Polar Express Now Boarding

| January 11, 2009 @ 7:23 am | 58 Replies

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When you work in the field of weather – and especially forecasting – there are no sure bets. But I think it is safe bet to say that the upcoming week will be COLD! I just have to keep lecturing JB Elliott on leaving that freezer door open! All you have to do is take a look at any of the upper air charts for the middle of this next week, and you can easily follow the contours from Central Alabama back to the northwest to the Yukon Territory where temperatures have been consistently in the minus 50 range for many days. And that cold air just has to break lose at some point – and it looks like we’ve reached that point.

The rain is out of Central Alabama but the clouds are sticking around. As a result you might encounter some sprinkles on the windshield if you head out this morning. But I think the chances for any measurable rain are just about zero. Clouds will stick around and with a brisk northwest wind at 7 to 14 mph ushering in more cold air, I don’t expect to see temperatures change much today with readings in the 40s.

Much of the upcoming week will be dry with some shots of moisture on Tuesday and again around Thursday. The current thinking is that moisture will be rather limited, so perhaps clouds or maybe some snow flurries will occur. And with each of those shots comes a reinforcing shot of cold air so that by Thursday and Friday, I would expect to be using works like brutal to describe the cold. It also appears that the model output statistics or MOS numbers may be skewed a little too much toward climatology.

While the model charts don’t show anything of significance in the way of winter weather currently, it’s appropriate to remember that the specifics come in small features. My confidence in the current forecast is good, but it would take only a small change in the pattern to bring about a big change to our weather. That’s why we continually monitor the weather and update forecasts as we combine model information with a peek out the window to see what’s really happening.

As we get into next weekend and into the longer range periods, the GFS hints at more mischief with potential winter weather around Sunday and Monday. This possibility is certainly on the table with cold air in place, but it is in voodoo country where speculation is high and confidence is not. The one trend that I see from the long range GFS output is that the overall pattern will remain active with a continuation of series of upper air disturbances running through the flow with an long wave trough generally over the eastern half of the country.

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Thanks for tuning into the Weather Xtreme Video today. Stay warm. James Spann will be back bright and early tomorrow morning with the next edition. I’m looking forward to trying to catch up on some things at home as well as some other duties. I hope you have a great Sunday. Godspeed.


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About the Author ()

Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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