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Fall Officially Arrives Tonight

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 06:28

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: A broken band of showers was over Central Alabama at daybreak ahead of a cold front.

These showers will continue to drop southward, and a cool, dry airmass will follow. Today will be beautiful for North and Central Alabama, with ample sunshine, lower humidity, a nice north breeze, and cooler temperatures. The high will be around 80 degrees for the I-20 corridor, with highs in the 70s to the north.

Perfect timing since the autumnal equinox is tonight at 9:29 p.m. CT… the “official” arrival of fall in terms of astronomy. Meteorological fall started September 1.

THE DAYS AHEAD: The coolest morning will come early tomorrow, with most communities seeing a low between 51 and 56 degrees. But, cooler valleys across North Alabama will reach the 40s for the first time this season. Look for sunny days, fair nights through Friday with only a very slow warming trend. A very pleasant week for Alabama.

THE WEEKEND: Saturday will stay dry, with a good supply of sunshine and a high in the mid 80s. But, moisture returns Sunday, and a few scattered showers or thunderstorms could break out by afternoon. Sunday’s high will be in the low to mid 80s.

NEXT WEEK: A few scattered showers are possible Monday, but with no real dynamic forcing it doesn’t look like a big rain event. Keep in mind late September and October is usually the driest period of the year for our state. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

TROPICS: Remarkably quiet for mid-September across the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected this week.

GULF COAST WEATHER: A few scattered showers are possible along the coast today from Panama City to Gulf Shores, but look for sunny days and fair nights tomorrow through Saturday with highs in the 80s. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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I have a weather program this morning at Westminster School at Oak Mountain… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

September 22, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 06:20
September 22, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 588 3 ratings Time: 03:54 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

A Beautiful Late Summer Day; Slight Taste of Fall Ahead

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 15:37

A gorgeous late summer day is in progress across the state.

Fluffy cumulus clouds populate the sky, with better development over the Tennessee Valley and North Central part of the state.

Temperatures were in the middle and upper 80s.

Showers and thunderstorms were starting to fill in along our cold front, which has passed Memphis and is knocking on the door of the Northwest Corner of Alabama.

Those showers and storms should fill in a bit more as the front pushes southeastward, despite rather limited moisture. This will give a chance for showers and storms later tonight as the front progresses.

They will begin to die again after midnight as they push south of I-20. Here is the 4 km NAM Simulated radar reflectivity, a look at what the radar might look like around midnight:

So there is a chance of showers and storms across North and North Central Alabama through the evening tonight, diminishing after midnight.

By sunrise, showers and storms should be well south of I-20, with decreasing clouds to the north. The showers and storms should be south of Clanton by late morning and pushing south of Montgomery by early afternoon.

Highs tomorrow will remain in the 70s in areas north of US-78, with lower 80s to the south.

50s will be the rule Tuesday morning with 40s in the normally colder locations.

Categories: Weather

Another Warm Day

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 07:05

* * * No Weather Xtreme Video today due to an early commitment to Ride for Kids at Barber Motorsports Park * * *

Clear skies this morning will allow morning lows generally in the lower 60s to climb nicely into the 80s. So look for another warm day across Central Alabama with the afternoon highs climbing into the middle and upper 80s. A cold front approaching from the northwest was producing a narrow line of showers this morning in the Ohio River Valley. Due to a lack of moisture across the Southeast US, showers and storms will be limited as the cold front slides into Northwest Alabama this evening. Clouds and isolated showers will accompany the front as it moves southeastward across the state in response to the digging trough at 500 millibars. With limited moisture, rainfall amounts are expected to be light running less than a quarter of an inch for those places that see rain. Monday will also feature a breezy northwesterly flow ushering cooler air into Central Alabama. Look for morning lows to dip into the 50s across the area for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

The upper trough will move by Tuesday and Wednesday as a surface high slides eastward across the Ohio River Valley into the Mid Atlantic states. This will keep us dry through the week ahead with afternoon highs running generally in the lower 80s. As the high moves off into the Atlantic at the end of the week, I expect to see moisture return from the east and southeast with the potential for clouds and showers to return by next weekend.

SPC does not have any specific areas outlined for severe weather for the next five days as the overall weather pattern remains fairly tranquil.

And the tropics remain relatively inactive as we begin to emerge from the heart of hurricane season. One area of disturbed weather was being watched in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands, however, conditions were not conducive for significant development of this system which will bring some rain to the Cape Verde Islands as it remains well out in the Atlantic.

Beach goers will enjoy a warm day today with highs in the upper 80s. There will be scattered showers Monday but then the weather should turn dry along the Gulf Coast until moisture comes back at the end of the week with isolated showers once again. Highs each day will be in the middle 80s with water temperature running in the lower 80s.

Voodoo country looks somewhat active for us with a fairly potent system shaping up for the eastern half of the country as we enter October. Yesterday it looked like such a system would affect us around the first of October, but now the GFS holds it off a day or two. That system is followed by the development of a substantial ridge across the eastern half of the country signaling some warm days.

And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

Thanks for keeping up with the weather via the Blog. James Spann will have the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning. Enjoy the day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

A Beautiful Saturday

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 12:18

The weather is terrific today across the state. We did see quite a bit of cloud cover over eastern and southern portions of the state, but through the morning hours, these clouds are slowly dissipating and by later this afternoon, we should all see a sun-filled sky. It will remain dry and pleasant across the state today, and it is shaping up to be one the best Saturday’s we have seen across the state in some while.

At midday, temps are not bad at all. There are ranging from the mid-70s to the lower and mid-80s across the central portions of the state. Through the afternoon, temps will continue to climb into the mid to upper 80s. Depending on your location, and the amount of sunshine you get, will determine the temperature. Dew points are in the 60s for most locations and though it is warm today, it is rather comfortable as those humidity levels are lower.  It is great day for any outdoor activities you may have planned.

Categories: Weather

A Warm and Dry Weekend

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 07:10

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

High pressure off to our northeast has created a bit of a wedge pattern which has ushered in drier air to Alabama. This should provide us with a gorgeous warm weekend for the last of summer with the official start of Fall coming Monday evening. There were some clouds especially in East Central and Southeast Alabama as well as the southern portion of Georgia, but most of those should mix out by late morning Highs today will be in the middle 80s, a tad cooler in the eastern sections where the wedge will be a bit stronger, but warming into the middle and upper 80s on Sunday.

The first really good push of cooler air will come with a cold front passing through the area on Monday morning. Moisture will be somewhat limited with the front plus it will be coming through during the early morning hours of Monday, so showers will be limited but I think we have a chance to see some showers. Rainfall amounts should be less than a quarter of an inch in spots that do see a shower.

After the front comes through on Monday morning, high pressure to our north will bring cooler and drier air to Alabama. Cooler is relative, though, as we will continue to see highs generally in the lower 80s for the week ahead. The biggest change will come in the morning lows that will dip down well into the 60s on Tuesday morning and by Wednesday morning we should see readings in the upper 50s with lower 50s in those cooler spots. As the upper ridge builds strong across the eastern portion of the country into the end of the week, look for high temperatures to again climb into the middle 80s with lows in the 60s.

Headed to Tuscaloosa for the game this afternoon? Looks like a warm day with mostly sunny skies and a kickoff temperature around 85 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

Beach goers will enjoy plenty of sunshine and dry weather for the weekend. Showers will be widely scattered on Monday but dry weather returns for the rest of the week with highs in the middle 80s. Water temperature along the beaches is coming down a bit with values still in the mid 80s.

The tropics are quiet with just one area of cloudiness being watched well out in the Atlantic south of the Cape Verde Islands. This system is not expected to develop in the short term and will stay well out to sea.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS is painting a strong weather system around the first of October with a strong, closed upper low coming across the Plains states. This system has the potential to produce some severe weather possibilities. An upper ridge builds in across the Gulf after that system passes providing another period of dry weather for Alabama.

And you can follow news and weather updates from ABC 33/40 on Twitter here. Stay in the know by following the whole gang – here’s the list…

James Spann Charles Daniel Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

I’ll be filling in for Meaghan on ABC 3340 News at 6 and 10 pm today, so be sure to tune in for the latest forecast. I’m going to be assisting with announcing duties at the Birmingham Ride for Kids at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday morning, so not too sure about the next video. I will try to post some forecast notes even if I can’t get a video done. Enjoy the marvelous warm weather and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

September 20 Weather Xtreme Video

Weather Xtreme Video - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 07:09
September 20 Weather Xtreme Video
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 309 1 ratings Time: 05:47 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

Warm Weekend Ahead

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 15:44

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

RADAR CHECK: Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms are in progress this afternoon across Alabama… drifting slowly to the southwest.

These will fade quickly after the sun set this evening.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be a mostly sunny day to kick off the weekend with a high in the mid 80s for most communities. The day Sunday will be dry and very warm with a high in the upper 80s; some West Alabama towns could touch 90 degrees Sunday afternoon. Then, a cold front will bring the risk of a few scattered showers Sunday night. Moisture will be limited, and the showers will diminish as they move south. Rain amounts will be light and spotty, and showers should be gone by daybreak Monday.

NEXT WEEK: A nice surge of dry, continental air will move into the state Monday, setting up a generally rain-free week with seasonal temperatures. Highs will be mostly in the low 80s, lows in the upper 50s and low 60s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school football games tonight across Alabama, most stadiums will be dry, but a shower is possible in scattered spots during the first half of the games. Temperatures will fall through the 70s.

Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa tomorrow afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 87 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle. It will feel pretty hot if you are sitting in the sun.

TROPICS: Edouard has become post-tropical in the middle of the Atlantic this afternoon far from land, and the rest of the Atlantic is pretty quiet.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny days and fair nights from Panama City west to Gulf Shores through the weekend and most of the week with only isolated showers. Highs in the mid 80s, sea water temperatures also in the mid 80s. A nice, calm pattern.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I had a great time today visiting with the 6th graders at Brookwood Forest Elementary School in Mountain Brook; be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. Monday… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

Warm Weekend Ahead; Isolated Showers Today

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:16

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

AT DAYBREAK: Showers/storms that formed over far West Alabama last night dissipated after midnight, and the radar is quiet this morning. For most of the state, today will be a partly sunny and warm day with a high in the mid to upper 80s. A few isolated showers are possible afternoon and early tonight, but many communities will remain dry.

For those along the Georgia border, clouds could be a little thicker today, with the risk of a shower a little higher due to the cold air damming effect. A cold high is centered over New England, and that colder air will drain down the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. This could impact far East Alabama, but it is not the classic “wedge” setup.

OUR WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and warm with a high in the mid 80s. Then, the day Sunday looks mostly warm and dry as well, but a cold front should push a band of showers into North Alabama late in the day Sunday and Sunday night. Moisture will be limited, so this won’t be a big rain event, but some places could see a shower as the weekend wraps up. Sunday will be a bit more like summer with a high in the upper 80s before the front arrives.

NEXT WEEK: Cooler and drier air spreads into Alabama Monday, and much of the week is looking dry and pleasant. Highs mostly in the low 80s, lows in the 50s and low 60s. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the high school football games tonight across Alabama, most stadiums will be dry, but we will mention a small risk of a shower during the first half. Temperatures will fall through the 70s.

Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa tomorrow afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 87 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle. It will feel pretty hot if you are sitting in the sun.

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Edouard will become post-tropical today over the Atlantic west of the Azores, and it remains far from land. A new wave has come off the coast of Africa, but if anything forms there we have no worries since that one should turn north into the open Atlantic. A low should form off the U.S. East Coast this weekend, but it will stay offshore.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny days and fair nights from Panama City west to Gulf Shores through the weekend and most of the week with only isolated showers. Highs in the mid 80s, sea water temperatures also in the mid 80s. A nice, calm pattern.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I have a weather program today at Brookwood Forest Elementary School in Mountain Brook… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

September 19, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:15
September 19, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 503 5 ratings Time: 05:19 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

Showers Remain Isolated

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 15:31

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: A lone storm was over Cullman County near Good Hope at 3:20 this afternoon, and a cluster of strong storms was about to move into Muscle Shoals. Otherwise, it is a dry day across Alabama with filtered sunshine through high clouds and temperatures mostly in the 80s.

We will maintain the risk of a few isolated showers or storms this evening with the northwest flow pattern over Alabama.

TOMORROW: For a good part of Alabama, it will be a partly sunny day with a high in the mid 80s. However, communities near the Georgia border could very well have a cloudy and cooler day with a high in the 70s, and maybe even a touch of light rain or drizzle thanks to a cold air damming (CAD) pattern that will push clouds in from the east. The best chance of seeing a shower tomorrow will be along and east of U.S. 431.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be a mostly sunny and warm day with a high in the mid 80s. Sunday stays warm and dry with a high in the 80s, but an approaching cold front could trigger a few widely spaced showers Sunday night and Monday morning. It sure doesn’t look like a big rain event, and many Alabama cities will see no rain at all.

Drier and cooler air moves into Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For tonight’s Auburn/Kansas State football game in Manhattan, Kansas (6:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly fair, the temperature will fall from around 77 degrees at kickoff, into the low 70s by the final whistle.

For the high school football games tonight and tomorrow night across Alabama, most stadiums will be dry, but we will mention a small risk of a shower during the first half. Temperatures will fall through the 70s.

Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 85 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin is pretty quiet, although Hurricane Edouard is still hanging around with top winds of 80 mph. This system is moving east over the Central Atlantic and will remain far from land. A wave near the Cape Verde Islands in the far East Atlantic is disorganized. We do note computer models develop a surface low east of Florida over the next 36 hours; this might try and become better organized as it moves northeast, off the East Coast of the U.S.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Expect mostly sunny days, fair nights from Panama City over to Gulf Shores through Sunday with only isolated showers. Highs in the mid to upper 80s; sea water temperatures mostly in the mid 80s.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I enjoyed speaking today at Alabama Power’s headquarters in downtown Birmingham… be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

Categories: Weather

September 18, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 15:25
September 18, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 199 2 ratings Time: 05:25 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

Just A Few Isolated Showers Today

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 06:27

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: The high resolution NAM model yesterday hinted at showers over North Alabama early this morning, and sure enough we have a few on radar this morning; they are moving southeast.

We will mention the risk of a few widely scattered showers today, but the most widespread rain should be west of the state over Mississippi/Louisiana/Arkansas, closer to a wave in the northwest flow aloft across the Mid-South. The chance of any one spot seeing a shower today is about one in five across north and central Alabama… otherwise the day will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the mid 80s.

TOMORROW: Most of the state will have a partly sunny and warm day, but for those of you near the Georgia border, a cold air damming (CAD) pattern could bring clouds in for much of the day from the east, and maybe even a shower or two. The best chance of a shower will be near and east of U.S. 431, and even there they will be widely spaced. Tomorrow’s high will be in the 80s for most of the state, but communities near the Georgia border would hold in the 70s through the day.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be a mostly sunny day with a high in the mid 80s; the weather stays dry during the day Sunday, but we will introduce the chance of a shower Sunday night ahead of a cold front approaching from the north.

We will maintain the threat of a shower Monday as the front passes down through the state, then cooler and drier air arrives for Tuesday and Wednesday; it could be the coolest air we have seen so far this fall with highs in the 78-81 degree range, and lows in the 50s. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For tonight’s Auburn/Kansas State football game in Manhattan, Kansas (6:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly fair, the temperature will fall from around 77 degrees at kickoff, into the low 70s by the final whistle.

For the high school football games tonight and tomorrow night across Alabama, most stadiums will be dry, but we will mention a slight risk of a shower during the first half. Temperatures will fall through the 70s.

Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 85 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

TROPICS: Hurricane Edouard is moving east through the open Atlantic with winds of 85 mph… it will weaken and dissipate early next week far from land. A few wave has emerged off the coast of Africa, but shows little organization.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Expect mostly sunny days and fair nights on the Gulf Coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores through the weekend with only isolated showers; highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 85 degrees.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be doing a severe weather safety program this morning at Alabama Power in downtown Birmingham… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

September 18, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 06:23
September 18, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 400 3 ratings Time: 05:54 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

September 17, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:36
September 17, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 224 0 ratings Time: 07:05 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

A Mostly Calm Weather Pattern

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:34

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

RADAR CHECK: As expected, there are no showers anywhere in Alabama at mid-afternoon; the sky is partly to mostly sunny, with temperatures generally in the 80s. Muscle Shoals and Haleyville are at 78 degrees at 2:00 p.m. Dew points are low, and the air is dry. Many North Alabama communities will visit the upper 50s early tomorrow morning.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: While it looks like generally calm and dry weather continues, there are a couple of potential issues. One wave coming down in the northwest flow aloft, now producing showers and storms over Missouri and northern Arkansas, and the high resolution NAM brings down a batch of showers into North Alabama very early tomorrow morning, then moving southward through the state during the day. But, that model is an outlier, and with a very dry airmass in place I don’t think we see anything significant. I might insert a slight risk of a shower for North Alabama tomorrow due to this feature, but for now it doesn’t look like a big weather maker.

Then, on Friday, a cold air damming pattern (the wedge) sets up over Georgia and the Carolinas, and it looks like low clouds will push into far East Alabama Friday morning. Some communities near the Georgia border might even see a sprinkle or two. The high along and east of U.S. 431 will be in the 70s, but for the rest of the state Friday should be a partly sunny day with a high in the mid 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Looks nice with ample sunshine Saturday and Sunday with highs holding in the 80s. A few showers could arrive Sunday night ahead of cold front. That front will bring the risk of widely scattered showers Monday, but it looks like moisture will be very limited, and it won’t be a major rain event. Cooler and drier air follows the front for the middle of next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for the latest maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For tomorrow night’s Auburn/Kansas State football game in Manhattan, Kansas (6:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly fair, the temperature will fall from around 77 degrees at kickoff, into the low 70s by the final whistle.

Clear weather for the high school football games in Alabama tomorrow and Friday night; temperatures will be in the upper 70s at kickoff, falling into the low 70s by the fourth quarter. No threat of rain or lightning delays this week.

Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 85 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

TROPICS: Hurricane Edouard is packing sustained winds of 90 mph in the Atlantic; it is moving northeast and will remain far from land. A new tropical wave is moving off the coast of Africa, but any development will be slow.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny days and fair nights through Sunday from Panama City over to Gulf Shores with only isolated showers over storms; highs will be in the mid to upper 80s, with sea water temperatures mostly in the mid 80s.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I enjoyed seeing everyone at ALAGASCO today in Gadsden… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

JB, NWR, MOOCs, and Why Humans Matter in Higher Education

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:30

This guest post was authored by Dr. John Knox, an associate professor in the Geography Department and the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia.

Why am I a meteorologist? Let me tell you a story that is mine, but others’ as well. A story that, in the end, touches on one of the biggest unsolved questions in higher education today: why, in this era of democratized education via sophisticated technology, we still need humans in the loop as teachers and mentors.

As my students know, I became fascinated by the weather at the ripe old age of four, at an Atlanta Braves exhibition game interrupted and ended by a severe thunderstorm. By the age of five, I was reading books about the weather. But such childhood fascinations can wane; my son became enthralled with trains when he was 2, but he’s not majoring in railroads here at UGA. Particularly if you don’t have an adult mentor in the specialty who ushers you to that next level.

That’s what I had in meteorology, courtesy of the U.S. government, starting when I was 11 years old. In the aftermath of the deadly 1974 Tornado Superoutbreak that killed hundreds and disrupted communications from Alabama to Michigan, the National Weather Service realized that it needed its own way to get the word out about tornado warnings. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) was born.

As national networks go, NWR was and is kind of a rinky-dink affair. The radio console looked like a glorified 8-track tape affair. Meteorologists at National Weather Service stations would record forecasts, weather summaries, hourly weather observations, and watches and warnings and plug them in. The tapes would play sequentially, over and over again, broadcast to the public on high-frequency stations.

It sounds deadly-dull, doesn’t it? Especially to a generation that has not been raised on the radio.

But for an 11-year-old weather nerd in the days before The Weather Channel, it was heaven. Now, instead of trying to learn about the weather from a three-minute TV weather broadcast, or the very, very occasional special on network TV back then, I had a 24/7/365 mentor on the weather radio that I begged my parents to buy.

And when I say “24/7/365,” that wasn’t not too far off the mark in terms of my NWR listening habits. My parents and brother marveled at my ability to listen for hours, absorbing weather information while doing homework, reading, or just lying around. It was my constant companion growing up.

Even better, the voices on NWR were real meteorologists at our local National Weather Service office. Some read the weather information without inflection. Others sounded almost comically Southern. But there was one, with a resonant tenor voice, who was the best of the best.

This sonorous meteorologist’s name, I learned eventually, was JB Elliott. A native of Hale County, Alabama, JB had, in post-WWII America, worked his way into the Weather Service without a college degree. Over time he became the widely known and beloved resident historian of all things Alabama weather. I eventually listened to NWR all over the country, but there was no one like JB for conveying both the history and the excitement of weather. He would get up out of bed and drive to the Weather Service office in the middle of the night just to do NWR broadcasts during severe weather. I told my family that the weather couldn’t be that severe until I heard JB’s voice on NWR.

Then there was April 4, 1977. An “F5” tornado—the worst—hit just a few miles away from us in Birmingham, killing 22 people. JB went on NWR live—no tape delay—broadcasting the warnings and making sure listeners knew of the gravity of the situation. When JB went live, you knew it wasn’t just bad weather, it was the worst. The damage was so horrendous, photographs of it ended up in training guides for meteorologists. Some of those photographs were taken by JB.

I didn’t meet JB face-to-face until much, much later, in the early 2000s. I had just published the first edition of an introductory college-level meteorology textbook. And in it, I dedicated the book to two meteorologists: the late chair of the meteorology department of my Ph.D. institution, and JB. It might be the first time that a college textbook has been dedicated to a government employee without a college degree. But I think you can tell why I dedicated the book to JB. Without his voice mentoring me in the weather during my childhood, all the way into college, I would likely have lost interest in the weather somewhere along the way.

Now, what does this have to do with higher education? Today we are grappling with the role and scope of online education at universities. Why keep costly humans in the loop at all? JB Elliott and NWR can speak to these questions.

And that’s because, after about 20 years of live meteorologists on NWR, the Weather Service automated the whole shebang in 1997. This was a time-saving, cost-saving move, designed with good intentions to have meteorologists spend more of their time on science and getting warnings out to the public.

And so JB’s tenor was replaced with Igor the Computer’s automated voice. That wasn’t the official name of the voice; the Weather Service tried to personalize things by calling them “Paul,” and “Donna,” and “Tom,” and “Javier.” They’re all Igor to me.

An important point here: the computerized voices ‘read’ the same type of information that the human meteorologists had for decades: hourly weather summaries, weather forecasts, etc. Most of the time, the only difference is that the words are automated vs. coming from a National Weather Service meteorologist.

But that makes all the difference to me. As Will Smith says in I, Robot: “Robots, [gesturing toward his heart], nothing here, just lights and clockwork. Go ahead, you trust ‘em if you want to.” I tried to listen to NWR’s automated broadcasts. I couldn’t. It wasn’t the same, and in fact it felt like a betrayal to me. I spent many thousands of hours listening to NWR in my youth. From the time of automation in 1997 until now, I have listened to NWR for a grand total of 15 minutes. Other “weather nerds” have said the same thing to me.

And I predict that no one, ever, will dedicate a meteorology textbook to Igor the Computer Voice.

Now, back to the ivory tower. I contend that my experience speaks to some of the deepest issues in higher education with regard to automation.

• The mentor/instructor must be present. That often means physically present. But JB was present for me in his voice, and in his getting out of bed and going on-air at 3 am during severe weather. I’ll write another time about the crucial nature of physical presence, but it isn’t absolutely necessary as long as you are truly present in other ways. And even though ‘he’ is always there, Igor the Computer is not in any human sense “present.”

• The mentor/instructor must be passionate. I do get strange looks from meteorologists of my generation when I talk about good ol’ NWR. They had NWR, too, in other parts of the country, but there it was just a radio that set off an alarm during severe weather. They didn’t have JB, and other Birmingham Weather Service meteorologists who invested time, energy and interest. And nobody had JB’s passion for the weather, clearly conveyed via the radio. It was the same kind of information, yes, but it lacked passion.

• In recent years there has been a big push to use technology to create massively open online courses, or MOOCs. Millions can be reached, but comparatively few students finish such courses, and the grades can be even worse than ‘normal’ classes. However, other instructors report good results with online courses on smaller scales. What’s going on here? Presence and passion. As I know from my own teaching experiences, even a large class can feel small and alive if the instructor is willing to be present in his or her students’ lives, passionate about the subject, and if the students are willing to suspend disbelief and pretend that a large science class can be a community, too. If MOOCs can create that environment on the scale of thousands or millions, then they will succeed. JB created it, on-air, for thousands in the Birmingham area. So it can be done outside of a face-to-face relationship. So the MOOC advocates are right in this sense. But it’s not about information dissemination. Most humans have to be motivated, emotionally, to learn. “Lights and clockwork” don’t do that.

Automation does have its advantages. Igor’s voice will drone on as long as the government keeps the transmitters working. JB retired from the Weather Service back in 1989. Recently, due to health, he has had to step back from participating in the Birmingham-based, world-renowned “Weatherbrains” podcasts. People get old, retire, and eventually die.

No one will shed a tear when Igor finally “signs off.” The same will not be said for JB Elliott, not among his thousands of friends in the flesh in Birmingham, and thousands more around the world online. And certainly not among the not-small contingent of those who became weather fanatics and even degreed meteorologists because of him.

And that is what real education is all about.

The hero in John’s story is our very own J.B. Elliott, who recently retired from his day to day forecasting duties, and someone that several of us called mentor. This photograph was from the Birmingham News article when J.B. retired. – Bill Murray

Categories: Weather

September 17, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:28
September 17, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Morning Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 425 4 ratings Time: 05:38 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather

Dry Pattern Setting Up For Alabama

ABC 33/40 Weather Blog - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:27

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

NO RAIN FOR A WHILE: A drier airmass pushed into Alabama last night, and it looks like a pretty benign weather pattern ahead for the state through the weekend. Mostly sunny warm days, lower humidity, and clear cool nights. Afternoon highs will be in the 80s; our coolest morning will come early tomorrow when most communities will enjoy a low between 58 and 63 degrees.

The only potential issue comes Friday with a cold air damming pattern sets up east of the state; we will have to keep an eye on clouds and cooler temperatures over Georgia and the Carolinas; that could creep into extreme East Alabama, but for now we will make the assumption the wedge won’t impact our state.

LATE IN THE WEEKEND: A cold front will approach, and we will mention the risk of a few widely scattered showers Sunday night as the weekend wraps up, but moisture looks very limited and it sure won’t be a big rain event. We will hang on to the risk of isolated showers Monday, and then a cooler, drier airmass arrives Monday night, setting up some very pleasant fall weather for the middle of next week with highs around 80 and lows in the 50s. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

DRY TIME OF THE YEAR: September-October is our driest two month period of the year in Alabama based on climatological averages; the average rain for September is 4.05″, with an average of just 3.23″ in October (for Birmingham). So long dry periods like this are fairly common this time of the year.

We should mention Birmingham’s rain total for the year is 34.50″, 4.66″ below average.

THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: Looks like we can remove any threat of rain from tomorrow night’s Auburn/Kansas State football game in Manhattan, Kansas (6:30p CT kickoff). The sky will be mostly fair, the temperature will fall from around 77 degrees at kickoff, into the low 70s by the final whistle.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Clear weather for the high school football games in Alabama Thursday and Friday night; temperatures will be in the upper 70s at kickoff, falling into the low 70s by the fourth quarter. No threat of rain or lightning delays this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND: Alabama will host Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon (2:30p CT kickoff)… the sky will be mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature near 85 degrees, falling into the upper 70s by the final whistle.

TROPICS: Hurricane Edouard is now weakening as it recurves into the open Atlantic… far from land. Top winds are down to 90 mph. Tropical Storm Odile in the northern Gulf of California has the potential to bring flooding rain to Arizona and New Mexico through tomorrow. And, Tropical Storm Polo is in the East Pacific off the Mexican coast, but this one looks like it will miss Cabo San Lucas to the west this weekend thankfully.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny days and fair nights on the coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores through the weekend with only isolated showers Saturday and Sunday. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 85 degrees.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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I will be doing a severe weather safety program this morning at ALAGASCO in Gadsden… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

September 16, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition

Weather Xtreme Video - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:48
September 16, 2014 Weather Xtreme Video - Afternoon Edition
The ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is a detailed weather discussion for Alabama and the Southeast U.S. which goes beyond the normal stuff you see on TV! From... From: abc3340 Views: 229 5 ratings Time: 06:03 More in News & Politics
Categories: Weather