Drier And Cooler Arrives Tonight

| December 17, 2012 @ 6:22 am

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THIS MORNING: The most active weather in the state this morning, as expected, is over the southern counties. Thankfully no severe weather issues down there overnight, but SPC is monitoring that region for a possible weather watch. Surface based instabilities have remained low with the warm front still near the Gulf Coast. Up this way, the most widespread rain is south of a line from Anniston to Brent to Uniontown and down to Mobile, but a few showers are forming between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa as I write this.

Showers and storms will end from west to east during the midday hours, and the sky will clear early tonight and cooler and drier air moves into the state.

TOMORROW: Should be a beautiful December day. We start the day in the 38-41 degree range, and then with sunshine in full supply we expect a high in the low 60s. Doesn’t get much better.

ANOTHER STORM SYSTEM: Wednesday will be dry and warmer with a high in the upper 60s, but to the west a major storm system will form and will pull moist air rapidly into Alabama Wednesday night with an increasing south wind. To the west, SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather up Wednesday for much of Arkansas, as well as parts of North Louisiana and West Mississippi. Thunderstorms should fire up in this region in the warm sector of the big mid-latitude cyclone, and some could be severe.

Here in Alabama, it looks like the main window for storms with this system will come from about 2:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon Thursday. SPC has dropped the formal severe weather risk for Alabama due to the lack of instability; the GFS keeps the LI (Lifted Index) positive through the event, meaning no real surface based instability. But, the helicity will be very adequate for severe weather; the surface-925 mb bulk shear is around 30 knots here.

This is a fairly common setup during the cold weather season here; very low CAPE (instability), and high shear. They can be problematic, and severe storms can form sometimes when you don’t expect them. So, for now, a major severe weather issue doesn’t look likely considering the lack of instability and the time of day, but we will have to watch model trends closely as the event gets closer.

Rain amounts of about 1/2 inch seem likely, with some spots possibly getting up to one inch.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The weather turns sharply colder on Friday as we will struggle to get out of the 40s. But, the air will be very dry and Friday should feature a good supply of sunshine. Saturday morning will be cold; we should be in the 20s to start the weekend.

The weather will be dry Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the 55-59 degree range. Sunday morning will feature a low in the low to mid 30s.

CHRISTMAS WEATHER: Earlier this month most of the global models looked pretty cold at Christmas here; but now that we are out of “voodoo range” and can take a good look at it, temperatures look very seasonal for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Highs in the 50s, lows in the upper 30s. Exactly where we should be in late December in Alabama. At this point the weather looks dry Monday and on most of Christmas Day, but another major storm system shows up with rain and storms Tuesday night into Wednesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the day by day breakdown and the maps.

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I will be at a teacher appreciation lunch today at Greystone Elementary School… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!


Category: Alabama's Weather

About the Author ()

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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