ABC 33/40 Weather Blog

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The latest information on Alabama weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, national weather headlines and the science of meteorology in general.
Updated: 17 min 48 sec ago

Warmer Days Ahead

1 hour 3 min ago

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.

THIS AFTERNOON: The sky has become sunny across the great state of Alabama; temperatures are mostly in the low 40s. The snow cover over North Alabama, while fading under the February sun, still shows nicely on visible satellite imagery this afternoon…

OUR WEEKEND: Tomorrow will be dry with a mix of sun and clouds; the high will be in the 52-55 degree range. Then, clouds increase Sunday, and we could see a little scattered light rain. Any rain Sunday should be light and spotty; a decent part of the day will be dry. The “wedge” could bring colder air into far East Alabama; communities near the Georgia border could hold in the 40s all day, but for the rest of the state the high will be in the 50s.

ACTIVE WEATHER NEXT WEEK: A cold front will be just north of the state Monday, and we will forecast occasional showers with a high at or just over 60 degrees. Then, on Tuesday, a deep surface low passes northwest of Alabama, and we will mention a chance of showers and storms for the northern half of the state. It will be a warm day with a high up in the low 70s… it still looks like the better risk of any severe thunderstorms will be north and west of Alabama.

WINTER WEATHER MISCHIEF? The 12Z GFS shows the cold front passing through Alabama Wednesday morning; the day will feature falling temperatures and periods of rain. And, like we really need this, it continues to hint at some potential for a “wintry mix” Wednesday night.

While this is not exactly “voodoo”, there is no way to resolve details of this potential so far in advance, and we might escape with no winter precipitation at all. We will keep a close eye on it over the weekend. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along; we will be in Hanceville next Tuesday evening. Just drop by anytime from 4:00 until 6:30… you can watch me do weather live on ABC 33/40, get some free stuff to take home, and have a chance to win several NOAA Weather Radios we will be giving away. If you need your weather radio programmed or checked, bring it by and we will be glad to help.

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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I had great visits today at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County, and West Blocton Elementary in Bibb County… be looking for those kids on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 and 6:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted early Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates here tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

Looks Like a Chilly February

7 hours 31 min ago

February is rapidly coming to a close, and based on the first 26 days of the month, February, 2015, will go in the record books as one of our colder Februarys since 1900. These numbers are preliminary since we have to include today and tomorrow, but for the first 26 days, the average monthly highs was 50.0 degrees which would be the 13th coldest February. The monthly low temperature was not quite as bad with 28.9 degrees which would make it the 26th coldest February since 1900.

I’m definitely ready for some warmer weather!

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Dry Through Tomorrow

10 hours 11 min ago

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.

COLD, DRY FRIDAY: A secondary surge of colder air is moving into Alabama today; the high will be around 40, and many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 30s. We expect intervals of sunshine, and the day will be dry.

OUR WEEKEND: Saturday will be warmer; we will forecast a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the 52 to 55 degree range. Still below average (the average high for February 28 is 62)… but at least we are moving in the right direction. Sunday will be mostly cloudy day with a chance of scattered light rain as moisture returns. Nothing heavy or widespread, but no doubt some rain is possible during the day. Also, a CAD (cold air damming) setup could bring colder air into East Alabama; the high Sunday will vary from the mid 40s near the Georgia border to the upper 50s near the Mississippi border.

NEXT WEEK: The wedge breaks down Monday and our high will be close to 60. A cold front approaching from the north should bring occasional showers; maybe some thunder. Tuesday will be the warmest day of the week as an upper ridge creeps in here from the south; the GFS is now printing a high of 74 for Birmingham. A deep surface low will run through the Great Plains; we will need to monitor for the potential of strong/severe thunderstorms, but at the moment it looks like the best dynamic forcing will be a little north and west of our state. Best chance of showers/storms Tuesday will come over the northern counties; South Alabama will be dry thanks to the ridge, and communities south of Montgomery could very well approach 80 degrees.

The front creeps through Wednesday as the chance of rain continues; some global model runs have suggested a pretty good wave will run along the front, enhancing the coverage of rain. I figure rain amounts of 2 to 3 inches are likely Monday through Wednesday.

Much colder air returns Thursday; if you believe the 06Z GFS we won’t get of the 30s, and it even hints at some risk of wintry precipitation early in the day. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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
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I have weather programs today at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County, and West Blocton Elementary in Bibb County… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Snow Storm Reports

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 19:36

The NWS in Birmingham prepared the Public Information Statement that I have posted below which details the reports of the snow amounts by county. If there is one thing that everyone should take away from this is that snowfall is not usually uniform with sizable variations across relatively short distances. Please note the caveat at the bottom of the statement.

-Brian-

NOUS44 KBMX 261151 PNSBMX ALZ011>015-017>050-262351- PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL 551 AM CST THU FEB 26 2015 ...HISTORIC WINTER STORM OF FEBRUARY 25, 2015 PRELIMINARY SNOWFALL REPORTS... LOCATION AMOUNT TIME/DATE LAT/LON ...BLOUNT COUNTY... 1 ESE FOWLER SPRING 10.0 IN 1006 PM 02/25 34.03N/86.57W CLEVELAND 9.0 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.99N/86.57W 3 WSW BROOKSVILLE 8.5 IN 0920 PM 02/25 34.17N/86.52W 3 NE ONEONTA 8.5 IN 1048 PM 02/25 33.98N/86.43W 1 WNW SNEAD 8.2 IN 0940 PM 02/25 34.12N/86.40W 3 SSW HAYDEN 6.5 IN 0940 PM 02/25 33.86N/86.78W 1 NE HAYDEN 6.0 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.91N/86.74W ROSA 6.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.99N/86.51W 1 N LOCUST FORK 5.5 IN 0845 PM 02/25 33.91N/86.62W 1 NNW SUSAN MOORE 5.5 IN 1020 PM 02/25 34.09N/86.44W 1 NNE ALLGOOD 5.0 IN 0957 PM 02/25 33.92N/86.51W 1 E COUNTY LINE 5.0 IN 1004 PM 02/25 33.82N/86.71W ONEONTA 5.0 IN 0558 PM 02/25 33.95N/86.47W ...CALHOUN COUNTY... 3 E KNIGHTENS CROSSROADS 5.0 IN 0900 PM 02/25 33.95N/85.67W PIEDMONT 5.0 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.93N/85.62W 2 S JACKSONVILLE 3.0 IN 0955 PM 02/25 33.78N/85.76W 6 WSW KNIGHTENS CROSSROADS 3.0 IN 0953 PM 02/25 33.91N/85.80W 3 NNE SULPHUR SPRINGS 3.0 IN 0953 PM 02/25 33.88N/85.85W 1 NNW JACKSONVILLE STATE UNI 2.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.83N/85.77W 2 W WEST END-COBB TOWN 0.2 IN 1005 PM 02/25 33.65N/85.90W ...CHEROKEE COUNTY... CEDAR BLUFF 8.0 IN 1008 PM 02/25 34.22N/85.60W CENTRE 7.5 IN 0827 PM 02/25 34.15N/85.67W LEESBURG 7.0 IN 0731 PM 02/25 34.18N/85.77W 2 SSE BROOMTOWN 6.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 34.33N/85.51W SAND ROCK 6.0 IN 0559 PM 02/25 34.24N/85.77W BROOMTOWN 5.0 IN 0638 PM 02/25 34.36N/85.52W 2 ESE CHESNUT BAY RESORT 5.0 IN 0740 PM 02/25 34.20N/85.67W FORNEY 4.0 IN 0802 PM 02/25 34.09N/85.46W ...CLEBURNE COUNTY... BORDEN SPRINGS 2.5 IN 0805 PM 02/25 33.93N/85.47W OAK LEVEL 2.0 IN 0805 PM 02/25 33.85N/85.48W ...ETOWAH COUNTY... BLACK CREEK 9.0 IN 0830 PM 02/25 34.17N/85.90W MOUNTAINBORO 9.0 IN 1000 PM 02/25 34.15N/86.13W 1 W ALTOONA 8.0 IN 0959 PM 02/25 34.03N/86.33W HOKES BLUFF 8.0 IN 0902 PM 02/25 34.00N/85.86W 2 SSW NOCCALULA FALLS 7.5 IN 0920 PM 02/25 34.02N/86.04W 2 E NOCCALULA FALLS 7.5 IN 0846 PM 02/25 34.04N/86.00W RAINBOW CITY 7.5 IN 0950 PM 02/25 33.95N/86.04W 2 N GLENCOE 7.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.99N/85.94W 3 E WALNUT GROVE 7.0 IN 0215 AM 02/26 34.06N/86.24W GADSDEN 6.5 IN 1025 PM 02/25 34.01N/86.00W KEENER 6.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 34.16N/85.95W 1 SE ATTALLA 5.2 IN 0530 PM 02/25 34.00N/86.09W GLENCOE 5.0 IN 1004 PM 02/25 33.96N/85.93W 2 SE SOUTHSIDE 5.0 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.91N/86.00W ...FAYETTE COUNTY... 2 SSE GLEN ALLEN 9.0 IN 0900 PM 02/25 33.88N/87.73W FOWLER'S CROSSROADS 6.0 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.80N/87.66W 2 ESE BLUFF 5.2 IN 0930 PM 02/25 33.81N/87.87W FAYETTE 3.5 IN 0648 PM 02/25 33.69N/87.83W ...JEFFERSON COUNTY... KIMBERLY 4.0 IN 0959 PM 02/25 33.77N/86.80W MORRIS 3.0 IN 0851 PM 02/25 33.75N/86.81W BIRMINGPORT 2.0 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.57N/87.11W 1 ENE MOUNT OLIVE 2.0 IN 0940 PM 02/25 33.68N/86.84W 1 SE OAK GROVE 2.0 IN 0958 PM 02/25 33.46N/87.15W BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT 1.0 IN 0848 PM 02/25 33.56N/86.77W 1 WNW LEEDS 1.0 IN 0958 PM 02/25 33.55N/86.56W WEST JEFFERSON 1.0 IN 0750 PM 02/25 33.65N/87.07W 1 NNW FORESTDALE 0.8 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.58N/86.90W 3 SW HUEYTOWN 0.8 IN 0955 PM 02/25 33.42N/87.03W 1 S BESSEMER 0.7 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.38N/86.96W 2 ENE CLOVERDALE 0.5 IN 0915 PM 02/25 33.61N/86.69W FULTONDALE 0.5 IN 1001 PM 02/25 33.62N/86.80W 1 NE GARDENDALE 0.5 IN 0816 PM 02/25 33.67N/86.80W 1 N HOOVER MET 0.5 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.36N/86.85W 1 SE KINGSTON 0.5 IN 0928 PM 02/25 33.53N/86.76W PINSON 0.5 IN 0758 PM 02/25 33.69N/86.68W 2 SSW RUFFNER MOUNTAIN 0.2 IN 0802 PM 02/25 33.54N/86.71W ...LAMAR COUNTY... SULLIGENT 11.0 IN 0846 PM 02/25 33.89N/88.13W VERNON 7.5 IN 0820 PM 02/25 33.76N/88.11W DETROIT 6.0 IN 0510 PM 02/25 34.03N/88.17W MILLPORT 5.0 IN 0630 PM 02/25 33.56N/88.08W ...MARION COUNTY... GUIN 12.7 IN 1059 PM 02/25 33.97N/87.91W 4 S HAMILTON 12.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 34.08N/87.97W 1 E WINFIELD 11.5 IN 0900 PM 02/25 33.93N/87.80W HAMILTON 11.0 IN 0920 PM 02/25 34.14N/87.98W 1 W WINFIELD 11.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.93N/87.83W 2 N BYRD 10.5 IN 0925 PM 02/25 34.11N/88.13W 3 NE HAMILTON 10.0 IN 0900 PM 02/25 34.18N/87.95W BRILLIANT 9.5 IN 0740 PM 02/25 34.02N/87.78W 4 SW HACKLEBURG 9.0 IN 0630 PM 02/25 34.24N/87.89W ...RANDOLPH COUNTY... 2 WSW DICKERT 0.5 IN 0851 PM 02/25 33.13N/85.50W ...SHELBY COUNTY... 1 ENE RIVERCHASE 1.0 IN 0844 PM 02/25 33.36N/86.79W 1 SW CHELSEA 0.5 IN 0900 PM 02/25 33.33N/86.64W HOOVER VETERANS PARK 0.5 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.39N/86.73W 1 NNE HOOVER VETERANS PARK 0.5 IN 0848 PM 02/25 33.40N/86.72W LAKE PURDY COMMUNITY 0.5 IN 0847 PM 02/25 33.43N/86.68W 1 NW SHOAL CREEK GOLF CLUB 0.5 IN 1012 PM 02/25 33.45N/86.63W JOE TUCKER PARK 0.4 IN 1005 PM 02/25 33.29N/86.85W 2 WSW HELENA 0.2 IN 0222 AM 02/26 33.29N/86.87W VINCENT 0.2 IN 0827 PM 02/25 33.39N/86.41W ...ST. CLAIR COUNTY... ODENVILLE 2.0 IN 0900 PM 02/25 33.69N/86.40W SPRINGVILLE 2.0 IN 0945 PM 02/25 33.77N/86.48W 2 ENE ODENVILLE 1.2 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.70N/86.37W 2 ENE ODENVILLE 1.2 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.70N/86.37W 1 SSW ARGO 1.0 IN 0940 PM 02/25 33.68N/86.52W 1 N CROPWELL 1.0 IN 0916 PM 02/25 33.56N/86.27W ...TALLADEGA COUNTY... 2 SE ALPINE BAY RESORT 0.5 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.42N/86.27W ...TUSCALOOSA COUNTY... 3 N LAKE NICOL PARK 1.0 IN 0846 PM 02/25 33.35N/87.47W 5 NNE LAKE TCL HWY 69 BRIDGE 1.0 IN 0731 PM 02/25 33.41N/87.51W 2 WNW SEXTON BEND 1.0 IN 0848 PM 02/25 33.32N/87.57W COKER 0.5 IN 0851 PM 02/25 33.25N/87.69W 4 E LAKE LURLEEN STATE PARK 0.5 IN 1002 PM 02/25 33.31N/87.61W 1 NW NORTHPORT 0.5 IN 0731 PM 02/25 33.24N/87.59W 4 W SEXTON BEND 0.5 IN 0955 PM 02/25 33.31N/87.60W 2 N UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA 0.5 IN 0750 PM 02/25 33.24N/87.54W SHELTON STATE COMM COLLEGE 0.2 IN 1006 PM 02/25 33.12N/87.56W COALING 0.0 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.16N/87.34W 2 N MOORES BRIDGE 0.0 IN 0638 PM 02/25 33.48N/87.79W ...WALKER COUNTY... NAUVOO 11.0 IN 1000 PM 02/25 33.99N/87.49W CURRY 9.0 IN 0600 PM 02/25 33.96N/87.21W 1 SSE LUPTON 7.5 IN 0535 PM 02/25 33.92N/87.39W 1 E GAMBLE 6.5 IN 0818 PM 02/25 33.88N/87.31W MANCHESTER 5.8 IN 0600 PM 02/25 33.90N/87.25W 2 N WALKER COUNTY AIRPORT 5.5 IN 0920 PM 02/25 33.93N/87.32W 1 ENE SUMITON 4.5 IN 0935 PM 02/25 33.76N/87.03W GOODSPRINGS 2.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 33.67N/87.25W ...WINSTON COUNTY... NATURAL BRIDGE 12.0 IN 0959 PM 02/25 34.09N/87.60W HALEYVILLE 11.0 IN 0729 PM 02/25 34.24N/87.62W LYNN 11.0 IN 0924 PM 02/25 34.04N/87.55W BLACK POND 10.0 IN 1140 PM 02/25 34.07N/87.37W WINSTON FREE STATE BARN 10.0 IN 0945 PM 02/25 34.16N/87.41W 2 ESE NEEDMORE 9.5 IN 0646 PM 02/25 34.24N/87.57W 3 NNE HOUSTON 9.0 IN 0925 PM 02/25 34.18N/87.23W 4 W LAKE SHORE 9.0 IN 0910 PM 02/25 34.00N/87.27W OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED ARE CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.\ SOME OF THESE SNOWFALL REPORTS OCCURRED BEFORE SNOWFALL ENDED...AND SNOWFALL AMOUNTS MAY BE HIGHER. WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO SUBMIT THEIR LATEST SNOWFALL AMOUNTS TO OUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS @NWSBIRMINGHAM ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK. #ALWX #BMXWX $$ NWS BIRMINGHAM AL
Categories: Weather

Severe Weather Survey

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 17:25

WeatherBrains Panelist Rick Smith, who is the outstanding Warnings Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, has been working with a couple of very bright OU senior met students on their Capstone project, which involves learning how people process and respond to severe weather information.

They developed a quick survey and are collecting responses for the next week or so.

Please take a moment to participate in the survey.

Categories: Weather

Much Warmer Next Week, But Wet

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 16:20

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today; need to take time to review the many thousands of great snow images sent in over the past 24 hours!**

DRY THROUGH SATURDAY: Most of the sun across Alabama today has been over the southwest part of the state…

A secondary surge of colder air will drop down into Alabama tonight; tomorrow’s high will be close to 40 degrees with a few intervals of sunshine.

Looks like the sky will be generally cloudy Saturday as the weekend begins; we might need to mention the risk of a sprinkle or two, but at the moment we will leave the forecast dry with a high in the low 50s. Then, moisture deepens Sunday and a little scattered light rain could break out. Not heavy or widespread. Sunday’s high will also be in the 50-53 degree range.

WARMER AND WET: At least the first half of next week looks warmer, wet, and unsettled. We rise to near 60 degrees Monday with periods of rain during the day. Then, on Tuesday, the GFS continue to print a high in the low 70s as the big thaw continues. Showers are possible Tuesday, and we will monitor a surface low passing well northwest of the state Tuesday evening. For now it looks like the main dynamic support will stay far enough to the north to prevent a severe weather threat.

Wednesday will be another wet day as a wave forms on a surface front near the Tennessee border. The rain finally will end late Wednesday night or early Thursday as the low pulls away to the northeast. Rain amounts of 2-3 inches are likely Monday through Wednesday; some spots could see more.

Then, at the end of next week another shot of cold air returns; we will struggle to reach the mid 40s by Thursday afternoon.

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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I had a great time today visiting with the 1st graders at Chelsea Park Elementary in Shelby County… look for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

Snow Storm Tale

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 13:43

I sat down this morning to pen a short note to my wife and daughter about the snow storm yesterday and my exploits with Meaghan Thomas for ABC 3340. I did not intend for it to become a novel, but it came close. After emailing it, I thought this might prove an interesting read for some. So, with a few edits here and there, here is the story of this rather epic Alabama snow storm from the point of view of one meteorologist whose assignment was to provide field coverage for the television.

Well, it was quite some day yesterday. Most of Central Alabama was placed under a winter weather warning for Wednesday, February 25th, from 9 am to midnight. The various computer models were all clustered around the same solution of between 1 and 8 inches of snow generally along and north of the Interstate 20 corridor. Meaghan and I met at the station at 9 am to head out in the Storm Chaser. The only words of guidance we received from James was “Find some snow!”

With our quest at hand, we drove to the northern part of Birmingham and then headed a little northwest toward Jasper. We had been given a list of all the various news teams and their locations, and we were supposed to float while each of the news teams was pretty much fixed in their assigned spots. We drove up US 78 toward Jasper using the old US 78, not the new US 78/I-22 route. We had a team in Jasper, so we did not want to go there, so we headed more north toward US 278. Turns out that was a great decision because it put us in the middle of the heaviest snowfall.

As we got onto US 76/I-22, we spotted a State Trooper stopped on the side of the road, so we pulled alongside and chatted with him to see if he had any reports of travel issues. Precipitation was still mostly liquid with a little sleet in the mix and the temperature hovering around 33 or 34 degrees. After speaking with the officer who said there he had not heard of any travel problems, we drove north to the northern side of Jasper on old US 78 to pick up Alabama 195 north which would take us to US 278 which runs mainly west to east from Hamilton to Double Springs to Cullman. We knew the computer guidance and the map James was using were zeroing in on this area, so we figured it would provide the best staging point to go further north or south or east or west depending on what developed.

The station has a midday show from 11 am to noon, so we were providing live streaming from our iPad mounted on the dashboard of the Chaser. We kept having a cold rain with a temperature of 33 or 34 with some sleet mixed in. We actually drove out of the rain to dry ground as we reached US 278 which was a bit disappointing. We drove west for a few miles and then took a route south to Brilliant and Winfield trying to move back into the precipitation. We got to the intersection of I-22 and Alabama 129 and, after filling up the gas tank on the Chaser, we stopped in the parking lot of a new Huddle House not yet open where we would not bother anyone by being stopped. We had not been there two minutes before a car pulled up next to us and it was the Police Chief from Winfield. He wanted to know what was going to happen and we discussed the weather and exchanged business cards – maybe that will work as a get out of jail free card someday!!

The police chief left, and another car pulled up to us and said it was snowing north in Guin. Guin is actually west of Winfield a few miles, so we were a little confused by the report the man gave us. We decided to shift west on I-22 a little and pick up Alabama 253 and 44 that would take us southwest to Guin figuring the man meant Guin and not actually north of us. That decision was based on the radar which was showing precipitation to our west and we figured the fellow just had his direction wrong. Well, this was another great decision because as we headed southwest into Guin from I-22 and reached the city, the precipitation was changing over from a moderate sleet to just snow, those nice big flakes that were actually clumps of flakes.

We stopped on the side of the road in Guin on US 43 to get our bearings, look at radar, and communicate with the television station when a Guin police officer pulled up behind us with his blue lights on. Meaghan looked at me and asked what we’d done, and I told her nothing, we were just sitting there on the side of the road. The officer came up to my window, I was driving, and I lowered the window, and he said he was just stopping to be sure we were okay and safe so he had stopped his car behind the Chaser to make sure no one hit us! We had a nice chat with him about the weather and about the conditions in Guin, got a tip on a place to eat (naturally), and headed back on US 43 toward Winfield. Guin and Winfield are in the southeastern section of Marion County.

When we reached Winfield, we grabbed lunch at an open McDonalds restaurant because we wanted to get something to eat before everything closed. We did a couple of hits on the midday show and the ground was becoming white with snow. We noticed a snow plow, so we followed the snow plow and sand/salt truck east on US 43 getting the station to use our live video stream to show the trucks doing their jobs.

We turned north on Alabama 129 and once again stopped at the Huddle House where we’d been earlier, and refreshed our bearings with radar and the latest weather statements and computer guidance. By this time the snow was coming down like gangbusters and the roads were turning white. The station began wall to wall coverage about this time, so we decided to head back north on 129 to US 278 which still seemed to be the bullseye for the heaviest snow. This, too, was a great decision.

Conditions began to deteriorate rapidly once the precipitation had changed over from sleet to snow, and the road was completely covered by snow. Fortunately, the area where we were was not heavily populated, and it seemed that many, many people heeded the warnings about the winter weather, so there was virtually no traffic to contend with. We reached US 278 and turned east with no particular destination in mind but just to stay on US 278 where the snow was falling heavily. Most of the time we could see two sets of tracks, one eastbound and one westbound, but on several occasions there was only one track to follow and we could tell it was on the wrong side of the road. No danger, though, since we were about the only vehicle moving. We had put the Chaser in four wheel drive shortly after the snow began, so we had good traction, but just like other cars, we were not going to stop on a dime. That’s why we were traveling at a safe 20 miles per hour. Visibility was also very bad at times with less than a quarter of a mile in the heavy snow.

It was slow but steady progress along US 78 through Winston County with occasional stops to get some photos or take a measurement of the snow. When we reached Addison, we saw a Cullman Electric Cooperative bucket truck, so we pulled into the parking lot of the Dollar General and asked the driver if there were any outages. The snow was pretty wet and some of the trees, especially the pines, were beginning to sag under the weight of the snow. He told us they were being dispatched to a power outage, so we could follow him.

We did and ended up in southern Winston County near the edge of Smith Lake where several trees limbs were sagging with the snow and had taken out the power line to several houses. We did another hit or two with the station which was now in full swing with weather coverage, and then found our way back to Alabama 257 to head south across Smith Lake on the Duncan Bridge. We did another hit with James with the Duncan Bridge in the snow as our video shot. We turned east again on Drummond Road and Burrows Crossing Road to reach Alabama 69 which would take us northeast toward Cullman. The plan was to take Alabama 222 back northwest, but when we made the turn from 69 onto 222, we were faced with a steep hill and it was quite obvious that there had been no cars on that road for quite sometime. We stopped and reconsidered this move and decided this was not a good idea. So we continued northeast on Alabama 69 finally reaching Interstate 65.

Before continuing, we took another snow measurement and found a spot where the snow was about 6 inches deep, the length of a dollar bill. We also made a note to include a ruler in the Chaser for future snow chases! We also noted that we need an ice scraper for the Chaser. We had to stop numerous times to de-ice the windshield wipers as they would become frozen and really streak the windshield.

We once again topped up the Chasers gas tank at the Petro station, made a pit stop, and then drove to the bridge over I-65 where we could get a shot of the Interstate. While we were there, a single file line of cars and trucks lead by a State Trooper came along the northbound lane and we got some great video of how bad the Interstate was. We stuck around this spot for a little while as James and Charles took our shot from time to time. There were cars moving slowly on the Interstate, but it looked like the one lane that was partially open was icy. We decided to go north on the Interstate just one exit to sample the driving conditions on I-65. It was as we had suspected, icy on the one lane track that everyone was using. We were moving about 30 mph with most of the rest of the traffic with an occasional bonehead passing us in the snow covered lane at 45 mph. We got off at the next exit and headed back on the southbound side of I-65.

We got off at the same exit where we had gotten on, the Dodge City exit, 299, and grabbed something akin to supper since it was now about 7 pm. The Petro station at that exit was the only thing open, and they were serving food, so we took it. A 7 pm, the television station was returning to regular programming, so our orders were to head home!

The driving conditions on I-65 were horrible, but almost everyone was behaving themselves, so we had little trouble as we motored south. The snowfall became lighter and the amount of the snow on the road was getting less and less. It was snowing in downtown Birmingham, but we could tell that it had not been snowing there long. The roads appeared to be mostly wet, but we discovered that was not the whole story when an ambulance moving along ahead of us without emergency lights going suddenly fishtailed nearly smashing into the cement guard rail. Fortunately, the driver was able to bring the ambulance to a halt without hitting anything. Traffic was extremely light, so there were very few other cars on the highway. The Chaser is equipped with some highly visible strobe lights, so we came to a safe stop and turned on the strobes so that cars behind us would not run into us or the ambulance which had come to a stop across parts of three lanes. The ambulance driver kicked on their emergency lights, too, and then after getting their composure back, turned the ambulance in the proper direction of traffic moving at a slow pace.

This was quite some adventure, and we streamed video along nearly all of our trip with only a few dropped connections. But the adventure was not quite over. As we pulled into the station parking lot, Meaghan and I collected our belongings and were walking toward the station entrance when out of nowhere we were attacked by a volley of snowballs thrown by several ABC 3340 staff people. We did the only thing we could, weresponded by grabbing up some snow and returning fire!

It was really something to be a part of what will go in the record books as a historic snow event for Alabama.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Evaluating The Forecast

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 08:10

This is the final forecast graphic I put together for yesterday’s snow event Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m.

GRADE: A-

The biggest forecast miss was the amount of snow in the heavy snow zone along the US 278 corridor. Instead of 3-6″ with isolated amounts to 8″, it turned out to be 6-9″, with isolated amounts to one foot. There was some objective guidance that did have it correct; guess I just didn’t have the guts to go that high.

As discussed for days, the rain-snow line near I-20 was the biggest challenge in the forecast. The change to snow did indeed to come to Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston… just a little later in the event (after dark).

The NWS will put together a map of accurate snow observations later today and you can overlay that on the forecast.

BOTTOM LINE: We honestly can’t do much better with a winter storm. People that kept up with blog discussions and forecasts on a timely basis knew what to expect, and were prepared. And, those that experienced a rainy day knew it was going to be all rain for them.

I will spend some time looking back at model output, our forecast, and actual observations in coming days. You learn something from every winter event in the Deep South…

Categories: Weather

Calmer Days Ahead For Alabama

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 07:12

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.

EPIC WINTER STORM: Some communities in North Alabama received one foot of snow yesterday; we will compile a list of the snow totals later today. Travel remains difficult, is not impossible through the heavy snow zones of North Alabama.

TODAY/TOMORROW: The weather will be nice and calm; clouds linger today with a high in the mid 40s. Tomorrow will be a bit colder with a high closer to 40 degrees thanks to a secondary surge of colder air dropping in from the north; the sky will be partly sunny.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the low 50s. Then, on Sunday, moisture levels begin to rise, clouds increase, and a bit of scattered light rain is possible. Sunday’s high will be in the low 50s.

NEXT WEEK: The weather will be mild and wet for the first half of the week. Periods of rain are likely Monday; temperatures should reach the mid 60s Monday afternoon. Then, on Tuesday, the GFS is printing a high of 73 for Birmingham, and we will continue to mention a good chance of showers. Some thunderstorms could be involved Tuesday or Tuesday night; a deep surface low will pass well to the northwest of Alabama; the air will be unstable and we will need to monitor trends for any possible strong/severe thunderstorm setup. For the moment, it looks like the main dynamic forcing will be too far north for a big severe weather issue, but that could change.

Then, a surface front stalls over far North Alabama Tuesday night, and a wave of low pressure forms on the front, setting up a big rain event Wednesday. Looks like we could see 1-3 inches of rain Monday through Wednesday.

Then, colder and drier air returns toward the end of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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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FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM TOUR: Our annual severe weather awareness tour across Alabama rolls along, but tonight’s stop in Greensboro has been postponed. We will post the updated schedule tomorrow.

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Categories: Weather

Event Winding Down

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 23:17

Snow is limited to the northeastern quarter of Alabama at this hour, but it has been a historic storm for North Alabama.

A 1004 mb surface low moving across the northern Gulf of Mexico was the culprit. The bullseye was generally along the US-278 corridor south of the Tennessee River in North Alabama. A foot of snow fell across parts of Marion and Winston Counties, including 12” at Natural Bridge and 11” at Guin, Hamilton and Haleyville. Six inches or more of snow fell across a wide area from Etowah and Cherokee Counties on the east to Walker and Marion counties on the west.

The Huntsville International Airport picked up over 8 inches of snow from this event, making it the 4th biggest single storm event there and the third biggest single day total. It was the second biggest single day snow of record at Hamilton if the 11 inch total stands up there. At Haleyville, it is the fourth biggest single day snow.

Roads are hazardous tonight across a wide area where significant snow has fallen.

Areas from Lamar down into Pickens Counties across the areas from Decatur to northern Jefferson County and on Gadsden and Anniston on the east, travel is not recommended tonight. Check conditions carefully before attempting to head out in the morning.

Categories: Weather

Civil Emergency Message Issued for Portions of Central Alabama

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 21:38
THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE ALABAMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY CLANTON ALABAMA. THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE ALABAMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY CLANTON ALABAMA AND INDIVIDUAL COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES. THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES ARE IMPACTED BY WINTER WEATHER...WINSTON...JEFFERSON...PICKENS. NUMEROUS ROADWAYS...INCLUDING SOME MAJOR HIGHWAYS...ARE HAZARDOUS DUE TO SNOW AND ICE. SOME OF THESE ROADWAYS HAVE BECOME IMPASSABLE. THESE CONDITIONS MAY PERSIST THROUGH 6AM. THESE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES REQUEST THAT TRAVEL BE LIMITED TO EMERGENCIES ONLY FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF FIRST RESPONDERS.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Snow Falling in Birmingham

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 21:01

Well after a bit of a delay, we have finally seen the rain transition to all snow in Jefferson County. Social media is a buzz with very heavy, wet snow falling throughout the Birmingham Metro. Pictures are flowing in of snow covering the ground in many areas and sticking to most surfaces.

The rain/snow line continues to sink towards the southeast, and forecast totals look to be right on track. The snow will continue to fall the next few hours. Temps will be dropping tonight, so we are not expecting a lot of melting. Travel is becoming hazardous, and is not advised. It will be mid to late morning before we see out temps climb above freezing and conditions improve. Enjoy the snow!

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Snowing in Homewood, Hoover, Vestavia…

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 20:34

Reports are starting to flow in on social media of snowflakes in Homewood, Hoover and Vestavia.

Here is the radar with the correlation coefficient product showing the snowing…

You can see the areas where it is snowing behind the transition line.

FREEZING RAIN WEIGHTING TREES
There are increasing reports of freezing rain weighting down trees across parts of the Birmingham Metro area. A tree was reported down on Montclair Road at 52nd street and Birmingham PD is reporting lots of low hanging branches.

While this won’t be a big outage event…
ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Stay tuned for more updates…

Categories: Weather

First 10″ Report

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 20:06

The NWS reports that there is 10″ of snow in Guin in Marion County. That is the first double digit snow report.

LATE REPORT
Phil Campbell has checked in with 10 inches snow as well.

TUSCALOOSA
It sounded like a football game in Bryant Denny when the snow started on the University of Alabama campus. Students all hit their Twitter accounts simultaneously to rejoice.

It is snowing in downtown Tuscaloosa, on the University of Alabama campus and in Northport.

1-2 inches of snow should fall in Tuscaloosa.

BIRMINGHAM
Rain should change to snow in Birmingham around 8 p.m. It should snow for about 4 hours.

It is sleeting in Homewood and snowing in Hueytown.

The Birmingham area should see…
…6+” up around Warrior
…around 2-4″ around Gardendale and Fultondale
…around 2-4″from Hueytown to downtown to Leeds
…around 1-2″ from Bessemer to Hoover to Liberty Park and northeast Shelby County around Sterrett
…an inch or less across southern Tuscaloosa County, northern Bibb County, Central Shelby and Central Talladega County.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Stay tuned for more updates…

Categories: Weather

Snow Reports

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 19:29

Categories: Weather

And Now… A Tornado Watch!

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 18:51

The low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico (1004 mb) is pushing a warm front into the Florida Panhandle. The SPC has issued a Tornado Watch for the Florida Big Bend area and extreme southern Georgia, including Panama City, Tallahassee and Valdosta. The tornado watch is shown in purple on the graphic.

Sorta reminiscent of the March 1993 Superstorm, just 30 millibars weaker!

Categories: Weather

Historic Snow Storm

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 18:40

A historic snow storm continues to impact North Alabama late this afternoon with impacts being felt as far south as Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston.

Snow will accumulate as far south as a line from Eutaw to Centreville to Calera to Sylacauga to Roanoke.

Here is the NWS Birmingham’s updated snowfall forecast:

Snow is now falling in Tuscaloosa according to John Oldshue and and Reform in Pickens County.

Snow is now falling in western Jefferson County at the Miller Steam Plant.

Traffic is a nightmare tonight in the areas that have seen snow. Corridor X (I-22) is impassable at Exit 26. ALDOT reports that I-65 is closed due to stuck traffic NB at MM 298 and SB at MM 317.

The back edge of the snow is over western Mississippi. It will be midnight before the precipitation ends along I-65 and during the early morning hours over East Alabama. It is still snowing heavily at Columbus MS.

SNOW TOTALS
CULLMAN
6″ Cullman Emergency Operations Center
8″ at Good Hope

MARION
Flashes were reported in Guin, where limbs are breaking under the weight of the heavy wet snow. That is probably the fuse blowing on a power transformer. 8″ of snow at Guin. Power outages are being reported along US_278 between Hamilton and Natural Bridge.

BLOUNT
6″ at Hayden
4″ at Locust Fork
6″ at Blountsville

ETOWAH
5″ at Altoona

WINSTON
7″ at Haleyville

LAMAR COUNTY
6″ at Detroit

MARION COUNTY
9″ at Bear Creek
9″ at Hackleburg
6.5″ at Hamilton

WALKER COUNTY
6″ at Curry

MARSHALL COUNTY
6″ at Boaz

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Stay tuned for more updates…

Categories: Weather

Will It Snow In Tuscaloosa/Birmingham?

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 17:57

Yes.

The rain/snow line is inching south and eastward late this afternoon.

It is now snowing across the northern two thirds of Pickens County, in places like Carrollton, Gordo and Reform. Lamar County is all snow. There is snow across the northwestern half of Fayette County, with sleet/snow over southeastern parts.

Around Tuscaloosa, the snow area is approaching the western edge of the county.

A mix is falling across Walker County with rain southeast a line from Oakman to Parrish to Cordova. Some sleet is mixing in around the Birmingham area, with snow around Morris and Warrior. It is starting to snow in Pinson. Snow is reported in Clay.

Here is a Twitter picture from Warrior via @01c85bec727a496:

Freezing rain has been accumulating around Vestavia, with a coating on trees and exposed objects. A rain, sleet and snow mix is falling in Center Point. Snow should begin to fill in over the next two hours for areas along and north of I-20.

Snow covers all of Cullman and most of Blount County with snow now falling across northern St. Clair County. Etowah, Cherokee and DeKalb Counties have all snow.

Areas along I-20 will see 1 to 2 inches of snow before it ends later tonight. Areas north of that will see 3-6 inches with isolated larger amounts. Expect some 10 inch amounts in areas south of the Tennessee River down to about Cullman.

Categories: Weather

The Picture of Disappointment

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 17:10

@bellahuyn10 in Gardendale sent this photo of a disappointed snowfan. But take heart, cooling aloft will change precipitation to snow later this evening as the surface low moves east for areas along and north of I-20 that have been bereft of snow so far. We are seeing that, clearly, the rain-snow line is trending south. If the radar is accurate in its algorithm, then we should see rain changing over to snow for the Tuscaloosa area in the next hour.

Categories: Weather

One More Source of Ground Truth…Google Maps

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:33

The NWS in Birmingham just tweeted an image of Google Maps showing slow traffic in areas where the snow has accumulated.

I grabbed the same image and drew a line showing the rough approximation of the rain/snow line.

Categories: Weather