Active Weather Ahead

| December 22, 2012 @ 7:23 am

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It’s shaping up for a busy period of weather from now through the Christmas week as a series of upper level troughs move across the eastern half of the country. But for today we stay dry and coolish, but thankfully the wind should die down somewhat so it won’t feel quite as cold. But we still stay coolish with highs only in the lower 50s.

A short wave moves across north of us on Sunday afternoon, but I think the rain chances are minimal since the lower portion of the atmosphere will be dry. But it should moisten up fairly quickly with rain and perhaps some thunder late Sunday night into Monday morning. Clouds and rain should help to keep temperatures in check with highs in the upper 50s.

Rain chances continue on Monday, but I think the potential for rain diminishes during the day with a high climbing to around 60s. We start the day out on Christmas Day with cloudy skies, but we’ll probably be dry as the next and biggest system ejects out of the southern Rockies coming our way Christmas afternoon and into the day after Christmas. This is where the forecast gets a bit dicey with two significant weather elements to deal with – the first being severe weather threat and the second being the potential for some snow flurries or brief light snow.

The two primary medium range models are in good agreement with a surface low forming in the vicinity of Lake Charles and moving northeastward into Northwest Alabama by midnight on Christmas night. This storm track should put Central Alabama into the warm sector late on Christmas Day which would mean a fairly warm day with highs reaching the lower 60s. This should bring us some potential for severe thunderstorms. However, the greatest instability remains along the Gulf Coast in a fashion similar to what we’ve seen with the last couple of storm systems. Perhaps my greatest worry is that the GFS is under forecasting the northward surge of instability because the surface low on both the ECMWF and the GFS is pretty strong. And the two primary models are in good agreement on the positions and strength of the low. Definitely wise to keep an eye on this.

The surface low is forecast to move by into the eastern Ohio River Valley and Central Appalachians by midday on the 26th. This then throws the age old problem of whether or not the cold air will arrive BEFORE the moisture departs. Right now both models show conditions that appear likely for the occurrence of some snow flurries or brief light snow before the moisture leaves completely. So, again, this will be a watch and see scenario as to how the actual mesoscale conditions shape up. If you are looking for snow, the GFS places the greatest snow potential along the Ohio River Valley with 2 to 4 inches possible. For us in Central Alabama, temperatures will change little or fall during the day with readings mainly in the 40s.

We come under a ridge on the 27th giving us a break in the weather with a somewhat chilly day with highs reaching the upper 40s. And we should warm up a bit more on Friday with a cold morning. Friday into Saturday is interesting on the GFS with rain returning. I don’t buy that scenario right now as the whole placement of rain looks a bit out of whack.

Looking further out, we start 2013 on a mild note with a substantial trough moving across the Great Lakes while leaving a trough over the southern Rockies. That lacking trough brings some wet weather around the 2nd and by the 6th of January we see the development of a deep trough over the western US which puts the Southeast US under strong southwesterly flow. This would be a warm and moist flow if it pans out.

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We’ll be on a one-a-day Weather Xtreme Video schedule from now through January 30th with James Spann off on some well deserved vacation time. So you are stuck with me until he returns. Remember that you can catch my forecast each evening for the next nine days on ABC 3340 newscast. Enjoy this dry but cool day before the weather turns active again. Godspeed.


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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