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North-Central Alabama Cleared from Severe Weather Risk

| 8:27 am April 14, 2014

The latest outlook from the SPC has cleared much of North-Central Alabama from the risk of severe weather today. Ongoing showers and storms this morning continue to stabilize the atmosphere over the state. The risk for severe weather in the state (outlined in green), is along and south of U.S. 80 across the Black Belt Region of the state to Montgomery, and also includes, Mobile, Dothan, Troy, Monroeville, and Jackson.

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This morning, showers and storms continue to push towards the south across the state. In the wake of the front edge of this convection, moderate rain continues to fall across central portions of the state. This activity will last for several more hours and will give most locations a soaking rain today.

With the persistent rain over the region, it does not appear the atmosphere will have time to recover and destabilize before the front moves through the area. If this would have occurred, there would have been the threat for severe storms later today. Once again, this does not look likely today, but in any case, we will have to watch the front as it moves into the state this afternoon as it could produce a some additional showers and storms.

With the threat of severe weather diminishing today, we now turn our focus to the flooding threat that could possible develop. Many areas of Central Alabama could receive 1-2 inches of rain today with some locations in West Alabama possibly receiving more. Much of Central Alabama remains under a flash flood watch until 1PM Tuesday.

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Flash Flood Watch Today

| 6:24 am April 14, 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.

RAIN AND STORMS: Another wet Monday for Alabama. No, not as much rain as last Monday morning (thankfully), but average rain amounts of two inches are likely across North-Central Alabama, and the NWS has issued a flash flood watch for our part of the state. We do note the high resolution HRRR model, which performed very well during the last event, brings in some 4 inch rain totals near Tuscaloosa through this evening…


So, we expect the higher rain totals today west of I-65, and that is where we will find the greatest risk of flooding. Nothing like the flash flood emergency we dealt with last Monday morning in the Birmingham metro.

SEVERE WEATHER? The severe weather threat over the northern half of Alabama is marginal at best. The big rain mass this morning will make for a stable atmosphere, it remains to be seen if the air can recover for strong or severe storms this evening ahead of the surface boundary. Clearly the best chance of severe weather will come over the southern half of the state where parameters are better, but even there the low level jet looks pretty weak this evening.

Still, SPC has much of Alabama in the standard “slight risk” of severe weather, so we will watch radar trends. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

Bad news for those hoping to see the lunar eclipse tonight; clouds are going nowhere, and they will cover Alabama through the night.

RAW, COLD DAY TOMORROW: Strong north winds of 15-30 mph will usher in much colder air into our state tomorrow. The high around here will be only in the low to mid 50s, and some North Alabama communities won’t make it out of the 40s. We will forecast gradual clearing tomorrow afternoon, but the day will be raw, windy, and cold.

WEDNESDAY MORNING FREEZE: Growers will need to protect plants and vegetation tomorrow night into Wednesday morning. The GFS is printing a low of 32 for Birmingham, while the NAM is showing 28 degrees. We all know this is not a “one number” place when it comes to forecasting lows on a clear, calm morning. We figure the actual range will be from 24 to 34 degrees, with the colder readings in valleys and protected areas. Traditionally colder places like Valley Head and Black Creek could see low 20s. Most of the larger metropolitan areas like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston will be clustered in the 28-33 degree range. Gadsden a bit colder.

A warming trend begins Wednesday afternoon with a sunny sky and a high in the mid 60s.

LATER THIS WEEK: Thursday will be sunny with a high close to 70, then clouds increase during the day Friday ahead of the next weather system.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Looks like we will have a chance of showers, and possibly a thunderstorm, Friday night into Saturday morning. With the main dynamic support so far north, we don’t expect severe weather, and rain amounts should not be too heavy (mostly under 1/2 inch). Sunday promises to be a beautiful day with lots of sun and a high in the mid 70s.

Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

WEATHER RADIO HELP: We will be at Academy Sports in Tuscaloosa on Skyland Blvd. Wednesday from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. If you need your weather 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 8:30p CT… you can watch it live 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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I have weather programs today at Hokes Bluff Elementary School in Etowah County, and Chelsea Park Elementary School in Shelby County. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!


Early Morning Update

| 3:32 am April 14, 2014

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We are watching a line of strong storms moving across northern Mississippi this morning. There are currently no severe storms with this line of activity but these cells are just below severe limits. There are producing very heavy rainfall, gusty winds, small hail, and frequent and dangerous lightning. This activity will continue to race off to the east and will be impacting Alabama later this morning. The good news is the storms appear to be slowly weakening as they approach the state.

Showers and some rumbles of thunder are already moving into our northwestern counties, but the more intense line of activity will be entering Alabama after 4 AM. It will continue to move across the state during the morning hours. Behind this initial activity we will have to be on guard later today. If the sunshine pops back out and allows the atmosphere to become unstable, we could see a threat of severe weather later today across the state as the actual cold front moves into the state. The latest day one convective outlook from the SPC for Monday has much of Alabama, as well as Mississippi and Louisiana outlined in a slight risk for severe weather.

If we do see the atmosphere recover today from this morning’s activity, we will likely see showers and storms develop mid to late afternoon as the cold front moves into the state. The main threat with the storms that develop will be damaging straight-line winds. With thunderstorms, it is always wise to expect the unexpected and the chance for hail and a tornado or two cannot be ruled out. We will also have to monitor the threat of flash flooding. Much of Central Alabama has been placed under a flash flood watch which will go into effect at 7AM this morning. Remember to TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN if you encounter flood waters.

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Late Night Update

| 12:13 am April 14, 2014


Two lines of showers and storms continue early this morning.

The first extends over western Tennessee and northern Mississippi into northern Lousiana.

The second extends across southeastern Missouri, across Central Arkansas and into northern Louisiana.

All of this activity will push across northern Mississippi overnight.  It should weaken as it does.
There are only five severe thunderstorm warnings still in effect and no tornado warnings.  Severe thunderstorm watches extend from northeastern Texas across much of Arkansas to western Tennessee.

The first round of showers/storms will enter the area around sunrise and continue to impact the area through the mornings hours.  Showers and storms will build again to our west by Afternoon and some of them may become severe Monday afternoon and evening.

Please check the latest information this morning and review your severe weather safety plans.

We will monitor the situation all night.  Expect the next update around 3 a.m. , unless conditions warrant an earlier notification.


Watching to the West

| 9:05 pm April 13, 2014

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It is an active night of severe weather in areas to the west of Alabama as a dynamic storm system continues to come together.

As we have been advertising, it is a two prong system. The first upper disturbance is moving into Arkansas from Oklahoma tonight, weakening as it goes. Showers and storms extend from southwestern Illinois to southeastern Missouri to Central Arkansas. Further south, new development is building over Central Louisiana.

Flash flood warnings are in effect around Little Rock, where water rescues are going on at this hour from West Little Rock into downtown.

A stronger, intensifying disturbance is moving out of the Rockies tonight. This disturbance is opening the door for a big Arctic airmass to come south. That impressive boundary extends from Chicago to Des Moines to Kansas City to Oklahoma City to Amarillo.

It is 68F at Springfield MO while just a short distance on the other side of the boundary, it is 39F in Salina and 32F in Hill City KS. Just yesterday, Salina was setting a record high with 91F. In Texas, it is 81F at Wichita Falls and 51F at Pampa in the Panhandle. Further back in the cold air it is 24F in Denver with heavy snow.

The main squall line extends from Central Missouri west of St. Louis into northwestern Arkansas across southeastern Oklahoma to the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorm warnings extend from Central Missouri into western Arkansas. A tornado warning was in efect for areas near Ardmore OK a little earlier.

There have been only three tornado reports today, including two from Iowa and one from Oklahoma.

The initial activity will push across northern Mississippi this evening and reach Northwest Alabama before sunrise. The system will be weakening as it pushes through West Alabama, reaching I-59 on mid-morning.

Meanwhile, activity should intensify over northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee during the day ahead of the main trough and powerful cold front. This activity should reach Northwest Alabama by late afternoon and push through western Alabama between 6-8 p.m. and into the I-59 corridor between 7-9 p.m. It will reach eastern Alabama during the late evening. Showers and storms will continue until the cold front moves through during the predawn hours Tuesday morning.

There is a chance that instabilities will be pretty impressive over western Alabama late tomorrow afternoon. In addition, wind shear values will be high as well, In fact, 0-1 km helicities may be in the 250-300 m2/s2 range. Surface temperatures will push into the middle 70s and dewpoints should be in the middle 60s.

So, we will be monitoring the severe weather potential across Central Alabama through early Tuesday. Indications are that the threat tonight is very low. But we will keep an idea on it. The main threat should come late tomorrow afternoon through tomorrow evening. Hail and damaging winds will be possible and we can’t rule out the threat of tornadoes as well. Stay tuned.

In addition to the severe weather threat, there is a flash flooding threat. Rainfalls across Central Alabama will average 1.5-2.5 inches through Tuesday morning. Flash flood watches are in effect through Tuesday afternoon.


Jackson NWS Adds to Flash Flood Watches

| 3:18 pm April 13, 2014

As Bill noted below, the NWS in Birmingham has issued a flash flood watch in effect from Monday morning (7:00 am CDT) through Tuesday midday (1:00 pm CDT) for all of Central Alabama. Just a short time ago, the NWS in Jackson, MS, has added their own flash flood watch which extends further west into Central Mississippi as you can see from the map below.


Besides the severe weather threat, the threat of heavy rain could produce two problems for us. The first is rapid flooding due to the heavy rain. The second is resulting rise in streams and creeks and rivers from what could be a widespread 1 to 3 inch rain total for the storm.

Be sure to stay up with the latest weather information by bookmarking the Alabama Weather Blog.



Flash Flood Watch Issued

| 2:40 pm April 13, 2014

The NWS in Birmingham has issued a flash flood watch for much of Central Alabama, beginning Monday morning and continuing through early Tuesday afternoon.


Counties in the flash flood watch include: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lamar, Marengo, Marion, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.

1 to 3 inches of rain is expected across the watch area starting as early as Monday morning and continuing through early afternoon Tuesday. Flooding will be an issue.

Be ready to receive warnings if they are issued and to take action. Get MyWARN if you have an Android or iOS device.


A Nice Sunday, Severe Weather in the Offing Though

| 12:31 pm April 13, 2014

A pleasant spring Sunday is in progress with partly cloudy to occasionally mostly cloudy skies at time. High clouds are starting to stream across the area, and thickening and lowering clouds are to the west. Back over Mississippi, we see a healthy field of cumulus clouds in a plume of moisture surging up into the Magnolia State. By the time you get to the Mississippi River, a thick overcast is in place.

The nearest rain to Alabama is some rain over northwestern Arkansas and some showers over eastern Texas. Thunderstorms are in progress in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but they are not strong nor severe at this time.

Temperatures are in the upper generally at this hour. Birmingham and Anniston are at 78F and 77F respectively, Tuscaloosa checked in with 73F at noon, a little cooler since skies are already cloudy. It has become quite breezy, with southerly winds averaging 10-20 mph and gusts to near 30 mph at times.


A quick check of the weather early this afternoon shows that the forecast is on track for Central Alabama.

Severe weather is expected today and tonight to the west of Alabama. There is a large slight risk severe weather outlook area in effect today and tonight in an area roughly bounded by Austin, Wichita Falls, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, Peoria, St. Louis, Memphis, Meridian, Alexandria and back to Austin. The moderate risk area that was included in the forecast earlier has been removed due to the clouds and precipitation over Texas and Oklahoma that is reducing instability.

The storms to our west will move eastward overnight, weakening as they move across Mississippi. They should make it into Alabama well after midnight.

As a second surface low develops to our west early tomorrow and instability rises with some daytime heating, storms should ramp up during the day. They should be enough instability and shear in place for some of the storms to become strong to severe by afternoon. It now appears that all modes of severe weather are possible, with hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes. We will be able to refine the exact threat as we move into the daylight hours tomorrow, but for now, review your severe weather safety plans and check your sources for receiving watches and warnings.

Much colder weather is in the offing for Tuesday behind the cold front. Highs will remain in the 50s all day with the threat of some frost Tuesday night as the mercury drops into the middle 30s generally with a few spots reaching freezing. Growers and planters should be aware of the threat and plan accordingly.