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Significant Snow Event Wednesday?

| 6:11 am February 23, 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.

NO DULL DAYS IN THE WEATHER OFFICE: We have three issues on the plate this week, and the third one (on Wednesday) will be the big one, most likely. I always encourage you to watch the Weather Xtreme video for all of the graphics that go along with the discussion along with more details. Let’s take all three in chronological order…

1. THIS MORNING: As the HRRR predicted last night, the freeze line has indeed stayed north of Birmingham. Temperatures are in the mid 30s at Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston; any ice issues are confined to areas along and north of U.S. 278, or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden, where winter advisories remain in effect.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.13.08 AM

Seems like ice issues are very limited over the northern third of Alabama, and any ice patches will melt away by mid-morning when temperatures go above freezing. Otherwise, today will be cloudy and cold with a high in the low 40s.

2. TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING: Yet another wave in the southern branch of the jet stream will bring precipitation to Alabama. The airmass will be colder tonight, and the HRRR suggests a mix of light snow and rain will enter the northwest counties late this afternoon. If you live in Hamilton, Haleyville, or Vernon you might see a snow flake or two, but temperatures at the surface won’t go below freezing until around 10 p.m… so no travel impact early tonight.

Temperatures will be below freezing from around 10:00 tonight through 9:00 tomorrow morning, and it is likely that we see some light freezing rain during this 11 hour window, and there is a very real chance we will have icy travel. I don’t want people to miss this since so many people are talking about Wednesday. Winter weather advisories will most likely be required for parts of North/Central Alabama… they will be issued at midday today for this time frame.

3. WEDNESDAY: We have a classic snow setup for North Alabama, assuming thermal profiles are cold enough for snow. Models do indicate saturation and good lift in the dendritic growth zone, and most are getting on board for a significant snow event. A low pressure center in the northern Gulf will move up into North Florida, a favored snow track for North Alabama.

This is the snow potential from WPC (75 percentile)…

WPC

And, the Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) plume viewer shows a mean of about 3 inches for Birmingham (the black line is the mean), with some ensemble members going much higher…

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 4.37.12 AM

It is very important to note that right now we can’t be specific with accumulation forecasts, placement, impact, or timing. That comes later today. For now, just be aware there is potential for a signifiant snow event somewhere across North/Central Alabama Wednesday that COULD be a high impact event. Please read the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts” if you haven’t already.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days look just cold and dry with a partly sunny sky; the high Thursday will be near 40, with mid 40s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The warming trend continues. Expect mostly sunny weather both days; we reach 50 degrees Saturday afternoon, with mid 50s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: The GFS shows a strong surface low moving through the Southern Plains, and much warmer air moving into Alabama (the GFS is printing a high of 67 for Birmingham Monday). This could set the stage for strong thunderstorms early in the week; keep in mind the spring tornado season kicks off Sunday (March 1). Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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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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 Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

I have weather programs today at Northington Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Eden Elementary in Pell City. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Winter Weather Issues For North Alabama

| 3:53 pm February 19, 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.

FRIGID WINTER DAY: Birmingham’s official low this morning was 13 degrees… just missing the record of 12 for the date, set in 1958. Coldest observation I would find was 6 degrees at a site 3 miles south of Hamilton in Marion County (scroll down for a long list of morning lows). As expected, just about everybody across North/Central Alabama remains below freezing this afternoon despite the sunshine; Tuscaloosa is one of the few spots above freezing with 33.

WINTER WEATHER ISSUES TOMORROW FOR NORTH ALABAMA: Not much change in our overall thinking.

snow 2

The National Weather Service in Huntsville has issued a winter storm warning for Madison, Jackson, and DeKalb Counties, along with a winter weather advisory for the rest of the counties up in the Tennessee Valley…

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.23.02 PM

The NWS in Birmingham has opted not to issue any advisories for their county warning area at this point.

PLACEMENT: Greatest risk of wintry precipitation will be north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Piedmont. For now we do not expect any impact for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston.

TIMING/PRECIPITATION TYPE: Light snow should begin over the northern quarter of Alabama (mostly north of U.S. 278… or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden) by mid to late morning tomorrow, with the precipitation slowly changing to sleet and freezing rain during the afternoon as the cold air becomes shallow, and warm air advection aloft continues. Freezing rain will continue over Northeast Alabama tomorrow night into early Saturday morning.

ACCUMULATION: Around 1 inch of snow is possible over the Tennessee Valley, and ice accumulations around .2″ are expected over the northeast counties, specifically Madison, Jackson, and DeKalb, where the winter storm warning is in effect. Some ice accumulation is possible down into parts of Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, and Calhoun counties, but it probably won’t be as significant.

IMPACT: Icy roads and bridges are possible tomorrow over the northern quarter of the state where the wintry precipitation falls. The greatest concern is the northeast corner of Alabama, where there could be a long duration period of freezing rain. The ice accumulation should be highest over Madison, Jackson, and DeKalb Counties. Maybe enough ice there for some scattered power outages by tomorrow night and early Saturday morning.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change. Keep an eye out for future blog discussions.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be much warmer with occasional showers, especially along and north of I-20. The high will be close to 60 degrees; some communities down in South Alabama could see a high of 70 Saturday afternoon. We will maintain the chance of showers, and maybe even a thunderstorm Sunday as a cold front passes through.

NEXT WEEK: Models are not consistent in a wave that could bring some precipitation into Alabama Monday morning. There could very well be an issue with freezing rain or sleet early Monday for parts of Central Alabama, but there is no confidence in a specific forecast now. The 12Z GFS run shunted most of the precipitation to the south, but that could easily change again.

Most of next week looks cold and dry… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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 Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we are in Cordova this 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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I had a great time today visiting with the 6th graders at North Jefferson Middle School in Kimberly… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

More Winter Weather Issues

| 6:37 am February 19, 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.

FRIGID MORNING: These are some observations across the great state of Alabama just before daybreak; temperatures will drop another few degrees in most places before the low is reached…

Haleyville 8
Fort Payne 9
Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 9
Decatur 9
Cullman 10
Centre 10
Russellville 10
Gadsden 12
Glencoe 13
Center Point 13
Birmingham 15
Bessemer 15
Fayette 15
Concord 15
Anniston 17
Tuscaloosa 19
Coker 19

We stay below freezing today, but at least the sky will be mostly sunny. Look for a high in the low 30s.

WINTER WEATHER ISSUES TOMORROW/TOMORROW NIGHT: The next wave in the southern branch of the jet stream will bring more winter weather woes to parts of North Alabama.

snow 2

PLACEMENT: Greatest chance of wintry precipitation will be north of a line from Hamilton to Oneonta to Piedmont. For now we do not expect any winter weather problems for Birmingham, Anniston, or Tuscaloosa. Gadsden is right on the borderline.

TIMING: Light snow should begin over North Alabama tomorrow morning; a few snow flakes are even possible tonight over Northwest Alabama. Precipitation continues tomorrow night into Saturday morning, but with a slow warming trend and gradual changeover to rain.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: It begins as snow during the morning hours, with a gradual change to sleet and freezing rain tomorrow afternoon as warm air advection aloft continues. Then, tomorrow night it will be mostly rain, with the exception of Northeast Alabama, where freezing rain will continue as the cold air damming process keeps temperatures below 32 degrees.

IMPACT: Icy travel continues will develop where the wintry precipitation falls tomorrow. And, ice accumulation to .2″ is possible over Northeast Alabama by tomorrow night. This could bring down a few tree limbs and result in scattered power outages.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change. Please read the ten things you need to know about winter weather forecasting.

SATURDAY: Warm air wins the battle, and even up in far Northeast Alabama freezing rain will change to rain. We project a high around 60 degrees Saturday, and the best chance of rain will be generally north of Birmingham, where occasional showers are likely. South Alabama looks dry and very mild; some communities south of Montgomery could touch 70 degrees.

SUNDAY: A cold front moves in, and rain is likely with potential for a thunderstorm or two; the high will be in the 55-59 degree range.

MORE WINTER WEATHER MISCHIEF? The latest GFS/ECMWF runs are now showing another impulse bringing in precipitation into the cold air Sunday night and Monday morning, with potential for either snow or freezing rain across North/Central Alabama. Confidence in this solution is low, but just understand the idea is now on the table for more wintry precipitation that could impact the morning commute Monday.

AND MORE… While we are cold and dry Tuesday through Thursday, yet another threat of snow/ice shows up at the end of next week. Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR IN CORDOVA THIS EVENING: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we will be in Cordova this 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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I have a weather program this morning at North Jefferson Middle School in Kimberly… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Arctic Air Invades Alabama

| 3:45 pm February 18, 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.

HARD FREEZE AHEAD: Strong north winds gusting to 40 mph at times have developed across Alabama this afternoon following an Arctic front that brought snow showers to some of the northern counties this morning. We project a low in the 10-15 degree range early tomorrow, with a wind chill index near zero. Many school systems have delayed opening due to the cold.

Tomorrow will be sunny, but very cold day with most places staying below freezing. Communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 20s.

WINTER STORM POTENTIAL FRIDAY: The NWS Huntsville has issued a winter storm watch for their counties in North Alabama Friday and Friday night as another wave in the southern branch of the jet stream promises to bring a winter weather mess to parts of the Deep South.

snow 2

TIMING: Wintry precipitation will begin Friday morning, and continue through the afternoon hours and into and Friday night.

PLACEMENT: The greatest impact should come north of a line from Hamilton to Curry to Remlap to Springville and to Wedowee. The most significant issues will most likely come over Northeast and East Alabama, where freezing rain could linger into early Saturday morning. Highest ice accumulation should come over Jackson, Madison, Marshall, DeKalb, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, St. Clair, and Calhoun counties, where cold air will hang in longer.

For now it looks unlikely that there will be any significant winter weather issues for Birmingham or Tuscaloosa.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: Initially this will be all snow with this very cold Arctic air in place, but with warm air advection aloft, the cold air becomes shallow, and the precipitation will change over to sleet and freezing rain during the afternoon hours and into Friday night. By 9:00 p.m. Friday, areas west of I-65 should just be in rain with temperatures above freezing, but freezing rain will continue east of I-65 and mostly north of I-20. This is where the highest impact will most likely happen with ice accumulation.

ACCUMULATION: Snow amounts of 1-3 inches are possible over the northern third of Alabama by Friday afternoon (mostly north of U.S. 278), and ice accumulation to 0.4″ are possible over the northeast counties of the state by Saturday morning.

IMPACT: Travel will be impacted where the wintry precipitation falls, and there could be enough ice accumulation over Northeast Alabama to bring down tree limbs and cause power outages.

It will be a classic battle between the cold air damming (CAD) in place over Northeast Alabama, and the warm air advection pattern to the southwest. This forecast, can, and probably will change as we get closer to the event. So please check future blog discussions.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The good news is that it will be much warmer. Some global model guidance is now suggesting a decent part of the day Saturday will be dry, but no doubt showers will remain possible. Temperatures will rise to near 60 degrees Saturday afternoon up to I-20; parts of South Alabama could reach 70 degrees.

Sunday looks wet with rain likely, and maybe even a thunderstorm or two as a cold front moves through the state.

NEXT WEEK: Cold, dry weather looks like Monday through Wednesday with highs mostly in the 40s and lows mostly in the 20s. And, evidence of more winter weather mischief toward the end of the week. Take some time and watch 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 Cordova tomorrow 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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I had a great time today visiting the kids at Indian Valley Elementary School in Sylacauga… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Arctic Cold; A Few Flurries Today

| 6:27 am February 18, 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.

Like we stated here yesterday, there are three big issues we are dealing with over the next few days. The first two are an easy forecast, but the third is a challenge.

1. SNOW FLURRIES TODAY: Ahead of an Arctic cold front, we will continue to mention the chance of snow flurries/showers this morning. Significant accumulation/travel impact is not expected for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, but the NWS Huntsville maintains a winter weather advisory for their counties in far North Alabama, where up to 1/2 inch is possible in spots. A dusting of snow is already down across much of the Tennessee Valley at daybreak.

2. ARCTIC COLD: We will struggle to reach 40 degrees again today, but the real cold air arrives tonight. Early tomorrow, we expect a low between 10 and 15 degrees, with a wind chill index near zero. To the north, a few spots across the Tennessee Valley could see single digit lows. Tomorrow will be sunny but very cold, with a high between 28 and 32 degrees. Up near the Tennessee border, the high will be only in the mid 20s.

Records could very well be established… Here’s the current record minimum temperatures and record low maximum temperatures for Feb 19th:

Record Minimum Temps:
Birmingham…….12 (1958)
Montgomery……18 (1958)
Tuscaloosa……..14 (1958)
Anniston…………..9 (1905)

Record Low Maximum Temps:
Birmingham…….36 (1936)
Montgomery……43 (1936)
Tuscaloosa……..39 (1959)
Anniston………….37 (1958)

3. WINTRY MIX FRIDAY: It will be a battle between the warm air advection process (WAA), and very cold air entrenched over North Alabama. It will be somewhat similar to Monday’s event, but the one big difference is that temperatures are starting off noticeably colder.

TIMING: Light snow should begin over North Alabama (generally north of I-20) Friday morning, after 9:00 a.m. I don’t think we will have any travel impact early Friday during rush hour.

PLACEMENT: Highest chance of wintry precipitation will be north of a line from Millport to Gardendale to Oxford.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: It should begin as light snow, with a gradual change to sleet and freezing rain as warmer air aloft spreads in from the south. Then, it all changes to rain late Friday afternoon and Friday, with the exception of Northeast Alabama, where freezing rain could fall much of Friday night.

IMPACT: There could be travel impact with icy bridges/roads Friday afternoon, especially north of U.S. 278 (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden). But, as the warm nose moves in from the south, roads just become wet Friday night. The one big exception is Northeast Alabama, where it is harder for the cold air to be scoured out. A significant accumulation of ice seems possible for counties like Jackson, DeKalb, and Cherokee. Possibly for Marshall, Etowah, Cleburne, and parts of Calhoun. Too early to be really specific, but there could be enough ice accumulation for some power outages Friday night across this part of Alabama.

snow_friday

PLEASE READ the “ten things you need to know about winter weather forecasting”. All points are relevant here. This forecast can, and probably will change.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Periods of rain will continue on Saturday over the northern third of the state, but it will be much warmer with a high between 57 and 60. Best chance of rain will be along and north of I-20… the southern two-thirds of Alabama will be mostly dry and very mild; some places south of Montgomery will be close to 70 degrees Saturday afternoon.

Then, Sunday, a cold front moves in, and we will probably have thunderstorms involved as the wet pattern continues. The high Sunday will be close to 60.

NEXT WEEK: Colder and drier air returns for the first half of next week, with highs mostly in the 40s, and lows mostly in the 20s. 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 Cordova tomorrow 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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I have a weather program this morning at Indian Valley Elementary School in Sylacauga… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Three Items On The Plate

| 3:48 pm February 17, 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.

Let’s take them one at a time…

1. SNOW SHOWERS TOMORROW MORNING: A clipper type system will bring the risk of snow showers/flurries to North Alabama tomorrow morning. The NWS in Huntsville has issued a winter weather advisory for their area up in the Tennessee Valley for potential for 1/2″ of snow, with isolated higher amounts.

These type systems usually don’t cause widespread issues, but heavier snow showers can make the ground white, and with temperatures below freezing, it could impact travel in a few places. To the south, a few snow flurries or showers are possible as far south as I-20, but it is doubtful it impacts travel in places like Birmingham. We watch radar trends closely, but for now the best chance of icy travel tomorrow morning will be north of U.S. 278, or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden.

The main window for snow showers and flurries will come from about 4:00 until 10:00 a.m. Otherwise, tomorrow will be mostly cloudy and cold with a high in the low 40s.

2. ARCTIC COLD THURSDAY: Some of the coldest air this winter will flood Alabama tomorrow night. By daybreak Thursday, we should be in the 10-15 degree range, with potential for a few single digits lows up over far North Alabama. Most communities will stay below freezing all day with a high only in the low 30s… but on the positive side the sun should be out in full force. Clouds return Thursday night.

3. WINTER PRECIPITATION FRIDAY: The models remain bullish on the chance of a “wintry mix” over North Alabama Friday as cold, Arctic remains in place.

gfs_ptype_slp_birmingham_15

Looks like there will be a good chance of freezing rain, sleet, or snow along and north of a line from Millport to Birmingham to Anniston. I will have my first specific forecast for this event tomorrow morning. Like the event Monday, warm air advection will begin Friday afternoon, and it will be a big challenge in drawing the line between a cold rain and the wintry precipitation.

This could be a high impact event for parts of North Alabama, especially Northeast Alabama, where the cold air damming (CAD) effect could keep cold air in place longer. Some freezing rain will be possible there through Friday night.

OUR WEEKEND: Warmer air takes over, but the weather stays wet. We will forecast periods of rain both Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 55-60 degree range.

Colder and drier air will return to Alabama early next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…