Tag: cold

Messy Winter Storm Ahead For Alabama

| January 6, 2017 @ 5:30 am

WINTER STORM WARNING EXPANDED: The NWS has expanded the Winter Storm Warning; it now includes the larger cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden through early tomorrow…

Winter Weather Advisories include much of the rest of Alabama, all the way down to the northern part of Mobile and Baldwin Counties in Southwest Alabama. Only the southeast part of the state is free of warnings and advisories.

Up to three inches of sleet, snow, and freezing rain is possible in the Winter Storm Warning area, with amounts to two inches elsewhere…

Here are some important points and notes…

*Precipitation will be light this morning, but icy spots on bridges are possible through 12 noon as temperatures fall below freezing and cold air advection continues. Birmingham has reached the freezing mark as of 5am.

*For Central Alabama, it will be mostly freezing rain this morning due to a warm nose of air aloft. Snow this morning will be confined to the northern quarter of the state. Freezing rain is rain that falls with temperatures at the surface at or below 32 degrees. This will lead to icy spots. The change to snow for Central Alabama comes later today and tonight as cold air deepens.

*Travel conditions will deteriorate late this afternoon (especially after 4pm) and tonight and precipitation rates increase, and temperatures continue to fall. Initially ice will form on bridges, but all roads have potential to become icy, especially where heavier sleet/snow/freezing rain falls. We are in the business of forecasting the state of the atmosphere, and not road conditions; we learned in 2014 we certainly aren’t road engineers, but I would sure not encourage driving this afternoon and tonight.

*With temperatures reaching the teens early tomorrow, road conditions, mostly likely, won’t improve until tomorrow afternoon. Even then we will have a hard time getting part 32 degrees, but the sky will become mostly sunny during the day.

*Precipitation will be mostly sleet and rain initially across Central Alabama, changing to snow and sleet later today and tonight as cold air deepens.

*Mostly sleet and freezing rain will fall across South Alabama late tonight. All precipitation will end during the pre-dawn hours tomorrow.

*We can’t rule out a few isolated power outages where heavier snow/sleet/freezing rain comes down tonight.

*The weekend will be very cold, with lows in the teens tomorrow and Sunday. The high tomorrow will be in the low 30s, followed by upper 30s Sunday.

*The winter storm rolls east over the weekend, with lots of snow and ice from Atlanta to Richmond. Travelers beware.

*Operations at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport could be impacted this afternoon and tonight, and expect delays and perhaps cancellations at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport tomorrow.

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

NEXT WEEK: The cold air is flushed out, and we should be close 70 degrees by Thursday and Friday. This is a state where it doesn’t “get cold and stay cold”. Some rain is possible by Tuesday night and Wednesday.

DAVIS CUP SINGLE DAY TICKETS GO ON SALE TODAY: The U.S. will face Switzerland at the BJCC February 3rd-5th in the first-round tie for the Davis Cup. Single-day tickets go on sale today. Hurry and get tickets now while you can!.

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.

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Winter Weather Ahead For Alabama Tomorrow

| January 5, 2017 @ 3:14 pm

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today due to extremely heavy radio/TV/social media duties; the blog discussion will explain it all nicely**

WINTER STORM AHEAD: NWS offices in Alabama have issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories this afternoon that will be in effect tomorrow, tomorrow night, and early Saturday morning for much of the state…

AMOUNTS: Understand the “accumulation potential” map below is just a guideline, and “up to 3 inches” means a range of zero to 3. Not everybody will get accumulating snow in these colored bands; we prepare these maps simply as a guideline. Some will get 2-3″ of snow, others will get nothing.

TIMING: Light snow and sleet could begin across the northern half of Alabama as early as 6:00 tomorrow morning along and west of I-65.. Initially the precipitation will be light, but temperatures will be below freezing, and bridge icing is very possible. This will move into East Alabama tomorrow afternoon. Understand the snow/sleet during the day tomorrow should be relatively light, but many communities will remain below freezing much of the day, and icing will remain possible on bridges and overpasses.

Rain is likely over South Alabama during the day tomorrow.

Tomorrow night, after 5:00 p.m., precipitation rates will increase, with heavier snow/sleet for Central Alabama. This is when driving conditions will begin to deteriorate significantly as temperatures drop into the 20s after dark. Rain will change over to sleet and snow over South Central Alabama later tomorrow night, especially after midnight.

Precipitation will end early Saturday morning.

POWER: Widespread power outages are not expected since in most places the snow will be light, and winds won’t be especially high.

TRAVEL ISSUES: The main issue involves travel. As stated above, icy bridges are possible during the day tomorrow, but all roads could become icy, especially in the winter storm area, tomorrow night as temperatures drop into the 20s and precipitation gets heavier. Travel where heavier snow falls will become difficult, if not impossible, late tomorrow and tomorrow night. We could see icy travel even south of U.S. 80 after midnight tomorrow night and early Saturday morning.

While the snow will end early Saturday, icy roads could linger through at least mid-day with very cold air lingering over Alabama. Conditions begin to improve Saturday afternoon.

BIRMINGHAM-SHUTTLESWORTH AIRPORT: Snow could mean potential for flight delays or reduced operation, mainly tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night into early Saturday morning.

ATLANTA: Operations at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta could be seriously disputed Saturday; Atlanta is under a winter storm warning where snow amounts could exceed two inches easily. Expect flight delays, maybe even some cancellations. Driving in Atlanta is NOT advised Saturday.

REST OF THE SOUTHEAST: Snow will move into Georgia and the Carolinas Saturday, heavy in spots, making for very difficult driving conditions.

FRIGID WEEKEND: Very cold air will linger across Alabama over the weekend; the high Saturday will be only in the mid 30s, followed by upper 30s Sunday. We drop into the 15-20 degree range early Sunday and Monday morning. The sky becomes partly sunny Saturday, and Sunday will feature sunshine in full supply.

NEXT WEEK: The weather will be warmer with a chance of rain by Tuesday night and Wednesday.

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.

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Keep checking the blog for updates tonight and through the event tomorrow…

Late Morning Update

| January 5, 2017 @ 10:05 am

New model guidance has arrived, and I have adjusted the snow accumulation potential map slightly southward…

The rest of the morning discussion still stands (below). Will have a new blog discussion and Weather Xtreme video posted by 3:30 this afternoon…

NOTE: It is likely that a Winter Weather Advisory will be needed for parts of Alabama tomorrow as the event begins to unfold, please understand that is an UPGRADE from a Winter Storm Watch.

Here is a look at the impacts you can expect tomorrow…

POWER: We do not expect power outages tomorrow since for most places snow accumulation will be relatively light, and winds won’t be over 25 mph. In Alabama, it usually takes lots of freezing rain (an ice storm), or heavy, wet snow for major outages in winter.

ROADS: Light snow could begin early tomorrow over the northern third of the state, with icy spots developing on bridges and overpasses. Soil temperatures are relatively warm, so many road surfaces will be wet initially, but keep in mind many places across North Alabama will stay below freezing all day tomorrow, meaning potential for some icy travel where snow falls.

But the most widespread travel issues will come late tomorrow afternoon, through tomorrow night, and into Saturday morning as precipitation rates increase and temperatures fall into the 20s. Roads could very well become icy and dangerous over the northern half of Alabama, where the heavier precipitation comes down. The main travel issues will be in the Winter Storm Watch area, but we can’t rule out a few spotty issues to the south as well.

Keep in mind icy travel is likely to the north and east of Alabama, with some of the heaviest snow likely over parts of North and Central Georgia up into the Carolinas. Atlanta could be a big mess Saturday morning.

BIRMINGHAM-SHUTTLESWORTH AIRPORT: Snow could mean potential for flight delays or reduced operation, mainly tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night.

STAY UP TO DATE: If you are using old weather information (more than 6 hours old), that is bad information. More changes in the forecast are very possible during the day today. Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

Winter Storm Watch Expanded Southward

| January 5, 2017 @ 6:02 am

CALM TODAY: While all of the attention is focused on wintry precipitation possibilities tomorrow, we need to mention that today will a cool, calm day for the state. We are in the 27-32 degree range early this morning, and the high this afternoon should be in the low 50s with a mix of sun and clouds.

WINTER STORM WATCH EXPANDED: Confidence is growing in the scenario tomorrow as models are in better agreement. The NWS has expanded the Winter Storm Watch southward, to include counties as far south as Sumter, Marengo, Dallas, Autauga, Elmore, Tallapoosa, and Chambers…

The watch will be in effect from 6:00 a.m. tomorrow through 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

Light snow will likely move into the northern third of Alabama early tomorrow morning; to the south a mix of light sleet and light snow is possible across the central counties, with rain over South Alabama. Then, as better dynamics come into play, and cold Arctic air drops southward, precipitation will increase late tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, with snow/sleet possible down to U.S. 80. Then, late tomorrow night and early Saturday morning, there is a chance of some sleet, freezing rain, or even a few snow flakes deep into South Alabama. Some chance all 67 Alabama counties could see a little freezing or frozen precipitation by Saturday morning when it all winds down.

The heavier snow will most likely come over East-Central Alabama, but amounts to 2 inches are possible across all of the Winter Storm Watch area. It is important to understand there will be some in the Winter Storm Watch that only see a few snow flakes and no accumulation.

NOTE: It is likely that a Winter Weather Advisory will be needed for parts of Alabama tomorrow as the event begins to unfold, please understand that is an UPGRADE from a Winter Storm Watch.

Here is a look at the impacts you can expect tomorrow…

POWER: We do not expect power outages tomorrow since for most places snow accumulation will be relatively light, and winds won’t be over 25 mph. In Alabama, it usually takes lots of freezing rain (an ice storm), or heavy, wet snow for major outages in winter.

ROADS: Light snow could begin early tomorrow over the northern third of the state, with icy spots developing on bridges and overpasses. Soil temperatures are relatively warm, so many road surfaces will be wet initially, but keep in mind many places across North Alabama will stay below freezing all day tomorrow, meaning potential for some icy travel where snow falls.

But the most widespread travel issues will come late tomorrow afternoon, through tomorrow night, and into Saturday morning as precipitation rates increase and temperatures fall into the 20s. Roads could very well become icy and dangerous over the northern half of Alabama, where the heavier precipitation comes down. The main travel issues will be in the Winter Storm Watch area, but we can’t rule out a few spotty issues to the south as well.

Keep in mind icy travel is likely to the north and east of Alabama, with some of the heaviest snow likely over parts of North and Central Georgia up into the Carolinas. Atlanta could be a big mess Saturday morning.

BIRMINGHAM-SHUTTLESWORTH AIRPORT: Snow could mean potential for flight delays or reduced operation, mainly tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night.

STAY UP TO DATE: If you are using old weather information (more than 6 hours old), that is bad information. More changes in the forecast are very possible during the day today. Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FRIGID WEEKEND: The wintry precipitation will end early Saturday morning, and the weekend will be very cold and dry. We won’t get out of the 30s Saturday, and early morning temperatures will drop into the 15-20 degree range both Sunday and Monday morning.

NEXT WEEK: Expect a warm-up, with rain returning by Tuesday night and Wednesday.

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.

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I will be speaking today at a function in Haleyville… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Warming Trend Begins Tomorrow

| December 19, 2016 @ 3:20 pm

COLD DECEMBER DAY: While the sun is shining brightly over West Alabama, clouds are hanging tough over the eastern two-thirds of the state this afternoon…

The stubborn clouds are keeping temperatures below forecast levels, most locations under the clouds are only in the 30s, a good 20 degrees below average for mid to late December in Alabama.

The clouds will most likely stick around tonight, keeping lows early tomorrow close to 30 degrees for most places. Then, during the day tomorrow, with a partly sunny sky we project a high back in the 50s.

REST OF THE WEEK: Dry weather will continue through Friday. The high Wednesday will be close to 60 degrees, then falling back slightly into the mid to upper 50s Thursday and Friday. A weak front will pass through early Thursday morning, but no moisture means no chance of rain. Partly to mostly sunny days, fair nights.

CHRISTMAS WEEKEND: Clouds will begin to increase Saturday, but the day will be dry with a high in the low 60s. Then, on Christmas Day, we expect a high in the mid 60s, about ten degrees above average for late December. The sky will be mostly cloudy, and we might consider a small risk of a shower, but widespread or really meaningful rain is unlikely.

For travelers, a significant storm will set up over the Great Plains Christmas weekend with potential for heavy snow for parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota, with strong storms possible over Missouri and Arkansas.

NEXT WEEK: An upper high forms over Florida, much like the pattern we had in late summer and early fall, and will keep us pretty dry into into at least the middle of the week.

This pattern usually doesn’t persist in winter, so optimism is high a more more favorable setup for rain will return to Alabama in 10-15 days.

The Florida upper high will also mean no Arctic air shots for Alabama for a while…

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.

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

Calmer, Warmer Days Ahead For Alabama

| December 19, 2016 @ 6:18 am

COLD START: Temperatures are below freezing over the northern half of Alabama early this morning with temperatures generally in the 20s. Clouds linger over the southern half of the state, with a bit of drizzle reported in spots.

Expect a partly sunny sky today with a high in the mid 40s, about ten degrees below average for mid to late December in Alabama.

Tonight will be cold, but not as cold as last night with most communities seeing a low between 28 and 33 early tomorrow morning.

PATTERN FLIP: Unfortunately, the upper air pattern will “flip” again this week, with an upper high building over Florida. This will deflect the major rain producers away from Alabama, and our weather looks pretty dry for the next seven days, not good news for a state still in a severe to exceptional drought.

Tomorrow and Wednesday will be dry with a warming trend; the high tomorrow will be in the mid 50s, followed by low 60s Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, a weak surface front will pass through during the morning. Global models have trended drier with this front, and it now looks like it will pass through pretty much rain-free. Thursday will be slightly cooler with a high between 55 and 59 degrees.

Friday promises to be a dry, cool, and sunny day. We start the day with a low near 30 degrees, and then rise into the mid 50s. Right at seasonal averages.

CHRISTMAS WEEKEND: Saturday looks sunny and pleasant with a high close to 60 degrees… then on Christmas Day we will be in the low to mid 60s with a mix of sun and clouds. A big storm system coming out of the Rockies will stay well to the west of Alabama. If you are looking for snow on Christmas morning, head way up north, or out west…

NEXT WEEK: A weak front could bring a little light rain to Alabama Monday (one week from today), but it doesn’t look very significant. Bottom line is that the pattern looks pretty dry here for at least the next seven to ten days.

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.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Severe Storms Possible Tomorrow Night

| December 16, 2016 @ 6:02 am

FRIGID AIR: We begin this day below freezing over the northern half of the state with most communities reporting temperatures in the 20s right before sunrise. But, before you complain about the weather here… check out the early morning observation from Mount Washington, New Hampshire…

We rise into the mid 50s this afternoon with a partly sunny sky; the sky becomes cloudy tonight.

WARM START TO THE WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be a cloudy, breezy, and very mild December day with a high in the low 70s. Some places will rise 50 degrees from the lows early this morning to highs tomorrow afternoon. Occasional rain showers are likely tomorrow, with the best rain coverage along and north of I-20 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston).

SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE TOMORROW NIGHT: SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe thunderstorms tomorrow night in the broad zone from Muscle Shoals to Livingston, with a “marginal risk” as far east as Birmingham…

Dewpoints will surge into the mid 60s tomorrow night, helping to make the air unstable with surface based CAPE values rising to over 500 j/kg over West Alabama. With the approach of another Arctic front, this will bring the risk of strong to severe storms mainly west of I-65.

*Models are a bit faster, and we will now forecast the main window for severe storms to be from about 9:00 p.m. tomorrow through 3:00 a.m. Sunday.

*The main threat will come from strong straight line winds, but with the forecast helicity values, a few tornadoes will be possible as well over West Alabama.

*We do not expect any severe weather over East Alabama.

*Rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely by Sunday.

Just be sure you have a good way of hearing severe weather warnings tomorrow night if they are needed… like a NOAA Weather Radio, or a good smart phone warning app like WeatherRadio by WDT.

MORE ARCTIC AIR SUNDAY: The high resolution NAM has the surface front south of Birmingham at 6:00 Sunday morning… from near Wedowee to Prattville to Monroeville…

Temperatures will drop into the 30s early Sunday, and stay there pretty much all day. Rain will end from northwest to southeast during the midday hours, and there is still some chance there could be a touch of sleet or freezing rain as the precipitation winds down over North Alabama, but if that happens we expect no impact. It will be a very cold, wet, raw day.

NEXT WEEK: Dry weather is the story Monday through Wednesday with a slow warming trend; rain should return toward the end of the week, but forecast confidence is low based on model inconsistency.

CHRISTMAS WEEKEND: The latest global model data suggests it will be dry with seasonal temperatures (highs upper 50s) around here, but it is simply too early to be confident in a specific forecast. If you are looking for “White Christmas”… head north.

ON THIS DATE IN 2000: An EF4 tornado tore through the southern part of Tuscaloosa, killing eleven people and injuring over 100. Nine of the fatalities occurred in mobile homes, one in a vehicle, and one in a commercial building converted to residential use. Six of those killed were females and five were males. Ages ranged from 16 months to 83 years old. The tornado was on the ground for a total of 18 miles, all within Tuscaloosa county. The tornado path was estimated to be 750 yards wide at it’s maximum intensity.

There was an excellent warning for the tornado; a warning was issued at 12:40 p.m. on that deadly Saturday, 14 minutes before the twister first touched down in a rural area southwest of Tuscaloosa near the Black Warrior River. The tornado crossed Alabama 69 near Shelton State Community College and Hillcrest High School; destroying a shopping center and many homes. The Bear Creek Trailer Park was hit, where many of the deaths occurred. The tornado moved to the east/northeast, south of Skyland Boulevard, and finally crossed I-59/20 near the Cottondale exit.

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.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Cold, Warm, Storms, Cold Again

| December 15, 2016 @ 3:36 pm

HOP ABOARD THE ALABAMA WEATHER ROLLER COASTER: No dull moments around here through the weekend. Let’s go through this active pattern.

COLD TONIGHT: Despite sunshine in full force, temperatures are only in the 38-42 degree range across much of North Central Alabama this afternoon. This is 15-20 degrees colder than average for mid December. We drop well below freezing tonight; by daybreak tomorrow most communities will see a low between 21 and 25 degrees.

Tomorrow will be dry and warmer, with a partly sunny sky the afternoon temperature will reach the mid 50s.

SATURDAY WARMTH: We zoom into the low 70s Saturday with a strong southerly breeze and a wide open Gulf of Mexico. This is about 50 degrees warmer than the lows we are expecting early tomorrow. Showers will develop during the day Saturday as moisture levels rise; the most widespread rain Saturday should be along and north of I-20 (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston and points north).

SATURDAY NIGHT STORMS: SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe storms for far West Alabama late Saturday night into the pre-dawn hours Sunday, with a “marginal risk” as far east as Birmingham and I-65…

Dewpoints will surge into the 60s Saturday night, making for an unstable atmosphere. With fairly high storm relative helicity values, strong to severe storms will likely form along the approaching Arctic front. Storms could produce hail, strong gusty winds, and an isolated tornado is possible.

The main window for strong to severe storms will come from about 11:00 p.m. Saturday until 6:00 a.m. Sunday, with the highest probability west of I-65.

Be sure you have a good, properly programmed NOAA Weather Radio with a battery backup in your home since this will come during the middle of the night Saturday night. A good smart phone app like WeatherRadio by WDT is a good second tier of getting warnings.

SUNDAY ARCTIC PLUNGE: The Arctic front should be close to I-59 around 6:00 Sunday morning…

If you are south of the front, and wake up with a balmy temperature in the upper 60s, just understand that won’t last long at all; temperatures will fall quickly into the 30s as the front keeps moving southward during the day. Rain will end from northwest to southeast during a Sunday that promises to be raw and very cold.

SLEET/FREEZING RAIN? Still some chance the rain changes to a “wintry mix” of sleet and freezing rain over far North Alabama Sunday before the precipitation ends, but if that does happen little to no impact is expected for now since it won’t last long, and the infrastructure will be warm from the low 70s Saturday. Of course, we will keep an eye on things and let you know if anything changes.

RAIN AMOUNTS: This will be a good rain for the state, with amounts of 1-2″ likely. The new U.S. drought monitor released this morning still shows much of Alabama in a “severe” or “exceptional” drought…

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: For now the weather looks dry Monday through Wednesday with cool days and cold nights; rain returns toward the end of the week. And, the Christmas weekend looks mostly cloudy with occasional showers… temperatures should be close to average levels for late December in Alabama with highs between 55 and 60. 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…

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

Wild Weather Swings Through The Weekend

| December 15, 2016 @ 6:14 am

NEVER A DULL MOMENT in the weather office in Alabama in December. There will be many fast paced changes over the next four days with everything from freezing temperatures, soaking rain, and severe storms along the way. You might want to watch the Weather Xtreme video to see all of the maps and graphics associated with this discussion and for more insight.

ARCTIC COLD TODAY: Temperatures are generally in the 27-35 degree range early this morning, and despite a sunny sky we don’t expect to get past the low 40s this afternoon. Many communities over the northern quarter of the state won’t get out of the 30s.

We project a low between 22 and 25 degrees for most places early tomorrow morning with a clear sky. Then, a warming trend begins tomorrow afternoon with temperatures reaching the mid 50s along with a partly sunny sky.

ONE DAY WARMTH SATURDAY: Temperatures will rise about 50 degrees from the lows tomorrow morning to highs Saturday afternoon. Most places will see a high in the low 70s Saturday as southerly winds return and we see a quick warm-up. The sky will be mostly cloudy, and occasional showers are likely, mostly along and north of I-20 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston).

SEVERE WEATHER RISK SATURDAY NIGHT/EARLY SUNDAY: SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe storms up late Saturday night for far West Alabama, with a “marginal risk” as far east as Birmingham. Keep in mind this “Day Three” outlook is valid through 6:00 a.m. Sunday…

Dewpoints will surge into the mid 60s Saturday night across the state, making the air unstable. Surface based CAPE values will rise to almost 500 j/kg in spots. Keep in mind it doesn’t take much instability for severe storms in the cold season. And, low level helicity values will be rather high in the immediate zone ahead of the next approaching Arctic front.

A few storms ahead of the front could become strong to severe, with potential for some hail, strong, gusty winds, and an isolated tornado or two. Highest risk of severe storms will be west of I-65, over the western half of the state. And, the main window for strong to severe storms will come from about 10:00 p.m. Saturday through 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

You will want to be sure you have a good, properly programmed NOAA Weather Radio on in your home with a battery backup so you won’t miss any “middle of the night” warnings if they are needed. And, a good smart phone app like WeatherRadio by WDT is a great second tier of receiving severe weather warnings.

ARCTIC PLUNGE SUNDAY: A sharp Arctic front will be near I-59 at 6:00 Sunday morning…

If you live in a place like Greensboro, Alabaster, Clanton, Sylacauga, or Anniston, it will be warm and balmy early Sunday morning, but understand temperatures will drop like a rock, and by midday you will be in the 30s. For most, the high Sunday will come sometime between 12:01 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

WINTRY MIX FOR FAR NORTH ALABAMA? There remains some outside chance there could be a touch of freezing rain or sleet over far North Alabama as the precipitation event winds down Sunday. Best chance of this happening would be over the northwest corner of Alabama and the higher terrain locations of far North Alabama and southern Middle Tennessee. If we do see any freezing rain or sleet, we don’t expect any impact on travel or anything else at this point.

RAIN AMOUNTS: Totals of 1-2 inches are likely this weekend, great news for a state in the midst of an exceptional drought. Keep in mind some places need 15 inches to get back to average levels for the year.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: For now the weather looks cool and dry Monday through Wednesday, followed by periods of rain Thursday and Friday. And, peeking out into the long range it looks like some risk of rain will continue over the Christmas weekend.

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.

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I have a weather program this morning for the kids in the HeadStart program in Attalla… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Arctic Air Arrives Tonight; Warmer, Stormy Weekend

| December 14, 2016 @ 3:40 pm

HERE COMES THE COLD: The sky has cleared over the northern half of Alabama this afternoon, with clouds lingering over the southern counties of the state. An Arctic front will pass through this evening in dry fashion, and will put us in the deep freeze for 48 hours. Despite a sunny sky, we won’t get past the low to mid 40s tomorrow afternoon, and temperatures drop into the mid 20s early Friday morning.

A warming trend will begin Friday afternoon with a partly sunny sky; most communities will see a high in the mid 50s.

WILD WEEKEND WEATHER SWINGS: Temperatures will warm into the low 70s Saturday afternoon with a stiff southerly breeze, and with increasing moisture levels look for developing showers during the day.

Then, with the approach of an Arctic front, we have potential for two radically different issues Saturday night and Sunday.

STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS: SPC has defined a severe weather risk for parts of West and Northwest Alabama for late Saturday night and early Sunday morning; it includes places like Muscle Shoals, Hamilton, Jasper, Tuscaloosa, and Demopolis…

Dewpoints will surge into the 60s Saturday night, making for a rather unstable airmass. Surface based CAPE values rise to levels over 500 j/kg as well, and with a decent amount of shear we will need to be watching for strong to severe storms from about 8:00 p.m. Saturday through 8:00 a.m. Sunday. Core risk of severe storms will be west of I-65.

Storms during this 12 hour window will be capable of producing hail, strong gusty winds, and even some risk of an isolated tornado or two. We will be able to fine tune this risk as the weekend gets closer.

WINTRY MIX? Sunday will be a day with temperatures going the wrong way. If you are in a place like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, or Gadsden, you might wake up early in the day with temperatures not far from 70 degrees, high dewpoints, and a “balmy” feel to the air. But, temperatures will fall sharply during the day in the wake of the Arctic front, reaching the 30s by Sunday afternoon with a brisk north wind.

There is some chance rain could change to a light mix of sleet and freezing rain over the northern quarter of Alabama Sunday before it all ends. But, as discussed here in recent days, we expect no impact if this happens…

*The new run of the GFS model (12Z) is coming in line with the European model, suggesting little if any wintry precipitation as the rain ends Sunday over North Alabama.

*If any sleet or freezing rain happens to form, it won’t last long at all.

*The infrastructure will be warm from Saturday’s southerly flow.

We will keep a close watch on conditions as we get close to the weekend.

NEXT WEEK: For now the weather looks cold and dry Monday and Tuesday, then rain returns toward the end of the week with a warming trend. No evidence of any extreme cold, snow, or ice issues around the Christmas weekend. 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…

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

3rd Coldest Day of 2016

| December 10, 2016 @ 7:15 am

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.

-Brian-

Rain Returns Early Next Week

| December 9, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

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.

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.

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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!