According to the latest 5-minute data from the observation equipment at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport, the low this morning was 21 degrees. Based on the climate data published by the National Weather Service (NWS), that makes December 10th the third coldest day of 2016 tied with January 18th. Here are the other cold days in Birmingham for 2016:
19 on Jan. 19
20 on Jan. 11 & 24
21 on Jan. 18
Bundle up if you are headed out early. Probably see the temperature go above freezing by about 10 am.
FRIGID AIR: Despite a sunny sky, temperatures are only in the 30s over the northern quarter of Alabama this afternoon, with low 40s along the I-20 corridor (Tuscaloosa/Birmingham/Anniston). The average high for today for Birmingham is 57.
Tonight will feature another very significant freeze; most of the official reporting stations will drop into the low 20s, but the colder spots will see teens thanks to radiational cooling (clear sky, light wind). It will be our coldest night since February 10.
THE WEEKEND: The sky will stay sunny tomorrow; most places will see a high in the upper 40s. Then, we turn warmer Sunday; we reach the upper 50s with a partly sunny sky. Clouds increase Sunday night.
NEXT WEEK: The first half of the week will feature a mostly cloudy sky with some chance of rain at times Monday through Wednesday. Highest coverage of showers should come Monday and Wednesday, and afternoon highs will be in the 60s. Some spots might even touch 70 degrees Tuesday afternoon. For now it looks like rain amounts will be 1/2 to 3/4″, with a few spots seeing one inch over the three days. No risk of severe weather, and I doubt if we see much thunder.
Then, an Arctic front moves through late Wednesday, followed by another shot of very cold air Thursday and Friday, with highs dropping into the 40s on these two days. Not totally out of the question we see a few snow flurries over North Alabama Wednesday night or early Thursday, but it will have no impact. Coldest morning will come early Friday (one week from today) with a low in the mid 20s.
LONG RANGE: This is an active, complex pattern, and there is absolutely no skill in forecasting weather for the Christmas weekend so far out. Apps with a “20 day” or “90 day” forecast are pretty much worthless… it is hard enough getting it right out to seven days.
POLAR VORTEX: Our friends in the national news media throw out this term with very little understanding of what it actually means. See the graphic below for the real story.
I had a great time today visiting with the 3rd graders at Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover… 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 bright and early Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!
ARCTIC AIR SETTLES IN: The average high for December 9 in Birmingham is 57… we will be about 15 degrees below that level today as Arctic air continues to settle into the state.
We are starting the day with temperatures in the 20s, and with a north wind of 5-10 mph wind chill indices are lower. At 6:00 this morning, Birmingham reports 26 degrees with a north wind of 6 mph, making the wind chill index 19.
Later today, despite sunshine in full force, we won’t get past the low 40s. Many communities over the northern quarter of the state will hold in the 30s all afternoon.
Tonight will feature another very significant freeze; the wind falls off to near calm, and the colder spots across North/Central Alabama will have a chance to reach the teens. Most of the official reporting stations will be in the low 20s early tomorrow.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and slightly warmer with a high in the upper 40s. Then, Sunday will feel much better as temperatures reach the upper 50s by afternoon with a partly sunny sky. Clouds increase Sunday night.
NEXT WEEK: A complex and active pattern sets up across the Deep South. We will mention a chance of rain showers Monday; the warming trend continues with temperatures rising well into the 60s. For now it looks like the best chance of showers Tuesday will come over the southern counties of the state, but rain should increase again statewide Wednesday with the approach of another Arctic cold front. The latest GFS run suggests highs will hold in the 60s Tuesday and Wednesday, and rain amounts for the first first half of the week will be around 1/2 inch.
Much colder air begins to spill into the state Wednesday night, and Thursday and Friday for now are looking dry and cold with highs in the 40s.
I guess it is conceivable a few snow flurries are possible Wednesday night over North Alabama as the cold air moves into the state, but it wouldn’t be anything meaningful. It is important to note we see no issues with snow or ice across North or Central Alabama for the next 7 to 10 days despite these occasional shots of cold air.
COLD IS THE WORD: Temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 40s across Alabama this afternoon with a brisk north wind making it feel colder; tonight will be the coldest night since February 10, when Birmingham had a low of 23 degrees. Most communities will fall into the 20 to 25 degree range early tomorrow morning with a clear sky. A north wind of 6-12 mph will push the wind chill index down into the teens by daybreak.
Tomorrow will be cold and dry with a good supply of sunshine; the high will be in the low 40s, although communities up over far North Alabama will stay in the 30s all day.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: It begins with another very cold morning; the low Saturday will be in the low 20s for most places, but with a clear sky and light wind, radiational cooling will bring temperatures down into the mid to upper teens for colder valleys. Then, during the day, the sky will be sunny and Saturday’s high will be in the upper 40s.
Sunday will be warmer with a partly sunny sky; the high Sunday afternoon will be in the upper 50s. Clouds return Sunday night.
NEXT WEEK: A rather complex pattern is setting up across Alabama and the Deep South. A wave will bring some rain to the state Monday; rain should be fairly light with limited moisture (generally under 1/2 inch). And, the warming trend continues as temperatures return to the 60s Monday afternoon. For now Tuesday looks dry and cooler with a high in the 50s, but rain returns Wednesday ahead of another Arctic front. For now it looks like about 1/2 inch of rain can be expected, and more cold air follows the front for Thursday and Friday with highs dropping into the low 40s, and lows down in the 20s.
The 12Z run of the GFS continues to hint at some risk of snow flurries over North Alabama Wednesday evening, but the reliable European model says no, and we will roll with that solution for now since it has better skill in the medium range. One way or another we see no evidence of any meaningful snow or ice event for Alabama for the next 7-10 days.
NEW DROUGHT MONITOR: Please understand Alabama is still in an exceptional/severe drought, despite the good rain over the past two weeks…
Birmingham’s rain deficit for the year is 11.09″… the deficiency at Anniston is 15.71″. It takes time to get into a drought, and time to get out of one as well.
I had a great time today visiting with the 3rd graders at Ohatchee Elementary in Calhoun County… 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…
POLAR EXPRESS ALMOST HERE: An Arctic front will blow through Alabama this morning; temperatures won’t change much at all from where we are this morning; mostly lower 40s. And, as the pressure gradient tightens, a north wind of 15-25 mph will develop making it feel colder. The front will come through in mostly dry fashion.
Early tomorrow morning temperatures will drop into the 20-25 degree range, with potential for wind chill indices in the teens. Then, during the day tomorrow, the sun will be back in full force, but the weather stays very cold with a high in the low 40s. Communities north of Birmingham, up in the Tennessee Valley, will hold in the 30s all day.
Saturday morning will also be very cold with low 20s likely for the “official” observation points, but the colder valleys and protected areas will reach the mid to upper teens.
Last time it was this cold was back on February 10 when the low in Birmingham was 23.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be sunny with a high in the upper 40s, still about 10 degrees below average for mid December in Alabama. Sunday for now looks dry with a partly sunny sky; the high will be in the mid to upper 50s as a warming trend begins. Clouds increase Sunday night with potential for rain to move into North Alabama.
NEXT WEEK: Let me say up front that forecast confidence is low next week with a tremendous amount of model madness. But, the general idea is that there will be some chance of rain during the first half of the week, followed by another Arctic blast toward Thursday and Friday.
The last few runs of the GFS (the American global model) have been running wild, showing a chance of flurries across North Alabama Wednesday afternoon with temperatures falling through the 30s in the wake of an Arctic front, but the reliable European model (the ECMWF) is totally dry and no Arctic front. We will lean toward the Euro solution here, but I do think cold air returns to the state by Thursday and Friday.
It is important to note there is no firm evidence here of any snow or ice problems for Alabama for the next 7 to 10 days. It is very easy to find dozens of “weather pages and forecast centers” across social media that will give you a snow forecast one to two weeks in advance ANYTIME in every winter season… that is how they get their likes, shares, and clicks. We giggle at the concern over “fake news” these days… we have been dealing with “fake weather” sites for a long time. Welcome to our world.
See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
OVERCAST, COOL DECEMBER DAY: With the exception of far Northwest and Southwest Alabama… this has been a cloudy, cool day across the state with temperatures holding steady in the upper 40s and low 50s. Despite the clouds we have no rain on radar.
TO THE NORTH: Brutally cold Arctic air is over the northern states; Cutbank, Montana reports -1 (F) at 2p CT with a wind chill index of -16. That cold air is on the move, and we will feel some of it in Alabama tomorrow.
COLDEST SO FAR: The Arctic front will pass through tomorrow morning; there could be a few sprinkles involved, but very little moisture, and no measurable rain is expected. Once the front passes, north winds will increase to 15-25 mph, gusting at times to 30 mph. Temperatures won’t get past the low 40s in most places, and the wind will make it feel colder.
By Friday morning we expect a low between 20 and 25 degrees. The good news is that the sun will be back in full force Friday, but the weather stays cold with a high in he 38-42 degree range. Most of the “official” observation stations will see a low in the lower 20s early Saturday morning, but with a clear sky and light wind, the colder valleys and protected areas will see mid teens.
Last time it was this cold was back on February 10 when the low in Birmingham was 23.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A warming trend begins Saturday afternoon; with a sunny sky we rise into the upper 40s. Then, clouds move in Sunday, and rain is likely late Sunday afternoon through Sunday night. Looks like rain amounts will be around 1/2″ for most of North/Central Alabama… that rain will end early Monday morning.
NEXT WEEK: The latest GFS run hints we could see some light rain on Wednesday (December 14), followed by another Arctic blast Thursday and Friday (December 15-16). The air toward the end of next week could be a little colder than what we will experience tomorrow and Friday. And, we need to mention there is no evidence of any snow or ice problems in Alabama for the next 10 days, despite what you might hear on the street. Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.