Mild Today but Storms Ahead

| December 15, 2012 @ 7:31 am

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The weather map this morning does not look terribly different from last weekend. We are dealing with a cold front to our northwest, very similar to last weekend, and that front will remain stalled for the next 36 hours in our area providing us with an opportunity for scattered showers. Radar this morning showed numerous small showers and patches of rain from Montgomery to Huntsville. And, just like last weekend, temperatures are quite mild with temperatures this morning in the 40s and lower 50s when we should be seeing lows in the 30s. Despite the clouds, the warm southerly wind will allow temperatures to climb into the 60s today.

Aloft we have three short waves that will be traversing our area giving us chances for showers and thunderstorms. The first one is going by today, the second comes Sunday afternoon, and the third and biggest one comes early Monday.

And we stay mild into Sunday with the big event coming from Sunday afternoon into Monday morning. Rain and thunderstorms will be occurring from Sunday afternoon into Monday morning with the biggest threat for storms coming from about 9 pm Sunday to about 9 am Monday. Right now the instability is somewhat limited as we saw last weekend. But with lots of low level moisture as dew points climb into the 60s together with a strong low level jet and the frontal dynamics, isolated severe storms will be possible with isolated tornadoes again a possibility. Precipitable water values climb to around one and three quarters of an inch, so with the front in the area, we are at risk from thunderstorms training producing heavy rains that may contribute to some flooding potential. Overall it appears likely that much of Central Alabama will receive 1 to 2 inches of rain.

The strong trough comes by Monday afternoon pushing the front well out of the area and ending the rain and thunderstorm threat. It’s possible we might even see some sunshine by late Monday afternoon toward sunset. We cool down but not terribly cold – at least back to values close to what we typically see in mid-December.

Wednesday should be a great day with a nice ridging aloft. But the pattern is very progressive with another trough coming out of the western US Thursday promising to bring another round of rain and storms for Thursday afternoon into early Friday. Once again there may be some potential for severe weather with this system, but it’s a little too early to be very specific plus we need to get by the first system.

The end of the week system does show promise for some much colder air with a close low over the eastern Great Lakes and a nice north to northwesterly flow aloft bringing cold air into the eastern half of the country. The 540 thickness contour shows up dipping all the way into Central Alabama on Friday and Saturday.

Looking further afield, the GFS suggests a nearly zonal flow pattern around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dashing any hopes for a white Christmas. The pattern stays relatively warm through the end of December. But remember, this is voodoo land, so tomorrows run may have a completely different look.

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I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted first thing on Sunday morning. You can catch the latest weather forecast on ABC 3340 and 6 and 10 pm today as I’ll be filling in for Ashley Brand. Also stay connect with the Blog where you’ll find the latest information on developing weather for Central Alabama. Godspeed.


PS As James noted below, all of us cannot help but be touched by the unspeakable tragedy in Connecticut yesterday morning. I cannot imagine the grief that those families are going through, and even worse, will be brought again and again because of the time of year when this occurred. We hope and pray that this does not happen anywhere ever again and it reminds me that every day is a gift. We should celebrate each day instead of whining, moaning, and complaining. Yes, everyone has problems, you cannot avoid those in life. But we should take a moment to realize we are alive and blessed with each new day. Hug your kids, hug your friends, tell them you believe in them and love them. The reality of life is that we might not have tomorrow for those encouraging words. I sincerely hope that the true spirit of Christmas can live throughout the WHOLE year.

Category: Alabama's Weather

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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