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Some February Snow Notes

| 3:37 pm February 24, 2015

Okay, I just had to do it. So the forecast is calling for a snow event in Central Alabama. So, using National Weather Service (NWS) data for the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport, just how much has it snowed in Februarys past?

The answer to that is that since 1900, there have been only nine (9) days in the month of February in which 1 inch or more of snowfall has been recorded. The picture looks like this in order by amounts from highest to lowest.

Rank Date Snowfall
1. Feb. 23, 1901 5.0″
2. Feb. 12, 2014 3.0″
3. Feb. 13, 1960 2.3″
4. Feb. 13, 1905 2.0″
5. Feb. 28, 1941 2.0″
6. Feb. 20, 1941 1.5″
7. Feb. 15, 1958 1.2″
8. Feb. 10, 1912 1.1″
9. Feb. 14, 1958 1.0″

It is interesting to note that snow has been recorded only once on February 25th, and that was in 1914 when 4 tenths of an inch was reported. We’ll have to see what goes in the record books for 2015. Stay warm!

-Brian-

Note: Thanks to all of those who reminded me about February, 2014. Indeed, the climate database online maintained by the NWS had an error in the snowfall reports. I’ve taken steps to correct the error.

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Winter Storm Warning

| 2:25 pm February 24, 2015

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today; having to spend most of my time dealing with TV!**

WINTER STORM WARNING: NWS offices in Birmingham and Huntsville have issued winter storm warnings for much of North and down into Central Alabama. Winter storm warnings are up for Birmingham, Anniston, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa.

wwa

We should note a winter weather advisory has been issued down into the Greensboro/Demopolis area of West Alabama, where some light snow is possible.

This is our public forecast…

snow3

TIMING: It begins in West Alabama as early as 8:30… then the precipitation moves east. It should reach Birmingham around 10:30, and Anniston/Gadsden around 11:30. Understand these are approximate times. The heaviest snow comes from 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m., and then it winds down tomorrow night.

ACCUMULATION POTENTIAL/PLACEMENT: Within the heaviest snow band, which should be somewhere between Birmingham and Huntsville, amounts of 3-6 inches are likely, with isolated amounts to 8 inches. We might even hear of some reports of thundersnow in that zone. We project 2-3″ for Birmingham, and 1-2″ for Tuscaloosa. Please understand the snow will not follow the clean lines we are showing on the map above… they are just a broad guideline. Anniston and Gadsden are on those lines as you can see; amounts could go either way there.

IMPACT: Travel conditions will deteriorate quickly tomorrow afternoon as the heavy snow falls. Hazardous travel is likely through tomorrow night and Thursday morning; temperatures will ease above freezing by mid-morning Thursday, and after that roads will improve.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: The exact placement of the rain-snow line. For now we project it along a line from Eutaw to Brent to Calera to Ashland to Wedowee. This might have to be adjusted north or south a bit later tonight and tomorrow morning as the event unfolds. South Alabama will simply have a cold rain.

REMEMBER: For the snow lovers, some of you will be delighted with the amount of snow you see tomorrow, others severely disappointed. See the 10 things you need to know about winter weather forecasting. And, of course, the forecast can and will change.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days will be dry with highs between 40 and 45; the sky will feature a mix of sun and clouds.

OUR WEEKEND: We expect a high in the low to mid 50s Saturday and Sunday; a touch of light rain is possible Sunday, but much of the weekend will be dry.

Showers and storms return early next week; too early to be specific.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

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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Stay tuned for updates through the night…

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Some Weather Notes

| 2:17 pm February 24, 2015

There is a tremendous amount of energy being expended today as weather forecasters all across the Southeast US are working diligently to provide everyone with the best possible forecast on what we can expect from the impending winter storm. I’ve been spending a good deal of time this morning and early afternoon looking over the various models and looking at the consistency and juxtaposition of the last several model runs and models. It’s been interesting to see the ECMWF has been trending the primary snow band a little further south with time while the GFS has been trending the main snow band a little north with time. But even more interesting is that both models are in very close agreement on the timing AND location AND snowfall amounts. The models will never actually arrive at the exact solution, but it is encouraging, read that as confidence is growing, that this event will play out as we think it might.

But James has pointed this out and I can add to what he has said with my 48 years of experience in Southeast US weather – heavy snow bands are extremely hard to nail down exactly even just hours in advance. Small changes in the track of the surface low, changes like 10 miles north or 15 miles south, can make the difference in where that heavy snow band occurs. So realize that even as our confidence is growing in the forecast we’ve putting out, there is still room for change one way or the other.

If you want to know more, check out the great post James made a few days ago by my colleague and fellow WCM, Rick Smith from Norman, OK.

Now let the snow begin! Well, tomorrow morning!!

-Brian-

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The BIG Picture

| 1:57 pm February 24, 2015

Here is a map of the current warnings, watches, and advisories currently in effect just before 2 pm. There will be changes to this as additional offices upgrade from winter storm watches to winter storm warnings or winter weather advisories. But this gives you the bigger picture.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 1.54.49 PM

More to come, I’m sure.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

-Brian-

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Mid-Afternoon Update

| 1:56 pm February 24, 2015

As you can see from Brian’s post below, the NWS Birmingham has issued a winter storm warning for cities like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden.

wwa

And, below is our more detailed accumulation projection for tomorrow…

snow3

Scroll down for posts with timing and impact details. A new discussion will be up shortly.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

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Winter Storm Warning 2

| 1:46 pm February 24, 2015

Well, it didn’t take long for a change to come along. Here is the map of Central Alabama which has been updated for the winter storm warning upgrade from the National Weather Service in Birmingham. The text of the warning is shown below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 1.45.30 PM

-Brian-

WWUS44 KBMX 241942
WSWBMX

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
142 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015

...WINTER STORM EXPECTED ON WEDNESDAY...

.AN APPROACHING STORM SYSTEM WILL BEGIN TO STRENGTHEN ON WEDNESDAY
MORNING AS AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPS NEAR THE NORTHERN
GULF COAST. THIS WILL CAUSE WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION TO OVERSPREAD
THE GULF REGION WEDNESDAY MORNING. AREAS NEAR AND NORTH OF THE
INTERSTATE 20 CORRIDOR ARE EXPECTED RECEIVE A MIX OF WINTRY
PRECIPITATION WEDNESDAY MORNING...WITH A TRANSITION TO SNOW
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES
ARE POSSIBLE...WITH ISOLATED HIGHER AMOUNTS. A VERY SHARP CUTOFF
IN SNOW ACCUMULATIONS IS EXPECTED ON THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF THE SNOW
BAND...AND ANY SMALL SHIFT IN THE TRACK OF THIS SYSTEM WILL HAVE
IMPLICATIONS ON SNOW TOTALS FOR A GIVEN LOCATION.

ALZ011>015-017>029-034-250600-
/O.UPG.KBMX.WS.A.0002.150225T1500Z-150226T0600Z/
/O.NEW.KBMX.WS.W.0001.150225T1500Z-150226T0600Z/
MARION-LAMAR-FAYETTE-WINSTON-WALKER-BLOUNT-ETOWAH-CALHOUN-
CHEROKEE-CLEBURNE-PICKENS-TUSCALOOSA-JEFFERSON-SHELBY-ST. CLAIR-
TALLADEGA-CLAY-RANDOLPH-BIBB-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HAMILTON...SULLIGENT...VERNON...
FAYETTE...JASPER...ONEONTA...GADSDEN...ANNISTON...CENTRE...
HEFLIN...CARROLLTON...TUSCALOOSA...BIRMINGHAM...HOOVER...PELHAM...
ALABASTER...PELL CITY...MOODY...TALLADEGA...SYLACAUGA...ASHLAND...
ROANOKE...CENTREVILLE
142 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT
CST WEDNESDAY NIGHT...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM
WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT CST WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH
IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* EVENT...ACCUMULATING SNOW ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL ALABAMA.

* TIMING...FROM 9 AM WEDNESDAY THROUGH MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

* LOCATION...ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM PICKENS TO SHELBY TO
 RANDOLPH COUNTIES.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW TOTALS OF 2 TO 5 INCHES WITH ISOLATED
 HIGHER AMOUNTS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING.  SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF
SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN
AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...
FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

&&

$$

ALZ030>032-250600-
/O.NEW.KBMX.WW.Y.0004.150225T1500Z-150226T0300Z/
SUMTER-GREENE-HALE-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LIVINGSTON...EUTAW...GREENSBORO
142 PM CST TUE FEB 24 2015

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 9 PM CST
WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 9 PM
CST WEDNESDAY.

* TIMING...FROM 9 AM TO 9 PM WEDNESDAY.

* LOCATION...SUMTER...GREENE...AND HALE COUNTIES.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW TOTALS UP TO 1.5 INCHES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW
WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW
COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE
DRIVING.

&&

$$

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