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Midday Nowcast: We Need Rain, But Hard To Find On Radar

| 12:48 pm July 25, 2016

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Skies across Central Alabama are mostly clear with just a few cumulus clouds floating around. Not much in the way of rain on the radar at this hour in the area. There are a few very isolated showers that have popped up around the Alexander City and Auburn areas, and they are mainly moving to the west. Otherwise, high and dry for everyone else.

TEMPERATURES AT THIS HOUR: Heat is building as we start to reach the daytime maximum temperatures for the day across the area. Here is a list of temperature observations from across the area:

Birmingham 91
Tuscaloosa 89
Gadsden 91
Anniston 90
Cullman 90
Hamilton 89
Clanton 91
Alexander City 93
Montgomery 91

WHAT TO EXPECT FOR TODAY: Looks like another typical late July day here in Central Alabama. Partly to mostly sunny skies across the area with the risk of scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will be in the low to mid 90s, with the heat index in the upper 90s. Best chance of rain will be from 12PM to 9PM, and will probably be east of I-65 (but one could pop up anywhere). Odds of any one spot getting rain will be around 1 in 4.

CODE GREEN AIR QUALITY: The Air Quality Index for the Birmingham Metropolitan Area will be in the “Code Green” for ozone. No actions needed for today.

TODAY’S CLIMATOLOGY FOR BIRMINGHAM: The normal high for July 25th is 91, while the normal low is 70. The record high for today was set back in 1952 at 106. The record low was set back in 1911 at 60.

TUESDAY’S OUTLOOK: The “Carbon Copy Forecast” can be used for this weekend. Partly to mostly sunny skies with a risk of scattered afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will be in the low to mid 90s, with the heat index near 100. The odds of any one spot getting rain each day is 1 in 3. Overnight lows will be in the 70s.

HEADED TO THE BEACH: It will be the usual summer setup this week on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach. About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily, but a passing thunderstorm is likely from time to time. Highs on the immediate coast 87-90, with mid 90s inland. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 86 degrees. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

THE TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the next five days.

ON THIS DAY IN 1956: Off the coast of Massachusetts, near Nantucket Lightship, the Swedish-American liner called the Stockholm, rammed the Andrea Doria in dense fog. 52 people perished in the accident.

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Muggy Summer Days/Scattered Storms

| 6:17 am July 25, 2016

AN OCEAN OF HUMIDITY: Alabama’s weather won’t be changing much this week. After all, it is late July, so you know it will be hot, humid, and we will deal with scattered thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours.

Today we project a partly sunny sky, a high in the mid 90s, and the best chance of a shower or storm between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. Chance of any one spot getting wet is about one in four, and the high resolution HRRR model suggests the highest coverage of afternoon showers will be east of I-65 (but, one could pop up anywhere).

TOMORROW THROUGH FRIDAY: The upper ridge is forecast to weaken slightly, meaning a gradual increase in the coverage of scattered showers and storms, and heat levels a bit lower. In fact, the GFS model is suggesting highs in the upper 80s here Thursday and Friday, but considering this is the end of July, and the typical peak of summer heat, we will keep highs in the low 90s. Thankfully no sign of any triple digit heat for us.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Mixed sun and clouds Saturday and Sunday, scattered showers and storms (mainly during the afternoon and evening hours), and highs at or just over 90 degrees.

And, no reason to change this “persistence forecast” into next week. Classic mid-summer weather here across the Deep South. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

TROPICS: We are getting closer to the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (August and September), but things remain very quiet due to a large amount of dry air. Tropical storm formation is not expected this week.

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GULF COAST WEATHER: It will be the usual summer setup this week on the coast from Gulf Shores over to Panama City Beach. About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily, but a passing thunderstorm is likely from time to time. Highs on the immediate coast 87-90, with mid 90s inland. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 86 degrees. 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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30p CT… you can watch it live here.

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I will be speaking this morning at an event in Clanton, and later today at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alabama in Hueytown. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

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Best Storms Are In The 5 County Metro Birmingham Area For Now

| 3:15 pm July 24, 2016
Top left: base reflectivity; Top right: composite reflectivity; Bottom right: echo tops; Bottom left: Vertically Integrated Liquid

Top left: base reflectivity; Top right: composite reflectivity; Bottom right: echo tops; Bottom left: Vertically Integrated Liquid

Showers and thunderstorms are trying to get their act together at mid-afternoon across Central Alabama. Small pulse storms are bubbling up in a environment of moderate instability and almost no wind shear. They rise up and fall back to earth just as quickly.

At 305 p.m. lightning was beginning near downtown Birmingham and over southern Walker County. Other lightning strikes have occurred in the past few minutes in the storm along the Jefferson/St. Clair County line near Argo.

The storms near downtown Birmingham and near West Jefferson appear to the best candidates to hold together right now.

These storms will continue to develop and push slowly west all afternoon and into the early evening.

The stronger storms will have gusty winds, heavy rain and deadly lightning.

Storms will continue to be rather scarce through Tuesday, with little hope for widespread relief from our growing drought. The outlook should improve from midweek into the weekend as we get more troughing over Alabama and the Southeast.

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Heat, Humidity, Isolated Storms

| 7:02 am July 24, 2016

Satellite imagery shows a few clouds across the Alabama sky this morning with temperatures running in the middle and upper 70s. I expect to see a mixture of sun and clouds today with isolated showers and thunderstorms developing in the heat of the afternoon. The weakness at 500 millibars is still evident over the Lower Mississippi River Valley, so I would expect to see thunderstorms more numerous to our west today. Radar was clear for Alabama this morning, but there were a few thunderstorms occurring in the vicinity of Memphis.

The typical summer forecast for the beaches of the Northern Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island east to Panama City includes plenty of sunshine each day, but with the threat of a passing storm from time to time. Highs are around 90 on the beaches while just inland you can expect low to mid 90s. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was 87 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The tropical Atlantic was quiet and is expected to remain quiet for the next several days. Be sure to see the GFS outlook for voodoo country. In the Eastern North Pacific, Tropical Storm Frank and Hurricane Georgette were spinning away from land. In the Central North Pacific, Tropical Storm Darby was bringing some wind and heavy rain to the Hawaiian Islands.

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SPC has no specific areas outlooked for severe weather for the next several days with just some marginal areas along and ahead of the frontal system moving through the northern tier of the US.

The upper air pattern remains in a ridge into the first of the week, but a series of upper troughs manage to split the ridge with centers over the Four Corners area and just off the Southeast US coast by Tuesday. The one off the South Carolina coast pushes into the Southeast US on Wednesday, but another strong trough is forecast to dig into the Great Lakes area on Thursday and Friday potentially bringing a front into Tennessee by Friday. And the overall troughiness is forecast to stick with us into the weekend.

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For the first half of the week ahead, I expect to see isolated thunderstorms driven by the heat of the day with highs in the lower and middle 90s. But as we head into the latter part of the week from Thursday into the weekend, rain chances appear likely to go up with the combination of the upper troughiness and the presence of the weak front edging into the northern part of the Southeast US. The lowering of the heights along with the presence of more clouds and more thunderstorms should combine to drop our temperatures back to around 90. The GFS MOS guidance takes the high Friday all the way into the middle 80s, and I’m just not buying that much of a change.

It is interesting to note that the ECMWF 500 millibar pattern is in fairly close agreement to the pattern of the GFS, but the ECMWF only drops temperatures back to around 90.

The really big surprise comes as we venture out into voodoo country. The GFS builds the upper ridge back into the Central and eastern US from Sunday through Wednesday. The surprise is the appearance of what appears to be a tropical system in the Bahamas. By Friday, August 5th, the tropical system strengthens and moves northward into the Carolinas while the upper ridge is pushed back to the west. The ridge builds east again by August 8th as the tropical system heads northeastward into the northern Atlantic. But remember, this is voodoo. By the time James has the next Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning, this whole notion of a tropical system for early August may be completely gone.

I appreciate you tuning into the blog for the Weather Xtreme Video. Mr. Spann is taking some additional time off, so I believe my next video will come next Thursday morning. Remember, it continues to be hot, so just use some common sense and don’t overdo it whether working or playing in the outdoors. Have a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Strong Storms Over East Alabama

| 4:46 pm July 23, 2016

Several clusters of storms are impacting portions of East Alabama late this afternoon and these storms are meandering about in different directions. The most intense storms currently are affecting portions of Calhoun, Etowah, Cleburne, Blount and Jefferson counties.

No storms are currently severe, but storms are producing tremendous amounts of lightning, torrential tropical downpours, and gusty winds. These storms will continue to next several hours, before winding down with the loss of daytime heating.

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Strong Storm Over Eastern Jefferson County…Lot of Heavy Rain, Lightning

| 4:17 pm July 23, 2016

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A strong thunderstorm developed near the Birmingham Airport before 2:30 and has been pulsing up and down as it has moved slowly southwestward.

At 415 p.m. it was affecting areas from Woodlawn and Irondale back to Cahaba Heights and Liberty Park then over to Inverness and Meadowbrook.

The lightning is not especially heavy, but it only takes one bolt. 1-2 inches of rain has fallen in areas between I-20 and I-459. An areal flood advisory has been issued for eastern Jefferson County, including places inside the green polygon.

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Summer Marches On

| 2:23 pm July 23, 2016

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Hot, humid weather continues for the weekend with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Best chance of storms comes during the afternoon and evening hours, but with the moisture-rich air mass in place, a late night or morning shower can not be completely ruled out either. Highs today and tomorrow will range from 90-95 degrees, pretty much what we expect in late July around here.

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HEAT ADVISORY: The NWS maintains the heat advisory again today, as heat index values will be at or just over 105° at times through out Central Alabama. This should be the last day an advisory is needed for Alabama for the next week or so, but there is still plenty of summer left.

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RADAR CHECK: Early this afternoon, we are watching a few showers and storms that are ongoing, but these are rather isolated and confined to northern portions of the state. Through the afternoon, we will continue to see pockets of convection, that will be producing a lot of lightning, heavy rainfall, and gusty winds. General storm motion is towards the south. Typical of this time of year, what storms that are out there, should wind down after sunset.

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Heat and Showers in Forecast

| 7:02 am July 23, 2016

Traveling weather systems remain well north of the Southeast US, so we are looking at a weather pattern that will not be changing much over the next seven days. There will be minor changes, but they will be subtle and we really won’t see any drastic changes to the weather with heat and showers holding spots in the forecast.

There is a subtle weakness in the 500 millibar pattern in the vicinity of West Tennessee early this morning which was helping to generate showers over Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Alabama. Movement of these showers was southeastward and the motion should gradually become more southward during the late morning. A heat advisory remained in place this morning for the northern two thirds of Alabama, but the presence of the weakness aloft along with the presence of additional clouds could mean that we won’t quite reach heat index values of 105. While we might not reach the “official” criteria for the heat advisory, it will remain hot and steamy. I expect highs today to generally top out in the middle 90s, but the upper 90s are possible generally south and southeast of Birmingham.

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For beachgoers, summer weather continues along the Gulf Coast from Dauphin Island to Panama City Beach this weekend and into next week. There will be about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day with an occasional passing thunderstorm. Highs will be around 89 on the immediate coast with mid to upper 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

Looking southward, the Atlantic Basin remains quiet, while Frank and Georgette, both tropical storms, were spinning in the Eastern Pacific, neither a threat to land areas.

And as you might expect, the SPC has the risk for organized severe storms confined to the northern tier of the US from the Great Lakes to New England for the next three days. And there is little likelihood that this pattern will change through the week ahead.

Ridging remains the primary feature across the southern tier of the US through the week ahead with only some subtle changes to the pattern. As short waves move across Canada, they will have at least some effect on the ridging by pushing the bulk of the ridge back west beginning Monday and continuing through the middle of the week and into next weekend. The influence of this weak troughiness should be enough to lower our high temperatures some as highs stick in the lower and middle 90s. Morning lows will remain steady, too, with values in the 70 to 75 degree range. And while I would love to say something different than “chance of thunderstorms” in the daily forecast, there is no real pattern change which would warrant saying anything different. Due to the spotty nature of these storms, there is no real relief seen for the drought conditions affecting the northern two-thirds of Alabama during the next week.

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Looking into voodoo country, the GFS is big on bringing the ridge back into the Central US as we head into the first few days of August. And the GFS holds the ridge there once again as we head out to August 7th.

I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here first thing on Sunday morning. You can check back here regularly for updates on how the Alabama weather scene is changing. Enjoy your day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Strong Storms Over Marion, Lamar and Fayette Counties…Pushing Generally Southward

| 4:44 pm July 22, 2016

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Thunderstorms are strong over parts of Central Alabama this afternoon. The strongest ones can be found over Marion, Lamar and Fayette Counties.

Others are over Cullman and Walker Counties as well as Lauderdale and Colbert Counties of Northwest Alabama.

None of the storms are severe at this time, but there could be a couple of isolated warnings through the evening hours.

Any of the storms will be capable of producing dangerous lightning, heavy rain and gusty winds to 40 mph.

Everything is pushing generally to the south.

The storms will die out later this evening.

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The Heat Is On

| 3:24 pm July 22, 2016

How about this one from Glenn Frey?

“The heat is on, on the street
Inside your head, on every beat
And the beat’s so loud, deep inside
The pressure’s high, just to stay alive
‘Cause the heat is on

Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
Caught up in the action I’ve been looking out for you
Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
(Tell me can you feel it)
(Tell me can you feel it)
(Tell me can you feel it)
The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on
Oh it’s on the street, the heat is on”

Heat levels are actually down today; clouds this morning have helped. We have mostly low 90s this afternoon, and once again scattered showers and storms are on radar…

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Storms are moving south, and will continue into the nighttime hours. Where storms develop, they will be strong with potential for wet microbursts. SPC maintains a “marginal risk” of severe storms for much of Alabama.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: It’s a persistence forecast. Hot, humid weather continues tomorrow and Sunday with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Best risk of storms will come during the afternoon and evening hours, but I can’t totally rule out a late night or morning shower. Highs 90-95 degrees, pretty much what we expect in late July around here.

NEXT WEEK: New week, old forecast. The overall synoptic pattern just won’t change; we will be on the eastern periphery of a heat ridge, so hot, humid summer weather continues with the daily round of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. Highs will be in the low 90s, lows in the 70s. Just impossible to forecast the small scale day to day changes that impact placement and coverage of the summer storms. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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TROPICS: Tropical storm formation is not expected across the Atlantic basin through next week. Lots of dry air.

AT THE BEACH: About 8-10 hours of sunshine daily on the coast from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach through next week with a passing storm from time to time. Highs 87-90 on the immediate coast, with mid 90s 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…

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I had a great time today visiting with the kids in the summer program at Pinson Elementary today… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

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