Potential Tropical Trouble For Alabama This Weekend

| October 2, 2013 @ 6:21 am

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WARM AFTERNOONS: Our weather won’t change much through Friday; partly sunny, warm days, mostly fair nights. Actually the chance of rain is not zero, thanks to an upper low west of Alabama, but most communities will stay dry. Afternoon highs will be up in the mid 80s, with lows in the 60s. The chance of rain for high school football games tomorrow and Friday night is very small.

WEEKEND RAIN POTENTIAL: This will be the focus for this forecast package, and the forecast remains complex with a potential tropical system impacting the state, interacting with an approaching upper trough and cold front.

KAREN??? The disturbance in the Caribbean looks better organized this morning with a central dense overcast and some banding features. A long wave upper trough over the middle of North America will pull this north, up into the Gulf of Mexico within 24 hours, and most models bring this up to Tropical Storm Karen by Friday. The track, structure, and intensity of this will determine the amount of rain across the Southeast U.S. this weekend.

Understand the forecast confidence will remain low until a firm low level center develops, and the models can become better initialized.

TRACK: There is model spread showing landfall all the way from Morgan City, Louisiana, almost to near Cedar Key, Florida. But, the tightest cluster is around Gulf Shores and Pensacola, with a track up toward Montgomery and Atlanta. Remember, the heaviest rain is usually on the east side of the circulation center, so this idea would keep the heaviest rain south and east of cities like Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. But again, it is simply too early to forecast a specific track until we get an organized system.

INTENSITY: The good news is that all models keep this under hurricane strength. But, there is a good chance it will be a tropical storm at the time of landfall. The main threat will come from heavy rain, possibly some flooding, and rough surf.

TIMING: The GFDL brings the tropical system into the Alabama coast Friday night, while the GFS is slower, with a landfall at some point Saturday afternoon. I get the idea the best window for a landfall will be from about midnight Friday night through noon Saturday.

Take a few minutes to watch the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

OUR WEEKEND WEATHER: With a tropical system involved, especially one that has yet to develop, it is very challenging to give you the specific start and stop times for rain this weekend. But, I think for North/Central Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, etc)… the main window for rain will be from about 3:00 p.m. Saturday until 6:00 p.m. Sunday. Assuming the heaviest rain from the tropical system remains south and east of here, the cold front should bring rain amounts of about 1/2 inch. There might be a little thunder, but we don’t expect any severe weather problems.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Just a few widely scattered showers and storms today, tomorrow, and during the day Friday. But, expect increasing wind and rain Friday night and Saturday from Panama City over to Gulf Shores. A tropical storm watch could be required as early as tomorrow, and tropical storm warnings could be posted by Friday. Conditions will improve on the coast Sunday.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the Alabama/Georgia State game at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday (11:21a CT kickoff), clouds will increase, but for now we will mention only a small risk of a shower during the game (best chance of widespread rain comes after the final whistle). Temperatures should be in the upper 70s at kickoff, possibly reaching the low 80s by the second half.

Auburn will host Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday evening (6:00p CT kickoff); I think we have to mention a decent chance of some rain at times, and if the tropical system makes landfall Saturday morning around Gulf Shores or Pensacola, heavy rain could become a very real possibility. But, watch the blog closely for forecast changes as the tropical system gets it’s act together. Temperatures should be in the 70s during the game.

UAB has a home game against Florida Atlantic (2:00p CT kickoff) at Legion Field; the sky will be cloudy, and rain is possible during the game, especially during the second half. Temperatures will be in the 70s.

NEXT WEEK: The 00Z GFS brings a nice surge of cool, dry air down into Alabama early in the week. The high Monday will be only in the low to mid 70s, and we should drop into the 40s early Tuesday for our coldest morning so far this fall.

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I will be doing a weather program this morning at Clanton Intermediate School…. be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!


Category: Alabama's Weather

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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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