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Birmingham NOAA Weather Radio Down

| 9:53 am April 21, 2014

The National Weather Service posted the message below this morning, so if you listen to the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast from the Birmingham transmitter, it is currently off the air. Due to the overlap in transmitter coverage, you may be able to pick up another nearby broadcast. But as noted in the message, that alternative transmitter may not broadcast warnings for your county. Fortunately, showers and perhaps an isolated thunderstorm tomorrow are not expected to be severe.

NOAA Weather Radio samplings

-Brian-

NOUS44 KBMX 211422
PNSBMX
ALZ011>015-017>050-221800-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
922 AM CDT MON APR 21 2014

...BIRMINGHAM NOAA WEATHER RADIO IS OFF THE AIR...

THE BIRMINGHAM NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTER...BROADCASTING ON A
FREQUENCY OF 162.550 MHZ...IS OFF THE AIR.

WE ARE WORKING WITH TECHNICIANS TO GET IT BACK UP AND RUNNING AS
SOON AS POSSIBLE. PARTS ARE ON ORDER. WE ARE HOPING TO HAVE THE
RADIO BACK IN OPERATION BY WEDNESDAY...BUT IT MAY TAKE UNTIL AS
LONG AS THURSDAY OR FRIDAY TO COMPLETE THE NECESSARY REPAIRS. IN
THE MEANTIME...PLEASE TUNE TO LOCAL MEDIA AND COMMERCIAL RADIO FOR
THE LATEST SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION. BACKUP NOAA WEATHER RADIO
TRANSMITTERS ARE:

TUSCALOOSA...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.400 MHZ...
ONEONTA...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.425 MHZ...AND
ANNISTON...BROADCASTING ON A FREQUENCY OF 162.475 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.

$$

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Weather Radio Programming – Bessemer

| 9:15 am April 21, 2014

The ABC 3340 Weather Team will be helping folks program their weather radios this coming Wednesday at the Publix store on Promenade Parkway in Bessemer from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. If you have a weather radio – or need to purchase a new weather radio – and you want to be sure it is programmed correctly, we can help. Just bring it by Publix in Bessemer this coming Wednesday, and ABC 3340 folks will be there to make sure you are ready for whatever Spring 2014 throws at us.

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As an added bonus, you can see James Spann broadcasting the weather live from there or see our new full-sized cardboard cut out of him!

Bessemer not convenient? We’ll also be making stops in Pell City at Publix on April 30, in Gadsden at Academy Sports on May 7, and in Hoover at Publix on May 14.

Hope to see you there.

-Brian-

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Dry/Warm Today; Showers Return Tomorrow

| 6:22 am April 21, 2014

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.

CLOUDS SLOWLY INCREASING: We begin this day with temperatures mostly in the low 50s at daybreak; we rise into the upper 70s today with a partly sunny sky, although clouds will gradually increase. To the west, active weather is expected over Texas where SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather up for cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco.

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TOMORROW: A surface front will bring the chance of showers and thunderstorms to the state. Thankfully there is very limited dynamic support, and severe weather is not expected. Rain amounts will be in the 1/4 to 1/2 inch range. No “all day” rain, but a few passing showers and storms are likely. The sky will be mostly cloudy, and the high will remain in the upper 70s.

WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: These two days will be warm and dry with a good supply of sunshine and a high up in the low 80s.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: A weak surface boundary will move down into Alabama Friday, and could kick off a few scattered showers. But, like the system tomorrow, there isn’t much upper support for the front, and severe weather or really heavy rain isn’t expected.

Then, for the weekend, the front will remain stationary across Central Alabama Saturday before washing out Sunday. We will keep the chance of scattered showers and storms in the forecast Saturday, but again this isn’t a “wash out” kind of rain. Then, for Sunday, just an outside risk of a shower or two during the day. Highs over the weekend will be in the 77 to 80 degree range, and the sky will be mostly cloudy both days.

NEXT WEEK: Showers and storms will increase across the state Monday; the GFS hints the main surface low could be south of here which would mean more of a heavy rain threat… see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: The weather looks generally good along the coast through the upcoming weekend, although a few scattered showers and storms are possible from Panama City over to Gulf Shores tomorrow. Highs along the immediate coast will be around 70 degrees, but 80 degree warmth is likely just a few miles inland. For the weekend ahead, just a small risk of a shower Saturday, otherwise the weather looks dry on the coast. The sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a cool 64 degrees.

WEATHER RADIO PROGRAMMING TOUR: This week we will be at the Publix in Bessemer, just off I-459 exit 1, Wednesday from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. Need your radio programmed or have questions? Come see us.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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

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Google Plus
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I have a weather program this morning at Hamilton Elementary School in Marion County… be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

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My Tribute to JB

| 2:03 pm April 20, 2014

My first J.B. Elliott experience was probably in 1971. The National Weather Service in Birmingham had a recorded telephone line for the forecast. It was updated a few times a day by the meteorological technicians and forecasters that worked there at the office at 11 West Oxmoor Road in Homewood. When there was active weather, they could shorten the recording length and provide more frequent updates. One voice on the line could be counted upon to deliver excellent severe weather updates and even tropical advisory information. That was the trusted voice of J.B. Elliott.

As a nine year old that year, I had discovered tracking hurricanes and was using my trusty World Book Atlas to plot tropical cyclone positions from the advisories. The first storm I ever tracked was Edith that September. The major hurricane came together over the southern Caribbean and reached peak intensity on September 9th before it made landfall in Nicaragua. The storm weakened considerably and meandered northwestward, eventually crossed the Yucatan Peninsula and entered the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It moved into Mexico then tracked slowly north northeastward along the coast. On the 15th, it was picked up by an approaching trough and shunted rapidly northeastward toward the Louisiana coast. It made landfall 30 miles east of Cameron as a minimal hurricane on the morning of the 16th.

As a fourth grader at McElwain Elementary, I begged to stay home on Thursday the 16th so that I could track the storm. It may have been the first hurricane weather day in history for a Birmingham school student. I followed the hourly observations by listening to the ATIS from the Birmingham Airport on an old Patrolman 6 VHF/UHF radio. The winds only gusted to 31 mph at BHM, but I recorded the reports diligently like it was a category five hurricane. 1.94 inches of rain fell at the Airport.

By the next year though, I was addicted to the reports on the recorded line. There was no Weather Channel, no internet, no weather radio, and barely any television weather. And you knew that it was going to be a good weather information day when you heard that reassuring voice.

But I didn’t know who it belonged to. It would be 1976 before I would meet the man behind the voice at the NWS. And in November of that year, NOAA Weather Radio came to Birmingham. Then it was on! J.B. quickly established himself as the trusted voice for Central Alabama weather on the new KIH-54 station.

Anytime there was active weather, you hoped J.B. was working. You knew then that you were in good hands for the next 8 hours or so. That never was truer than on April 4, 1977. I was the only kid at Huffman High School who carried a NOAA Weather Radio to school. I knew that we had trouble when a tornado warning was issued shortly before 3 p.m., which was dismissal time. I went up to the teacher and told her that a warning had been issued and that we needed to let someone know so that we could sound the tornado drill bell. She told me to sit down.

The rear flank downdraft struck with a fury even as the dismissal bell sounded. I hit the hallway running, but could not open the glass doors. The tornado bells sounded immediately afterwards and we were all hurried downstairs. The storm passed well to the north of us and we were allowed to leave. J.B. was broadcasting live on KIH-54, the first of several times that would happen under his watch.

J.B. would bolster his image as a weather legend with his updates that afternoon and over the next twelve years. Any event that warranted reports on the “Alabama Weather Situation” immediately got your attention. He would continue to be the voice of NOAA Weatheradio for everyone in Central Alabama until his retirement in 1989. The article that ran in The Birmingham News when he retired is shown here.

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JB Retirement Bham News 0417892 story 600

But that would not be the end of his storied career. He has been creating content for The Weather Company (now known as The Weather Factory) ever since. And while he has officially retired from his day to day forecasting duties, he still is an owner in the company. He has his logon for AlabamaWx and he promises you will see occasional stories under his byline in coming days. He will also make an appearance on WeatherBrains from time.

Sally and I went out to J.B. and Judy’s house last Thursday to take them a set of birthday cupcakes. J.B. was funny and said thank you to everyone for his birthday wishes. M&M were in rare form as well.

Thank you J.B. for your years of service to the people of Alabama, your mentoring and your friendship. You are an Alabama Weather Legend.

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Sunday Update

| 10:36 am April 20, 2014

The tale of two skies continues across the state of Alabama on this Easter Sunday.

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Skies are cloudy south of I-85 and US-80 over the southeastern part of the state when some moisture is riding up and over the high pressure over southern Alabama. Funny thing, the moisture is coming from an unusual direction: the northeast. The culprit is the large low off the coast of the Carolinas. Elsewhere, skies are a bright blue.

The closest rain to Alabama is some showers along the Carolina Coast. Just a little further away, we find some showers and storms over Texas and Oklahoma ahead of our next weather system.

Temperatures this afternoon across Central Alabama will be in the 76-79F range with a few readings touching 80F as the clouds stay well to the south and gradually erode. Lows tonight will be near 50F.

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Gorgeous Easter Sunday

| 7:10 am April 20, 2014

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.

As Ryan Stinnett noted in the forecast this morning, you could not order a better day than what we expect to see across Central Alabama today. Sunshine will be in full supply and we expect the afternoon highs to climb into the middle and upper 70s with comfortably low humidity to add to the wonderful conditions.

Monday will be a transition day as we see clouds increase ahead of the next front approaching the area from the northwest. That front should move into and across Central Alabama Tuesday bringing us showers and perhaps a little thunder. Moisture appears to be somewhat limited, so while the likelihood of showers is very high, the scattered nature of them will mean that some folks won’t get wet at all and some could see a half inch of rain. The surface and upper level low that moved off the Southeast US coast yesterday will help to keep a strong southerly return flow from developing thus limiting the amount of moisture available. But moisture will be sufficient for scattered showers as precipitable water values climb close to 1.5 inches.

Cool 500 millibar temperatures on Tuesday could help to produce thunderstorms with hail. Instability values are somewhat marginal for really strong updrafts, so I do not expect to see any organized severe weather.

The upper trough moves quickly east allowing an upper ridge to build into the eastern third of the country. This will dry us out for Wednesday and Thursday. But while the air mass will be drier, we won’t see any appreciable lowering of the temperatures with a limited northwesterly flow that does not go very far north, so no real air mass change.

The big forecast problem will be dealing with the end of the week and into the weekend. The GFS keeps the ridge fairly strong so that the traveling weather systems are expected to remain well north of us. That puts us into a weakened pattern where the fronts will drag into the area with sufficient moisture for scattered showers driven primarily by daytime heating. While the best chance for showers appears to come on Friday, the front becomes stationary in the area keeping us susceptible to scattered showers into the weekend. Without a strong push, the front is not likely to bring much in the way of an air mass change so temperatures will remain warm with highs around 80 or so.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS had a really strong Omega ridge developing at the end of April. While the pattern remains similar, the latest GFS run is more realistic in the look of the ridge. A strong upper trough approaches the eastern US on May 1, which could signal a round of severe storms for the Southeast US. By May 5th, the GFS shows the westerlies well north of us putting us into the same issue of fronts dragging into the area without much strength.

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

Thanks for staying tuned to the Weather Xtreme Video. I’ll be handling the weather duties on ABC 3340 at 5 and 10 pm today, so catch the latest news and weather forecast then. James Spann will be back with the next video first thing Monday morning. Happy Easter and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Early Afternoon Update

| 1:31 pm April 19, 2014

Another fascinating look at the storm system to our southeast today. The surface low and upper-level low are both located on the Georgia/Florida line this afternoon. Clouds and rain continue to fall in many areas to our east with this system. The last few satellite images it appears to look like the clouds are bubbling up over southeastern Georgia. These are actually thunderstorms that have developed in the area and the strong updrafts in the storms are allowing the cloud tops to make it higher than the lower cumulus and stratus clouds affecting most areas.

For us in Alabama, if you are west of Interstate 65, there is hardly a cloud in the sky as beautiful blues skies are allowing an abundance of sunshine through. East of Interstate 65, there is a mix of sun and clouds, which becomes more overcast the farther east you go. There are still a few very light showers showing up on radar this afternoon east of I-65 and south of I-20.

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Where the clouds and rain are, it is quite a cool and raw day. Temps are staying in the 50s across much of Georgia and the Carolinas, with even some 40s in North Carolina. Where the sun is out over most of Alabama, temps are well into the 70s and it has turned out to be a beautiful spring Saturday. At last check I noticed the temperature at Auburn was 59 degrees verses the 77 in Tuscaloosa.

For the rest of today, these lows will continue to slowly shift off to the east and will gradually allow skies to clear over eastern portions of the state later this evening.

4-19-2014 1-08-18 PM

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A Mix of Sun and Clouds

| 10:28 am April 19, 2014

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Many areas of Alabama are seeing a mix of sun and clouds late this morning thanks to the upper-level low that is currently over Georgia. There is quite a bit of sunshine across much of Central Alabama this morning as well as a brisk north wind in most locations.

Up and down the western side of the state, there is nearly full sunshine along Highway 43 from Muscle Shoals to Mobile. Along the Interstate 65 corridor in Central Alabama, clouds are moving towards the south and are thinning out slowly. The main area of clouds over the state is confined to the southeastern corner of the state. Locations in and around Dothan, Eufaula, Phenix City, Troy, Hartford, and Fort Rucker continue to see mostly cloudy and overcast conditions.

As we head through the rest of today, we will continue to see the clouds slowly clearing out of the state as the upper-level low pulls away from the region. Most locations will see mostly sunny skies later today. Then for Easter Sunday, nothing but sunshine and blue skies are expected. .

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