Cold, Blustery Monday

| December 1, 2008 @ 6:14 am | 9 Replies

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BACK TO THE GRIND: We will all go back to work on a very cold Monday across Alabama and the eastern U.S. At 5:00, Haleyville in Winston County is reporting light snow (flurries), 33 degrees, a west wind at 8 mph, and a wind chill index of 26 degrees. Radar continues to show snow flurries and showers scattered across North Alabama into North Mississippi, and we will maintain a chance of them in our forecast today for about the northern half of Alabama.

SNOW FLAKES TODAY: Not much change in our thinking over the past several days… surface temperatures will remain above freezing, and the ground is relatively warm. So, no serious threat of accumulation, although some grassy areas could see a dusting, especially for high terrain locations northeast of Birmingham. We will continue to see the scattered snow flurries and showers through mid-day; they should be most numerous along and north of I-20.

COLD ENOUGH FOR SNOW? Absolutely. Many people make the mistake of thinking the surface temperature has to be below freezing for snow; the key level is around 5,000 feet; if temperatures they are below freezing, it is cold enough for snow. You can have snow flakes flying when temperatures at the surface are in the 40 to 45 degree range. They is why upper air data and sounding information is so critical to our forecast. On the other hand, you can have rain falling with temperatures at the surface in the 20s; this happens with a warm layer at 5,000 feet, and that is called freezing rain, and can lead to a nasty ice storm.

We note the 850 mb (about 5,000 feet off the ground) temperature at Birmingham is at -7 (C) (based on the SPC meso-analysis page), or 19 degrees (F).

THE DAYS AHEAD: We should drop into the upper 20s early tomorrow with a clear sky. Then, a slow warming trend begins, with highs in the mid to upper 40s tomorrow, followed by a high close to 60 on Wednesday. Dry air means a sunny sky tomorrow and Wednesday.

NEXT RAIN: A cold front will bring a chance of rain late Wednesday night into Thursday; the 06Z GFS suggests the best chance of rain with this system will come from midnight Wednesday night to around 12:00 noon Thursday. With only limited moisture, I would not expect more than one-quarter of an inch of rain.

More cool and dry air arrives Thursday night, and Friday looks dry and cool with a good supply of sunshine,

WEEKEND PEEK: A disturbance will move across the Deep South Saturday, but with very limited moisture it sure doesn’t look like a significant rain event. Both the 00Z and the 06Z run of the GFS show little if any rain here on Saturday; the best chance of rain will be over South Alabama, with some light snow possible to the north across Tennessee and Kentucky. Sunday should be cool and dry.

VOODOO LAND: The pattern continues to favor a mean eastern U.S. upper trough, with temperatures remaining below average here. A decent rain event shows up one week from tomorrow. We will have a hard time warming up with this kind of pattern.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 30 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. You can even listen here on the blog; look for the player on the top left. We will record a few episode tonight; it should be available by 10:30 or so.

TWITTER: Don’t forget, you can follow our news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. And, my personal Twitter feed is here if you want to keep up with my adventures in life. Twitter is a short messaging service you can receive via the web, cell phone, or IM.

I have a couple of “Lunch with Mr James” stops today… one at Mount Laurel Elementary, and another one at Chelsea Intermediate. I will be back in the office by early afternoon and the next Weather Xtreme video will be posted by 3:30!

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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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