshaw and into Covington Counties in South Alabama.

In the Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston and Gadsden areas: the storms parted to the north and south and missed Tuscaloosa. The Birmingham area is getting out light as well, with the storms mainly passing to the south. There is a cell building west of Calera in Shelby County. It will affect Calera and Columbiana with possible hail and strong winds.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
EASTERN LOWNDES COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 500 PM CDT

* AT 409 PM CDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR FORT DEPOSIT…
MOVING NORTH AT 25 MPH.

HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS AND HALF DOLLAR SIZE HAIL.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED.

IMPACT…HAIL DAMAGE TO VEHICLES IS EXPECTED. EXPECT WIND DAMAGE
TO ROOFS…SIDING…AND TREES.

* THIS SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR…
HAYNEVILLE AROUND 430 PM CDT.

OTHER LOCATIONS IMPACTED BY THIS SEVERE THUNDERSTORM INCLUDE MANACK…
CALHOUN AND LETOHATCHEE.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 65 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 142 AND 158.

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A Few Strong Storms Tonight

| 3:28 pm April 27, 2016

RADAR CHECK: Scattered showers, and a few strong thunderstorms are over West Alabama this afternoon… moving northeast…

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We will maintain the chance of showers and storms across Alabama tonight, with a very low end “marginal risk” of severe storms for most of the state. Stronger storms could produce some small hail and gusty winds, but with weakening upper support, the overall severe weather threat is low. Rain amounts tonight will average 1/4 to 1/2 inch, with isolated heavier amounts.

TOMORROW: A few lingering showers and storms are possible tomorrow morning, but the rain won’t be too widespread, and amounts should be light and spotty. Then, by afternoon, the best chance of rain shifts down into the southern half of the state. SPC has a “marginal risk” of severe weather outlooked for the southern counties…

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Drier air arrives over North Alabama tomorrow afternoon with a pretty decent amount of sunshine. We stay warm with high in the 80s.

FRIDAY: The day will be warm and dry with ample sunshine and a high in the mid to upper 80s. It will be one of the warmest days so far this year.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moisture levels increase Saturday, and we should see a few scattered showers and storms around. But, a decent part of the day should be dry with a mix of sun and clouds; the high will be in the mid 80s.

Showers and storms will increase in coverage Sunday with the approach of a surface low, but again it won’t be a total “wash out” with some decent breaks in the rain during the day. A strong storm is possible Sunday, but the overall threat of severe weather is low. Sunday’s high will be in the 77-81 degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Just a small risk of a stray shower Monday, dry Tuesday. Then, another risk of showers and storms returns on Wednesday, followed by cooler and drier air. Parts of North Alabama could see lows down in the 40s Thursday or Friday morning. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: Friday will be a beautiful day with a sunny sky, and afternoon temperatures well up into the 80s. Then, on Saturday, a passing shower or storm is certainly possible at the Superspeedway, but it won’t rain all day and they should get the Sparks Energy 300 in. The high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 80s.

The weather Sunday will be more problematic as showers and storms become more widespread. Still, it won’t rain all day, and there is a chance the GEICO 500 will run, but just be ready for delays. Sunday’s high at the Superspeedway will be close to 80 degrees.

APRIL 27, 2011 SPECIAL: Here is the one hour special on ABC 33/40 that aired last night…

AT THE BEACH: About 5 to 7 hours of sunshine on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach tomorrow and Friday with the risk of a few scattered showers or storms. Saturday will be partly to mostly sunny, then scattered storms are possible Sunday. Highs in the 70s along the immediate coast, with 80s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

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.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

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Showers and Storms Moving into West Alabama; Not Severe For Now

| 1:41 pm April 27, 2016

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Showers and thunderstorms have moved into West Alabama this afternoon. They currently cover parts of Pickens, Sumter, Greene and Choctaw Counties. An arc of storms extends back through Columbus MS to near Houston MS and Tupelo. These storms will move into parts of Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Marion and Winston Counties over the next two-three hours.

Storms are more widespread and stronger over southeastern Mississippi south of Meridian. These storms will rotate up into Choctaw, Marengo, Hale and Perry Counties eventually.

The storms should grow in coverage and intensity as we get into the most intense heating of the day.

The storms are no severe at this time, but some of them could be quite strong. Instabilities are currently running 1,000-2,000 joules/kg across the northern half of the state, with the higher values to the south. Currently, wind shear values are very low, but that will change somewhat this afternoon as stronger winds at about 5,000 feet move in from Mississippi.

The SPC has the western tier of counties in their standard slight risk severe weather outlook, which means scattered severe storms are possible, including short lived and not widespread intense storms are possible. There is very low probability of a tornado in the slight risk counties, which include Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Pickens, Greene and Sumter.

The rest of the state is included in their marginal risk forecast, indicating isolated severe storms possible, but limited in duration, coverage and intensity.

So, there likely will be a few warnings, with the best chance over the western part of the state. A severe thunderstorm watch continues for southern Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana. This could be shifted over into our state as well, although that is not a certainty.

TIMING
The main storms should reach Tuscaloosa between 230-3 p.m.; Birmingham around 5 p.m.; Gadsden around 6 p.m. and Anniston around 6:30 p.m. Remember, your actual times may vary, so check back frequently and keep an eye on the radar.

We will be posting frequently throughout the afternoon as we keep an eye on the storms.

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Wednesday Midday Nowcast For North/Central Alabama

| 10:43 am April 27, 2016

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At this hour, radar is quiet and temperatures are in the 70s across North/Central Alabama. Most of the action across the country is located back to the southwest in southeastern Arkansas, central Louisiana, and along the Mississippi River on the Mississippi state line. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 3 PM CDT for much of southwest Mississippi and eastern Louisiana.

ACROSS THE STATE: Skies are mostly clear across much of north Alabama, with more clouds across the central and southern parts of the state. Here is a list of temperature readings from across the state at this time:

Birmingham 75
Tuscaloosa 69
Muscle Shoals 77
Huntsville 77
Anniston 78
Alexander City 73
Montgomery 78
Dothan 71
Mobile 79

HRRR (left) & NAM4k (right) valid at 5PM CDT.

HRRR (left) & NAM4k (right) valid at 5PM CDT.

TODAY & TONIGHT: The latest HRRR model run has organized showers and thunderstorms moving into western Alabama during the early afternoon hours, while the Hi-Res NAM is still showing mostly dry conditions until later tonight. I believe most of the day will be dry, but a chance of showers and thunderstorm are possible this afternoon and tonight.

Day 1 Outlook

The SPC has the extreme western counties of Alabama under a “Slight Risk” for severe storms, with a “Marginal Risk” for the rest of the state. Stronger storms could produce small hail and gusty winds, but the overall severe threat is low.

TOMORROW: We’ll need to maintain some risk of showers/storms through tomorrow, but drier air begins to flow into North Alabama during the morning, and by afternoon the best coverage of rain will shift down into the southern half of the state. The SPC has a “marginal risk” of severe storms defined for most of Central and South Alabama; again small hail and gusty winds are the main issues. Instability values rise to very high levels tomorrow afternoon ahead of the surface front (CAPE values to 4,000 j/kg), but dynamic support will weaken during the day.

TALADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY: Friday will be a warm and beautiful day, with sunny skies and afternoon temperatures well up into the 80s. Another warm day is in store for Saturday, but a passing shower or thunderstorm is possible. It won’t rain all day and the Sparks Energy 300 should be completed. Highs on Saturday will be in the mid 80s. Showers and thunderstorms become more widespread on Sunday. It shouldn’t rain all day long and there is a chance that the GEICO 500 will run, just be ready for delays. Highs on Sunday will be close to 80.

APRIL 27 2011 SPECIAL: You can watch our one hour special here. It was on this date five years ago that 62 tornadoes killed 252 people in our state during a generational tornado outbreak.

WEATHERBRAINS: 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. You can find it here.

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A Few Storms Late Today And Tonight

| 6:38 am April 27, 2016

QUIET MORNING: Temperatures are mostly in the 60s across North/Central Alabama early this morning, and the radar is quiet.

We rise into the 80s again today with a partly sunny sky. We will mention the risk of a shower or storm this afternoon or tonight, but the short range mesoscale models are really struggling with this pattern. The HRRR model brings in an organized batch of storms this afternoon, while the 4km NAM keeps it mostly dry. I get the idea most of today will be dry, but we will certainly mention that chance of a shower or thunderstorm this afternoon and tonight. SPC has defined a “slight risk” of severe storms for the far northwest corner of the state, with a “marginal risk” elsewhere; this outlook runs through 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

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Stronger storms could produce some small hail and gusty winds, but the overall severe weather threat is low through tonight.

TOMORROW: We will need to maintain some risk of showers/storms through tomorrow, but drier air begins to flow into North Alabama during the morning, and by afternoon the best coverage of rain will shift down into the southern half of the state. Instability values rise to very high levels tomorrow afternoon ahead of the surface front (CAPE values to 4,000 j/kg), but dynamic support will weaken during the day.

SPC has a “marginal risk” of severe storms defined for most of Central and South Alabama; again small hail and gusty winds are the main issues.

FRIDAY: The day will be warm and dry with a good supply of sunshine; we rise into the mid to upper 80s by afternoon. It will be one of the warmest days so far this year.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Another storm system west of the state will organize, and moisture moves northward Saturday with some risk of showers. But, a decent part of the day should be dry, and temperatures once again will rise into the 80s by afternoon.

Showers and storms become more numerous Sunday as the weather system to the west gets closer. It won’t rain all day, but no doubt it will be wet at times. A strong storm is possible, but the overall severe weather threat looks rather low, and rain amounts should be in the 1/2 to 3/4″ range for most places. The high Sunday will be close to 80 degrees.

NEXT WEEK: Just a few lingering showers Monday, but the weather trends drier and cooler. Tuesday looks bright and sunny with lower humidity and a high in the 70s. A chance we see early morning lows down in the 40s later in the week… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: Not much change in our thinking. Friday will be a beautiful day with a sunny sky, and afternoon temperatures well up into the 80s. Then, on Saturday, a passing shower or storm is certainly possible at the Superspeedway, but it won’t rain all day and they should get the Sparks Energy 300 in. The high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 80s.

The weather Sunday will be more problematic as showers and storms become more widespread. Still, it won’t rain all day, and there is a chance the GEICO 500 will run, but just be ready for delays. Sunday’s high at the Superspeedway will be close to 80 degrees.

AT THE BEACH: About 5 to 7 hours of sunshine on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach each day through Friday with the risk of a few scattered showers or storms. Saturday will be partly to mostly sunny, then scattered storms are possible Sunday. Highs in the 70s along the immediate coast, with 80s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

APRIL 27 2011 SPECIAL: You can watch our one hour special here. It was on this date five years ago that 62 tornadoes killed 252 people in our state during a generational tornado outbreak.

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.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be doing a safety program today at ALAGASCO in Anniston… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

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Active Weather Ahead

| 3:35 pm April 26, 2016

ON THE MAPS: A large scale upper trough is lifting out of the western U.S., interacting with a very volatile airmass across the nation’s heart land. A significant outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes is likely over the next 8 hours from Nebraska south through parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Severe storms are also possible in the broad zone from St. Louis to Philadelphia near a surface warm front.

IN ALABAMA: It is a dry and warm afternoon so far with temperatures in the 80s; so far no showers have formed… but we will maintain the risk of isolated showers for the rest of the afternoon and tonight.

To the north, we are watching a cluster of severe storms just east and south of St. Louis; if this holds together it could push into far North Alabama late tonight, but it will be weakening. Most of the state will be dry tonight.

TOMORROW/THURSDAY: For Alabama another warm day with a high in the low to mid 80s; a few showers or storms could pop during the afternoon and evening hours, but they should be widely scattered. But, tomorrow night and Thursday we expect a slow increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms ahead of the upper trough and surface front. SPC has defined a “slight risk” of severe storms for far West Alabama, from Muscle Shoals down to Hamilton and Cuba (in Sumter County), and a “marginal risk” for much of the rest of the state in their “Day 2” outlook, which runs through 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

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Model consistency has not been good, making for a lower confidence forecast. We will need to broad brush the chance of a few strong storms from about midnight tomorrow night through the daytime hours Thursday. Showers and storms should diminish from northwest to southeast during the afternoon hours Thursday as drier air slips into the state.

Understand the rain won’t be too widespread, but just be ready for a few showers or strong storms. The main threats will come form small hail and gusty winds. The tornado threat is very low, but not zero.

The high Thursday will be in the 82-85 degree range.

FRIDAY: This day looks warm and dry; a decent chance we see upper 80s in spots by afternoon, making it one of the warmest days so far this year.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather stays warm Saturday with a high in the mid 80s; the day will feature a mix of sun and clouds, and a few scattered showers or storms are possible, but a decent part of the day should be dry.

Then, we expect an increase in the number of showers and storms Sunday. It won’t rain all day, but rain is likely at times. A strong storm is certainly possible, and we will need to monitor atmospheric conditions for severe weather potential. It is very difficult to be specific this far in advance with such a complex pattern. Sunday’s high will be in the 78-81 degree range.

NEXT WEEK: Forecast confidence remains low, but we will maintain the chance of lingering showers Monday, but drier and cooler air drops in here Tuesday and Wednesday. Some spots could reach the 40s by early Wednesday or Thursday morning… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: Friday will be a beautiful day with a sunny sky, and afternoon temperatures well up into the 80s. Then, on Saturday, a passing shower or storm is certainly possible at the Superspeedway, but it won’t rain all day and they should get the Sparks Energy 300 in. The high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 80s.

The weather Sunday will be more problematic as showers and storms become more widespread. Still, it won’t rain all day, and there is a chance the GEICO 500 will run, but just be ready for delays. Sunday’s high at the Superspeedway will be close to 80 degrees.

AT THE BEACH: Just a few widely scattered showers or storms tomorrow and Thursday, otherwise dry weather through Saturday with highs in the 70s on the immediate coast, with 80s inland. Showers and storms will arrive Sunday… See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

APRIL 27, 2011 ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Join us this evening at 6:00 on ABC 33/40 for a one hour special as we look back at the generational tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011 that killed 252 people in Alabama. You will see some very powerful stories.

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.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

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The View From Above by Satellite Sheldon

| 1:30 pm April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016 Alabama Satellite Weather Blog

Special to the AlabamaWX Blog by Satellite Meteorologist Sheldon Kusselsson

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Tuesday Midday Nowcast for Central Alabama

| 11:58 am April 26, 2016

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Mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies are across the state at this hour. This is allowing temperatures to rise nicely in the area, making it a really nice day outside. Here are temperature readings from across the state at this hour:

Birmingham 77
Tuscaloosa 76
Muscle Shoals 81
Huntsville 80
Anniston 76
Montgomery 81
Dothan 75
Mobile 80

TO THE WEST: A major severe weather situation develops from southern Nebraska down into Texas; a “moderate risk” is defined for this zone, where storms late today and tonight could produce large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. A few violent, long track tornadoes are not out of the question based on the projected combination of instability and shear.

HRRR Model Run for later today and tonight.

HRRR Model Run for later today and tonight.

REST OF TODAY: Moisture levels will start to increase today, and there could be a risk for a few showers this afternoon and into the evening hours. The latest HRRR model run has widely scattered showers developing over much north and western parts of the state. Otherwise, skies will remain partly sunny with highs reaching the mid 80s.

TONIGHT: A thunderstorm complex (MCS) will approach Alabama from the north, we will insert a risk of showers and storms for late tonight, mainly over the northern third of the state. These storms should be weakening and severe weather is not expected. The sky will be mostly fair for the southern two-thirds of the state tonight.

TOMORROW: A decent part of the day should remain dry and warm, with temperatures reaching the 80s by afternoon. A big weather system currently located over the central U.S. will get closer, and showers and thunderstorms will become likely late tomorrow night and into Thursday. The SPC has placed the northwest corner of the state in a “Slight” risk for severe weather, with a “marginal” risk along and west of a line from Scottsboro to Clanton to Jackson.

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A weakening trend should be occurring as these storms move into the state, but some hail and gusty winds will be possible from tomorrow night into early Thursday. Main window for these storms will be a 12 hour period from midnight tomorrow night through noon on Thursday.

APRIL 27, 2011 ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Join us this evening at 6:00 on ABC 33/40 for a one hour special as we look back at the generational tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011 that killed 252 people in Alabama. You will see some very powerful stories.

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. You can find it here. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

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From Austin, With Love

| 7:00 am April 26, 2016

This is a guest essay from a native Alabamian now living in Texas.

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I didn’t sense any danger on April 27 until I tried to pry the Regions Bank door open and noticed the handwritten note – “Closed due to inclement weather.”

My mom had called that morning from her job at Children’s Hospital to warn me of the storms headed our way from Mississippi and the seriousness of the events ahead of us. I listened, but didn’t feel the need to cancel the frozen yogurt date with my future roommate I had set for later that afternoon.

I didn’t feel concern during class later that day, or at the late, celebratory lunch at Newk’s with my friend Hannah as we acknowledged our last public speaking class had finally come to an end.

But here at the campus branch of Regions Bank, a brief wave of concern hit me when I realized I needed to get serious about the impending weather headed toward us that day.

I canceled the afternoon’s roommate date and immediately called my boyfriend, Adam, who didn’t answer. He must be napping, I thought.

Growing up in Alabama, I was among those that felt fairly comfortable at the beginning of that bright, Tuscaloosa day. I had stayed up many a night in my family’s basement back in Birmingham, the neon light from our old, deep-set TV blaring as James Spann walked across the screen in a stark white button down and suspenders. I knew the drill.

Remember sitting in the hallway as kindergarteners, learning the actual tornado drill? Knees up, head down. Concrete cinder blocks against your back.

When the power went out at Adam’s Alberta apartment, I got very anxious. I wasn’t in my parents’ underground basement with our go-to, window-less spot steps away from me.

So when I felt my nervous system kicking into gear, I ran out onto the second floor, wrap-around porch at Arlington Square Apartments and observed the sky, not realizing the tornado James Spann had just spotted in downtown Tuscaloosa was only minutes from where I stood.

Thankfully, I spied a group of students running out of their house below me, headed toward a cellar door around the backside of the old, one-story building. One of them saw me and yelled, “It’s behind you!” I called out for Adam and we ran down the steep wooden steps toward our newfound, one-time-use, go-to spot.

I remember Adam trying to lock-up the apartment before we ran to join the others. Today, I find that funny.

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Five years ago, April 27 began – and went – very differently for each of us. You may have been a student in class when things got serious for you, or listening to James Spann in the comfort of your go-to spot, or working through the storms with only snippets of information about the disaster that rocked our state (and much of the South) that day.

Regardless of your individual, very real experience, I believe we are all bound by the tragedy of it all. No matter if you experienced “real” loss that day, we all had our world as we knew it changed. If only by a little bit.

What I hope and wish for all of us as I reflect on that day is that each of you feel more whole today than you did five years ago. I know for some, especially those experiencing loss of a loved one, that may still seem impossible. And that’s okay.

On this poignant anniversary day, I believe it’s important to pause and reflect. Remember the moments that are forever penned in our minds. Moments of sadness, shock and fear; with moments of gratefulness, love and hope intermingled.

Being away from Alabama today is very difficult for me. Even though I am no longer a resident of Alabama the Beautiful, I carry the spirit of all of us Alabamians with me always. Being a Crimson Tide fan, I’ve always felt pride. But, after 4/27/11, I have felt a sense of connection to the state and its residents that I have never felt before. Today, I feel a great need to send my sincerest thanks to those named and nameless that touched mine and Adam’s heart that day, and in the fragile time following that somber life event.

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I was always taught to send a prompt thank-you note after someone did something nice for me as a child. This one is five years late, so apologies in advance for the belatedness –

Dear Alabama,

I’m writing to thank you – and your courageous residents – for the overwhelming help you sent mine and Adam’s way five years ago. Knowing you were going through quite a rough time yourself, the sincere gestures mean the world to us.

I will try to shy away from naming any specific individuals for fear of missing a special someone, but I would like to at least call out the following groups in gratitude:

To Mr. James Spann, you saved both ours and many others’ lives five years ago. Words truly cannot express the amount of appreciation we have for you and ABC 33/40 for the in-depth coverage and preparation you gave us. Also, Texas needs you, Mr. Spann. My expectations for meteorologists have been set far too high.

To Adam’s neighbors, thank you for inviting us into your go-to spot that terrifying afternoon. You could have easily focused on the safety of yourself and your friends, but you called out to me. You were our heroes that day, and for that I am eternally thankful. I would also like to apologize for not sending this thank-you to each of you sooner.

To the deaf couple I spent most of my post-tornado moments with, thank you for reminding me what matters most in a time when we both needed it the most. I will never forget either of you, or the love you showed me. I’m so glad I was able to see you a few days after the tornado when you ventured back to the spot that forever changed our lives with your family from Florida. I hope you’re both doing well. You deserve the world.

To the first responders, you are the true heroes of April 27. I saw so many putting their own lives on the line to save another that day. And I heard of many more in the days following. I am humbled by your acts of sincere love and kindness. Thank you.

To the Crimson White, thank you for covering this important event for our university and town. Two of your best reporters were some of the first people we saw after leaving our disaster area that day, and your coverage of our story helped aide our healing process. Thank you for doing the difficult thing that day and being true journalists when some of you were suffering from loss yourselves.

To The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa (one in the same, in my heart), thank you for treating each student as family in the days, weeks and months of recovery that year. I would like to specifically call-out the Advertising and Public Relations Department, as well as, the School of Engineering for being our places of refuge in our remaining years at UA. You treated us as normal students and made our previous dreams still a reality for us despite the setbacks felt following such a traumatic event. Thank you also to Mayor Maddox and the leadership at UA for your efforts to pull our town back together as smoothly, and thoughtfully, as possible.

To the volunteers and donors, thank you for sacrificing your time and showing us and many other strangers such generosity. Thanks to UA for setting up the UA Acts of Kindness fund that contributed to Adam’s needs not covered by FEMA. Thanks to the out-of-towners that spent their spring break helping piece together our state, too.

To the Prattville couple we never met, thank you for gathering Adam’s childhood keepsakes you found scattered around the rubble. I’ll never forget the day we drove up to the site and saw the pile neatly gathered and set aside for us to find.

To our families, thank you for the love and support you still give us as we deal with the trauma of April 27. To Adam’s family specifically, thank you for providing us a temporary home as we shuffled back and forth with your borrowed cargo van to gather remnants of our things. Thank you also for replacing Adam’s FJ Cruiser. Seeing his face lit-up with the replacement of this specific item lost still brings me much joy.

To the 2011-2012 Alabama Football team, I know we get teased for our unwavering obsession with you, but I don’t care. I truly believe you gave so many people the hope they were looking for as you soared through an incredible season and breathed life into a town hurting so deeply. I cried when we lost to LSU, and cried when we beat them in the game that counted the most.

I would also like to thank three groups of friends – the friends I abandoned, the friends that helped me piece through life immediately following 4/27/11, and the new friends that support me today. I still don’t fully know how I truly was the summer and year after April 27. I was not very aware of myself – I only knew I felt very little pleasure as I grappled with fear, guilt and depression. To my current and future roommates at the time, I apologize for straight-up abandoning you as I clung to Adam for support. I know that was not what you signed-up for and I’m sorry. To the Avanti orientation team at UA that worked with me every day that summer, I’m sorry for being the least-dedicated, emotionally numb team member. I thank you for understanding my need for space, random spouts of neediness and tears, and the low-level anger I felt every day. Thank you specifically to those that helped me in the week Adam was out of town competing with his engineering team at NASA. It’s silly to think about it now, but I truly didn’t know how to cope with being away from him that week. The day-trip to Six Flags was literally one of the happiest moments of my summer and I thank you for treating me with extra care as I had a mini-panic attack when we almost drove past Alberta on the way home to UA. To my new Austin friends, thank you for the support and encouragement. Thank you for always having an open heart when I rant about random things as I continue to struggle with doubt, anxiety and fear. Thank you especially to my therapist, Priscilla, for helping me be courageous.

Lastly, to my husband Adam, thank you for being my strength in this winding road to recovery. For turning April 27, 2012 into a day of possibility. For taking April 30, 2011 off to ensure we celebrated my birthday, even though you missed meeting the President visiting your apartment.

Roll Tide, War Eagle, etc.

Yours forever,
Jessica

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Jessica Melton lives in Austin, Texas and would like to send a special thank you to Taylor Holland and her entire Austin family for the encouragement and support in writing this piece.

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Complex Forecast Through The Weekend

| 6:42 am April 26, 2016

ANOTHER WARM DAY: Temperatures rise into the low to mid 80s across Alabama later today with a partly sunny sky. Moisture levels will increase a bit, and we note the high resolution HRRR model shows a few isolated, small showers across the northern half of the state this afternoon. We will amend the forecast to include the risk of a few showers this afternoon and into the evening hours, maybe even some thunder in spots. But, many communities will stay dry.

TO THE WEST: A major severe weather situation develops from southern Nebraska down into Texas; a “moderate risk” is defined for this zone, where storms late today and tonight could produce large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. A few violent, long track tornadoes are not out of the question based on the projected combination of instability and shear.

TONIGHT IN ALABAMA: A thunderstorm complex (MCS) will approach Alabama from the north, we will insert a risk of showers and storms for late tonight, mainly over the northern third of the state. These storms should be weakening and severe weather is not expected. The sky will be mostly fair for the southern two-thirds of the state tonight.

TOMORROW/THURSDAY: The big weather system over the Central U.S. will get closer, but a decent part of the day should be dry and warm; temperatures again will reach the 80s by afternoon. Any showers during the day will be few and far between, but showers and storms become more likely late tomorrow night into Thursday morning. We do note that SPC has pulled the standard “slight risk” of severe weather into the northwest corner of our state, with a “marginal risk” along and west of a line from Scottsboro to Clanton to Jackson…

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There should be a weakening trend as the storms move into Alabama, but some hail is possible along with gusty winds late tomorrow night into early Thursday. The main window for storms will be from about 12:00 midnight tomorrow night through 12:00 noon Thursday; rain amounts of around 1/2 inch are likely.

Drier air arrives Thursday afternoon with a clearing sky.

FRIDAY: For now the day looks warm and dry; with a good supply of sunshine we rise into the mid to upper 80s by afternoon… it should be one of the warmest days so far this year.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Another spring storm system to the west will approach. We will need to mention the risk of a passing shower or storm Saturday, but it certainly won’t rain all day, and the sun should be out at times. Just about impossible to give you a specific time a shower or storm will pass through your neighborhood. Expect a high in the mid 80s Saturday afternoon.

Showers and storms become more widespread Sunday. And, models are a little more aggressive with the dynamic support, meaning we will have to watch for potential for strong, maybe severe thunderstorms by afternoon. In a complex pattern like this, there is no way we can resolve details now, but no doubt the day could very well be stormy at times.

NEXT WEEK: The latest GFS runs keep the weather unsettled Monday and Tuesday with a chance of showers and storms both days, followed by much cooler air over the latter half of the week. Looks like we will get a morning or two with lows down in the 40s; see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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RACE WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA: Friday will be a beautiful day with a sunny sky, and afternoon temperatures well up into the 80s. Then, on Saturday, a passing shower or storm is certainly possible at the Superspeedway, but it won’t rain all day and they should get the Sparks Energy 300 in. The high Saturday afternoon will be in the mid 80s.

The weather Sunday will be more problematic as showers and storms become more widespread. Still, it won’t rain all day, and there is a chance the GEICO 500 will run, but just be ready for delays. Sunday’s high at the Superspeedway will be close to 80 degrees.

AT THE BEACH: Just a few widely scattered showers or storms tomorrow and Thursday, otherwise dry weather through Saturday with highs in the 70s on the immediate coast, with 80s inland. Showers and storms will arrive Sunday… See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

APRIL 27, 2011 ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: Join us this evening at 6:00 on ABC 33/40 for a one hour special as we look back at the generational tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011 that killed 252 people in Alabama. You will see some very powerful stories.

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. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I will be speaking to the senior adults at First Baptist Church of Sylacauga today… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

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