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Mid-Week Winter Storm Update

| 6:28 am March 1, 2015

This is an update of the potential for a winter storm across North Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday… please understand this far out the forecast is subject to big changes, but model consistency has been very good and confidence is growing in this forecast. As always, I encourage you to read the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts.

TIMING: After a good rain/thunderstorm event and a cold front passage, cold air advection will bring Arctic air into Alabama Wednesday with falling temperatures during the day. The high will be reached Wednesday morning, and we should be in the 30s by late afternoon. Temperatures will go below freezing across North/Central Alabama in the 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. time frame, and winter weather issues are likely from then through Wednesday night into Thursday morning.


PRECIPITATION TYPE: Unfortunately, the cold air will be shallow, and a layer of warmer air aloft between 5,000 and 10,000 feet will most likely set the stage for freezing rain, followed by a change to sleet and snow as the event winds down Thursday morning as the cold air deepens. Below is a forecast sounding for Birmingham for late Wednesday night.


Freezing rain is the worst kind of winter precipitation; that is simply rain in liquid form that falls when temperatures are below freezing.

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PLACEMENT: Current model data suggests the highest threat of freezing rain and icing issues will be along and north of I-20, but some impact is possible down to a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke by Thursday morning.

IMPACT: Where the freezing rain falls for a long duration (5-6 hours), this has the potential to be a high impact event. Even higher than the huge snow event that just happened last night (some had up to one foot of snow).Freezing rain coats exposed objects with ice, and the weight of the ice can bring down trees and power lines if the accumulation is great enough. At this early stage, we can’t forecast specific impact, but a significant ice storm is not out of the question with potential for power outages.

UNDERSTAND: This forecast can, and will change. Let’s hope we just have a cold rain, followed by a quick change to sleet and light snow and it ends with little impact. But, on the other hand, this could be a very high impact event for North, and maybe even parts of Central Alabama, Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Please check the blog often for updates as we get closer.

AND: Strong storms are possible before the cold air arrives Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, but poor lapse rates will limit instability and it doesn’t look like a major threat for now.

Brian will be along shortly with a new discussion and a Weather Xtreme video.


A Nice Saturday Afternoon

| 2:48 pm February 28, 2015

Overall, it is not a bad Saturday afternoon of weather in Central Alabama. We are seeing more sun than clouds, and that sunshine is warming things up this afternoon. There are clouds building back in over the Wiregrass Region of the state in the southeastern part of the state, and these are moving north. Elsewhere, there are a few areas of clouds, but for the most part, most of us are seeing a gorgeous afternoon.

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Where the sun is out, we are seeing mild temperatures for many locations as there are more 60s on the maps this afternoon. We do note a couple of things. It remains cooler in areas of the Tennessee Valley even though they are seeing plenty of sun, but some of the areas still have snow on the ground. The snow should finish melting away today, especially with temps in the 50s and 60s. Also, where there is cloud cover is in the Wiregrass Region, temps are being held down here as well.

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Heading into the overnight hours, we will see the clouds build in across the rest of state. Those clouds will prevent temps from dropping so low tonight, and many spots will stay in the lower 40s for overnight lows. Enjoy the warm weather and sunshine today; we are in for another active week of weather ahead.


Watching Wed Night/Thursday

| 12:07 pm February 28, 2015

After a review of morning model runs, concern is growing up over another winter storm situation for Alabama Wednesday night into Thursday. It is very important to note that at this time confidence in any specific solution is low. Things could change dramatically over the next two days and we could wind up with simply a cold rain with no ice or snow issues at all. That is a very real possibility. 

However… It is possible that a significant winter weather event could unfold for parts of Alabama, if not much of the state.

Unfortunately, this model solution from the GFS suggests that much of the precipitation will fall in the form of freezing rain across North Alabama… If indeed this is the case, that could lead to an ice storm. Or, precipitation could fall mostly in the form of rain or snow. We just don’t know what this point; it is too early to tell.

But there is enough confidence now to simply put the idea on the table, and to let you know of the possibility of some winter weather problems for Alabama Wednesday night into Thursday. Let’s hope this all goes away and we just wind up with rain. We will keep you posted in coming days…


Warmer Weather Returns

| 7:15 am February 28, 2015

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.

With February shaping up to be a rather chilly month, we should see our weather warm nicely into the 50s today, more typical for late February than we’ve been seeing. Clouds will persist for much of the day though we could see a few peeks of the sun during the afternoon. Radar was picking up a few returns this morning, but most of the light precipitation was not reaching the ground. Our Skywatchers in Northeast Alabama were reporting some very light snow.

A large surface high pressure to our northeast will help to create wedge conditions today and Sunday, but the upper flow becomes more zonal to southwesterly, so we should see the weather warm up a good deal with highs well into the 60s by Tuesday. A strong short wave will traverse the Ohio River Valley on Wednesday and Thursday and this will bring a cold front through Central Alabama with rain likely on Wednesday and temperatures dropping back into the 30s on Thursday.

The upper flow goes nearly zonal by Saturday so we should see temperatures recover nicely with readings back into the 50s by Saturday.

The pattern remains pretty active out into voodoo country with a series of short waves bringing us rain chances around the 10th and the 15th.

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 Bill Murray
Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted first thing on Sunday morning. Enjoy the warmer weather today and Godspeed.



Warmer Days Ahead

| 3:34 pm February 27, 2015

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.

THIS AFTERNOON: The sky has become sunny across the great state of Alabama; temperatures are mostly in the low 40s. The snow cover over North Alabama, while fading under the February sun, still shows nicely on visible satellite imagery this afternoon…


OUR WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be dry with a mix of sun and clouds; the high will be in the 52-55 degree range. Then, clouds increase Sunday, and we could see a little scattered light rain. Any rain Sunday should be light and spotty; a decent part of the day will be dry. The “wedge” could bring colder air into far East Alabama; communities near the Georgia border could hold in the 40s all day, but for the rest of the state the high will be in the 50s.

ACTIVE WEATHER NEXT WEEK: A cold front will be just north of the state Monday, and we will forecast occasional showers with a high at or just over 60 degrees. Then, on Tuesday, a deep surface low passes northwest of Alabama, and we will mention a chance of showers and storms for the northern half of the state. It will be a warm day with a high up in the low 70s… it still looks like the better risk of any severe thunderstorms will be north and west of Alabama.

WINTER WEATHER MISCHIEF? The 12Z GFS shows the cold front passing through Alabama Wednesday morning; the day will feature falling temperatures and periods of rain. And, like we really need this, it continues to hint at some potential for a “wintry mix” Wednesday night.


While this is not exactly “voodoo”, there is no way to resolve details of this potential so far in advance, and we might escape with no winter precipitation at all. We will keep a close eye on it over the weekend. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we will be in Hanceville next Tuesday evening. Just drop by anytime from 4:00 until 6:30… you can watch me do weather live on ABC 33/40, get some free stuff to take home, and have a chance to win several NOAA Weather Radios we will be giving away. If you need your weather radio programmed or checked, bring it by and we will be glad to help.


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…

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I had great visits today at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County, and West Blocton Elementary in Bibb County… be looking for those kids on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 and 6:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted early Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates here tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!


Looks Like a Chilly February

| 9:05 am February 27, 2015

February is rapidly coming to a close, and based on the first 26 days of the month, February, 2015, will go in the record books as one of our colder Februarys since 1900. These numbers are preliminary since we have to include today and tomorrow, but for the first 26 days, the average monthly highs was 50.0 degrees which would be the 13th coldest February. The monthly low temperature was not quite as bad with 28.9 degrees which would make it the 26th coldest February since 1900.

I’m definitely ready for some warmer weather!