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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: 3 min 54 sec ago

Severe Weather Potential Tuesday

16 min 24 sec ago

This is a preliminary look at the severe weather potential across Alabama Tuesday, December 23. With so many people traveling that day, we all need to pay attention to the situation, although this early in the game there are more questions than answers.

LARGE SCALE SETUP: A vigorous, 500 mb upper trough will form west of Alabama early in the week, providing excellent support for showers and thunderstorms Tuesday.

A low level jet (about 5,000 feet off the ground) will develop, in the 40-50 knot range, by Tuesday afternoon.

So, the dynamic setup is impressive, but as always in the cold season, the big question is the instability, or the ability of air parcels to freely rise and become buoyant. A narrow tongue of higher instability will form ahead of a rapidly deepening surface low across Alabama Tuesday evening…

It doesn’t take much CAPE (convective available potential energy) for severe weather issues in December, and even with CAPE values of 500 j/kg we will need to watch the situation closely. The 12Z GFS model is printing a high of 71 degrees for Birmingham Tuesday, with potential for dewpoints to rise into the 60 degree range.

TIMING: The highest risk for severe weather across Alabama will come, most likely, during the afternoon and evening hours Tuesday, when the air is most unstable. I would say now the prime window is from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight. But, understand this could easily change for an event three days away.

PLACEMENT: The SPC Day Four convective outlook suggests the primary risk of severe weather will come over Southwest Alabama…

However, based on the forecast parameters, I would say most of the state will have some risk of severe storms, especially along and south of U.S. 278 (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden). I expect the SPC outlook to expand northward and eastward in future updates.

MODES OF SEVERE WEATHER: This is what has happened with similar surface and upper air conditions, using the top 15 analogs (from CIPS analog guidance)…

You can clearly see that all modes of severe weather will be possible with a setup like this, including a few tornadoes. Remember, this graphic is showing total severe weather output from 15 events, so it won’t be this active Tuesday… just a way of looking at what has happened in the past with a similar setup.

IMPORTANT: While the overall synoptic scale looks favorable for some severe weather Tuesday, we really won’t see how the mesoscale features will play out until tomorrow night and Monday. So, determining the overall threat level this far out is very difficult to do. Don’t let the social media kings of hype bother you, this doesn’t look like some “historic” event with “millions in the path”… just a situation that we have fairly often this time of the year. This is still the core of the late fall/early winter severe weather season in Alabama. Not unusual at all.

We will post frequent updates here as we get closer to the event.

CHRISTMAS EVE: The social media hype guys will also probably push a chance of snow on Wednesday under a very cold upper trough moving over the state.

Could there be a few a few flurries over extreme North Alabama Wednesday? Yes, but the deeper moisture will be long gone, and temperatures will be well above freezing. The bigger issues will be north of here with a very deep surface low just north of the Great Lakes…

This will bring lots of wind and snow to the Great Lakes region Wednesday, and lots of rain for the eastern seaboard.

CHRISTMAS DAY: Looks like beautiful day for Alabama, with a sunny sky and a high in the 50s.

Again, stay tuned to the blog and we will keep you advised. If you are traveling, stay safe!

Categories: Weather

Clearing Slowly Advancing

4 hours 47 min ago

Your day is either very bright and sunny or cloudy and dreary depending on exactly where you are. See the satellite image below. Places like Hamilton and Double Springs are in the sun while places like Anniston, Talladega, and Lineville will probably not see much sun until later in the day.

-Brian-

Visible Satellite on Dec. 20, 2014,at 9:30 am.

Categories: Weather

Rain Out of Here

7 hours 32 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.

Central Alabama enjoyed a nice soaking rain overnight, and the rain has moved east of the area this morning. Clouds will hang in there for much of the day, but we should see some peeks at the sun during the late morning and afternoon hours. It will be about typical for this time of year with highs in the middle 50s.

Don’t get used to the dry weather because it looks like rain chances return Sunday night and stick with us until Christmas Eve. A short wave zips by on Sunday night and early Monday setting up a wedge situation that will likely bring the best rain chances to eastern sections of Central Alabama. That short wave moves quickly by as a deep trough begins to get carved out over the Central US. This will keep us unsettled with rain chances into Wednesday.

Tuesday and Wednesday, a deep trough is carved out over the Central US that is going to bring quite a chill down for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Look for rain chances Tuesday and Wednesday with the rain coming to an end late in the day Christmas Eve. But temperatures on Christmas Eve are not likely to get out of the 40s for Central Alabama.

The trough moves by us on Christmas Eve, but the upper air pattern will retain the long wave trough position along the Mississippi River keeping us cool into next weekend. Christmas Day should be dry so the kids can get outside to play with whatever Santa Claus brought with highs back into the 50s. We should stay dry until Saturday with temperatures pretty close to seasonal values.

Looking out into week 2, also known as voodoo country, the pattern maintains a cool look with a long wave trough situated over the eastern half of the country. Looks like some wet weather as we head into 2015.

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 plan to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 8 am or so on Sunday. Enjoy the day and be sure to perform at least one act of kindness today. Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Rainy Night for Central Alabama

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 21:57

The latest radar mosaic showed that rain was occurring over almost all of Central Alabama at 8:45 pm and that rain extended southwestward all the way to the Louisiana coast. This means the rain is not going to be ending any time soon.

The latest upper air sound from the Shelby County Airport was interesting. It is actually warmer at about 870 millibars, roughly 4,200 feet, than it was at the surface by a couple of degrees Centigrade. Imagine what would be happening if the freezing level which was at about 750 millibars were much lower!

Most of Central Alabama had received between a tenth of an inch and a quarter of an inch. I’ve recorded 12 hundredths of an inch so far, but the storm total precipitation estimates from the Doppler radar network showed an area lying northeast to southwest just northwest of Demopolis where as much as 1 to 1.5 inches of rain may have fallen already. Quantitative precipitation forecasts, or QPF, project rainfall amounts between about a half inch in the northwest counties like Marion County to as much as 1 inch or a little more to the southeast in Montgomery County.

The latest GFS MOS guidance suggests that the rain should be ending across Central Alabama around sunrise Saturday morning, perhaps lingering across the area east and southeast of Birmingham until 10 am or so.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest Weather Xtreme Video which should be posted here by 8 am.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Warnings Count

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 17:11

Here’s something a little different. Daryl Herzmann, with the Iowa Mesonet, has created a page where you can plot the total number of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for a particular WFO (Weather Forecast Office), or for all WFOs in the continental US. I think we all know that the amount of severe weather this year is down, way down – and I count that as a blessing. So how does the warning count look? Well take a gander at the graph below which shows that the warning count, both tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, was down similar to 2013.

This is indicative of two things. First, and the most important, WFO Birmingham has made a very serious effort to reduce the false alarms (FAR or False Alarm Ratio) by undertaking more local studies, putting more meteorological reasoning into warning decisions, and not being too quick to issue a warning for storms. It’s important that everyone understand that by doing this, the meteorologists at the NWS risk missing a few events, but most likely the ones they might miss, whether severe thunderstorm or tornado, will probably be on the low end of intensity. But I believe that is a risk that should be taken in order to reduce the number of warnings that are issued where no significant severe weather occurs. And I applaud this genuine effort to keep people safe but not cry wolf too much.

Second, it also shows that the occurrences of severe weather has been down. I, for one, am thankful for that.

-Brian-

Warning Count for WFO Birmingham, AL

Categories: Weather

Periods Of Rain Tonight

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 16:40

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.

WET FRIDAY NIGHT: Rain is falling over much of West Alabama this afternoon, and that rain mass will overspread most of North and Central Alabama tonight. The air is cool and stable, so no severe weather threat, and most likely there will be no thunder. Rain amounts of around 1/2 inch are likely, and the rain will end pretty early tomorrow. Most communities will be rain-free by 8:00 a.m.

REST OF THE WEEKEND: We could see a little sunshine tomorrow afternoon as drier air works into the state; we expect a high in the mid 50s. Then, the daytime hours Sunday will be rain-free with a high in the low 60s. Some sun is possible Sunday.

A low pressure wave will move northeast out of the Gulf of Mexico as the weekend ends, and has potential to bring a little light rain to the state late Sunday night and Monday morning. The highest chance of rain will be east of I-65, and amounts should be generally 1/4 inch or less.

NEXT WEEK: The weather turns mild Monday and Tuesday; the 12Z GFS is printing a high of 65 Monday and 69 Tuesday for Birmingham. Look for developing showers Tuesday, and thunderstorms are likely Tuesday evening ahead of a well defined front. A few strong storms are possible ahead of the front, but for now the overall severe weather threat looks low for North and Central Alabama.

Wednesday will be breezy and colder; clouds linger much of the day with a chilly north wind of 10-20 mph, and there is a good chance we won’t get out of the 40s. Then, Christmas Day on Thursday looks very nice, with ample sunshine and a high in the 50s after starting the day at or just below freezing.

Next chance of rain will come around Saturday December 27… and the pattern favors colder weather for Alabama the week after Christmas, and possibly into the first few days of the New Year. See the Weather Xtreme video for the 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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My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted early Monday morning by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the video updates here tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

Rain Moving In Later Today

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:35

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.

WET START TO THE WEEKEND: We are starting the day with mostly cloudy and cold conditions across the great state of Alabama; as cold as 28 degrees at daybreak up at Fort Payne. We project a high around 50 degrees today with a cloudy sky, and short wave energy approaching from the west will bring rain in here later in the day.

Rain will move into Southwest Alabama this morning, and it should reach the I-20 corridor by 3:00-5:00 p.m. We will forecast periods of rain tonight; the rain probably won’t be too heavy over the northern half of the state with amounts generally under 1/2 inch. No risk of severe weather, and with a stable airmass I don’t expect any thunder.

The rain will end early tomorrow; it will be over by 6:00-8:00 a.m. for most places.

REST OF THE WEEKEND: The sun might break out a bit tomorrow afternoon as drier air works back into the state; the high tomorrow will be in the upper 50s. Then, for Sunday, the sky will be occasionally cloudy with a high up in the low 60s. A wave of low pressure forming down in the Gulf will bring the risk of some light rain back in here by Sunday night; best chance of rain will be south of I-20, and east of I-65. That light rain will end pretty early in the day Monday.

MILD AFTERNOONS EARLY NEXT WEEK: The GFS is printing a high of 64 Monday, and 68 degrees Tuesday for Birmingham as we enjoyed two mild December days. We will mention a chance of showers Tuesday, and as a cold front approaches, showers and storms will become more widespread Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night. If temperatures do reach the upper 60s, there could be some surface based instability and we could very well see a few strong thunderstorms Tuesday evening. Not a classic severe weather setup, but always something to watch this time of the year.

COLDER CHRISTMAS EVE: The rain will move out very early Wednesday morning (probably in the pre-dawn hours), and the day Wednesday will be breezy and colder with lingering clouds; a decent chance we won’t get out of the 40s. The sky will clear late in the day.

Christmas Day looks wonderful with a good supply of sunshine. We start the day Thursday near freezing, and then we rise well into the 50s by afternoon. The 00Z GFS hints we could touch 60 degrees Thursday afternoon.

LONG RANGE: Seems like the ingredients are coming together for a colder pattern for the Deep South as we approach the beginning of the new year with the AO (Arctic Oscillation)/NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) combo trending negative; see the Weather Xtreme video for the 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
Google Plus
Instagram

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

Categories: Weather

Need To Get In Touch With James Spann?

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 22:40

I always enjoy hearing from our viewers, listeners, and readers. Thanks to social media, broadcasting has become a two way conversation, and I do my best to give you easy access for weather questions, pictures you want to share, severe weather reports, and weather program requests.

Want to get in touch with me? Here ya go…

For weather program request for a school, or speaking request for a church or civic club, email is the best way.

EMAIL:  I have a countless number of email addresses, but my “hub” is the GMail account…

jspann@gmail.com

Want to email the WeatherBrains crew (our weekly podcast about weather)? Use email@weatherbrains.com

SOCIAL MEDIA: I dabble in this pretty heavily; here is what to expect if you “follow” me…

TWITTER: I am @spann. My twitter feed is special, not because of me, but because of the information my followers bring to the table. I have over 165,000 followers, and they share a rather eclectic array of information that I retweet. Following the @spann account is basically like subscribing to a newswire; if there is something big happening around here (Alabama), you will know about it first. Whether it is weather related, a big wreck shutting down a highway, a fire, explosion, “boom”, meteor, you will be in the loop.

It is also a place to find some remarkable photography. Sunrises and sunsets flow, along with a hodgepodge of sky scenes. And, of course, it is also about all things weather. Not just in Alabama, but nationally and globally. I am pretty quick to respond to questions, and since I don’t sleep much, the account is very active.

FACEBOOK: This platform is extremely frustrating since much of the content is filtered. Organic reach has dwindled to less than 10 percent, meaning of the 190,000 that follow me, only about 15,000 see most posts in their newsfeed. Find me here: http://www.facebook.com/jamesspann… and be sure and choose to receive notifications; that will increase your odds of seeing my content on a more regular basis. I respond to Facebook messages, and the page is open for you to post pictures or other content. You will find great weather information here, along with some really good pictures.

GOOGLE PLUS: Some call this platform “Facebook without the drama”… I find great engagement, and there is little filtering. The Google Plus feed here http://www.google.com/+JamesSpann is close to being a mirror of my Facebook feed, but occasionally I will post unique content.

INSTAGRAM: This is where I post the “best of the best” of the pictures sent to me via social media. It is a stunning collection of weather related photos… http://www.instagram.com/spannpix

With all of the time dedicated to social media and responding to email, I should mention you don’t need to call me; I have not answered my phone at work since 1998. I don’t know my number, don’t know how to get voice mail, and don’t even know where the phone is located. I have just “opted out”… I can’t talk on the phone at the station since I work in a studio, and when I have the time to call people back, it is close to midnight, and most folks just don’t appreciate calls that late!

Categories: Weather

Rain By Late Tomorrow Afternoon

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:53

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 sky is generally cloudy across the great state of Alabama this afternoon, and there is very little action on radar… just a few sprinkles over the eastern counties. Temperatures are generally in the low 50s.

Clouds will linger tonight and tomorrow, and with short wave energy approaching from the west, rain will advance into Alabama from the southwest during the afternoon. The rain will be most widespread tomorrow night; the latest model guidance suggests the higher rain totals will come over South Alabama, where one inch is likely. Up our way, places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden can expect around 1/2 inch of rain. The prime window for the wet weather will come from about 3:00 p.m. tomorrow through 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

The air will be cool and stable, and there is no risk of severe weather, and we probably won’t have much thunder. We expect a high in the low 50s tomorrow, and mid to upper 50s Saturday.

Sunday looks like a dry day with a comfortable afternoon; the GFS is printing a high of 63 degrees with a little sun through the clouds. A wave in the Gulf will bring the potential for a little light rain to East Alabama late Sunday night and Monday morning; best chance of rain will be along and east of U.S. 431.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: Monday and Tuesday will feature very pleasant afternoons with highs up in the low to mid 60s. But, a cold front will move into Alabama with rain and thunderstorms likely late Tuesday into Tuesday night. A surface low over Tennessee Tuesday evening will deepen rapidly as it moves northeast, and with good upper support we could very well see a few strong thunderstorms around here, but at this point the chance of organized severe weather looks low with very limited instability values.

Wednesday (Christmas Eve) will be colder; clouds linger much of the day with cool north breeze and a high in the upper 40s. A little wrap around moisture could bring a few sprinkles or flurries to far North Alabama Wednesday morning, but for now it looks very insignificant (sorry, snow fans).

Christmas Day on Thursday looks very nice with a good supply of sunshine. We start the day near the freezing mark, down in the low 30s, but rise into the mid 50s by afternoon. Take some time to watch 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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Had a great time today visiting with the third graders at Cherokee Bend Elementary School in Mountain Brook… be looking 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

Wet Beginning To The Weekend

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:35

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: At daybreak we have some rain falling over the Tennessee Valley region of extreme North Alabama; even a few reports of sleet mixed in with the rain around Elkmont and Cloverdale. This will stay generally north of a line from Sulligent to Jasper to Oneonta to Gadsden…

Today will be generally cloudy with a high not too far from the 50 degree mark. We note the average high for December 18 (for Birmingham) is 55 degrees.

WET START TO THE WEEKEND: A southwest flow aloft ahead of an upper trough in the southern branch of the jet stream will keep clouds over Alabama tonight and tomorrow, and with the approach of the main system rain will move in from the southwest during the day tomorrow. The places like Birmingham, Anniston, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa, the primary threat of wet weather will come from about 2:00 p.m. tomorrow through 10:00 a.m. Saturday. The latest model runs have trended with a more southerly track to the main surface low, which should keep the heavier rain totals over South Alabama. Up our way, rain amounts should be somewhere in the 1/2 to 1 inch range. While some thunder is possible, there is no risk of severe weather for the northern two-thirds of the state.

Sunday looks like a dry day with a high in the 50s, but clouds could linger much of the day as another wave of low pressure forms in the northern Gulf of Mexico. As that wave moves northeast, it looks like we will need to introduce a chance of light rain Sunday night, mainly over the eastern half of the state. That batch of rain will end early Monday morning as the low moves on to the northeast.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: A cold front will bring a band of rain and thunderstorms to the state Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night with a rapidly deepening surface low just to the north. We might see a few strong storms Tuesday evening, but at this point it looks like the instability values will be insufficient for a severe weather problem. Then, on Wednesday (Christmas Eve), the day will be breezy and colder with lingering clouds and a high in the 40s. There could be a touch of drizzle, or a few light flurries over the Tennessee Valley Wednesday morning, but the deeper moisture will be long gone by then, and precipitation should not be significant.

Christmas Day looks pretty decent with a good supply of sunshine; we start the day with a light freeze (lows between 28 and 32), and then we rise into the low 50s Thursday afternoon.

And, another wave has the potential to bring some rain back into the state Friday. 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
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be doing my last weather program of 2014 today at Cherokee Bend 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

Good Soaking Beginning Friday Afternoon

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:38

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.

VARIABLE CLOUDS: Some North/Central Alabama communities are in bright sunshine this afternoon with temperatures in the low 50s, some places are dealing with a cloud over with temperatures in the 40s. No rain on radar, and the low levels remain dry.

Not much change in our weather tomorrow; mixed sun and clouds with a high in the low 50s for most communities. We might consider a small risk of a shower as moisture levels begin to slowly rise.

RAIN RETURNS: A rather dynamic weather system will impact Alabama as the weekend begins. Rain will spread into the state from the southwest Friday afternoon, becoming widespread Friday night. SPC has a “marginal risk” of severe weather up for the western and central Gulf Coast, but even there instability values are marginal. No severe weather is expected over the northern two-thirds of Alabama, although some thunder is certainly possible.

The rain will end from west to east during the midday hours Saturday; rain amounts will average one inch, with potential for a little more over West Alabama. Then, we expect partial clearing Saturday night as drier air works into the state.

SUNDAY/MONDAY: These two days look dry and pleasant with a partly sunny sky both days and a high close to 60 degrees.

ACTIVE PATTERN BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Clouds thicken on Tuesday, and we will forecast a good chance of rain by Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night as a strong cold front approaches. The new high resolution parallel GFS model has a 993 mb low near Nashville Tuesday night, suggesting we might even have some risk of strong thunderstorms; that will all depend on the amount of instability available, which is always questionable this time of the year. We will watch model trends in coming days.

Then, on Wednesday (Christmas Eve), the weather turns sharply colder and blustery in the wake of the cold front. The day looks mostly cloudy, windy, and cold with temperatures having a hard time getting out of the low to mid 40s. A very deep surface low (960 mb) is forecast to form just north of Buffalo, and moisture wrapping around that could squeeze out a few flurries or sprinkles during the day Wednesday. If we do see flurries, they shouldn’t amount to anything significant with surface temperatures well above freezing and very limited moisture.

CHRISTMAS DAY: For Alabama, the day looks dry. We begin with a morning low down in the upper 20s, followed by an afternoon high in the low 50s with a good supply of sunshine. 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 will be at the Tots for Tots campaign wrap-up this evening at Legacy BBQ on Highway 150 in Hoover… on ABC 33/40 News at 4, 5 and 6:00… then back in the studio at 10:00. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

Rain Moves Back In By Friday Afternoon

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:20

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.

COOL AND DRY: Not much change in the Alabama weather situation today; temperatures will be a little cooler with a high between 50 and 55 degrees for most places. The air stays dry, and we will enjoy a decent amount of sunshine through scattered clouds. Pretty much the same situation tomorrow; we might consider a slight risk of a shower during the afternoon as moisture levels rise, but for now we won’t mention it in the forecast.

WET WEATHER RETURNS: A significant storm system will bring rain into Alabama as the weekend begins. Rain will move in from the southwest Friday afternoon, and a widespread, soaking rain is likely Friday night. The guys at SPC has a “marginal” severe weather risk defined for the Gulf Coast region just south of the projected surface low track, but we do not expect any severe weather problems for the northern two-thirds of Alabama.

The rain will end from west to east during the midday hours Saturday; average rain amounts of one inch are likely, with potential for heavier totals in a few places. The sky will clear Saturday night as dry air returns to the state, and Sunday will be a dry, pleasant day with a good supply of sunshine and a high in the upper 50s.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: Monday will stay rain-free with a high well into the 50s, but a cold front will bring rain back into the state late Tuesday and Tuesday night. A little thunder is possible, but again no severe weather is expected with a stable airmass in place.

Colder air blows into the state on Christmas Eve (Wednesday); the last few global model runs have come in colder, but this is not cross-polar air. We project a high in the mid 40s Wednesday with a chilly north wind of 10-20 mph. There could be a few snow flurries Wednesday morning over the northern quarter of Alabama in the colder air, but the deeper moisture will be long gone, and for now it doesn’t look like anything significant (sorry, for those of you dreaming of a you know what).

Christmas Day on Thursday looks dry with a cold morning… temperatures should be in the 20s early in the day, then we rise into the low 50s  by afternoon with a partly to mostly sunny sky.

Another shot of colder air will arrive Friday, and for now it looks like that surface front will come with no rain. Take some time to watch the Weather Xtreme video for the 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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Twitter
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TOYS FOR TOTS MARATHON: I will be live at Legacy BBQ on Highway 150 in Hoover today on ABC 33/40 News at 4, 5, and 6:00 as we wrap up the annual 26 hour Toys for Tots marathon… please consider coming by at any time today and bringing a new, unwrapped toy. The U.S. Marines will be delivering the toys to families in need next week. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Rain Returns Late In The Week

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 17:15

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.

COOL AND DRY THROUGH MID-WEEK: Alabama’s weather won’t change much through Thursday. Dry and cool; highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s, right at seasonal averages for the middle part of December. We expect a mix of sun and clouds both days; we might consider a slight risk of a shower Thursday afternoon as moisture begins to return, but for now the chance of any one spot getting wet looks very small.

NEXT RAIN EVENT: Clouds will thicken during the day Friday, and rain will move into Alabama from the southwest Friday afternoon. That rain becomes widespread Friday night and into at least a part of the day Saturday as a surface low moves across South Alabama. At this time we expect rain amounts close to one inch, and no threat of severe weather. The rain will end from west to east Saturday afternoon as the low moves northeast into Georgia. Afternoon highs Friday and Saturday should remain in the 50s.

Sunday will be a dry day for the state, with sunshine through scattered clouds and a high in the mid to upper 50s.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: Dry weather continues Monday with a partly sunny sky and a high between 55 and 60. A cold front will pass through the state late Tuesday and Tuesday night, but with limited moisture it looks like rain amounts will be very light and spotty; the system is a “clipper” that originates in Canada, and rarely brings deep moisture.

Wednesday looks colder and dry with a high between 45 and 49 degrees, then for Christmas Day on Thursday expect a partly sunny sky with a high in the 50s. For now we see no reason to forecast any chance of precipitation; sorry snow fans. 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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TOYS FOR TOTS: Our annual 26 hour final drive begins this evening; we are at Legacy BBQ on Highway 150, just west of the Galleria; please consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy by to help local families in need. It all wraps up tomorrow at 6:00… I will be there at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00 live on ABC 33/40 tonight.

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

Dry And Cool Through Mid-Week

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:18

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.

DRIER AIR RETURNS TO ALABAMA: Showers this morning are now generally east of I-65, and south of I-85, with a clearing sky over the northern half of the state.  We project a partly sunny sky today and tomorrow with highs in the 50s, right at seasonal averages for mid-December in Alabama. Moisture levels begins to rise Thursday, and we will bring in a small risk of a shower, but much of the day should be dry.

NEXT RAIN EVENT: It comes as the weekend begins. A fairly vigorous wave will push rain in Alabama Friday afternoon, becoming widespread Friday night into Saturday morning. The latest GFS moves the surface low through South Alabama, meaning no severe weather worries for the northern two-thirds of the state. But, it should be a good rain event with amounts around one inch likely; some spots could see a little more. The rain will end from west to east during the midday hours Saturday, followed by drier air Saturday night and Sunday. Highs stay in the 50s over the weekend.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: The weather here looks pretty quiet for now. A cold front will pass through Tuesday night or early Wednesday (December 23-24), and that might bring a shower or two, but at this moment it doesn’t look like a big rain event. Most of Christmas Eve looks dry, but chilly with a high in the mid to upper 40s. And, Christmas Day on Thursday (December 25) looks dry with a high in the 50s. Sorry, snow fans. See the Weather Xtreme video for a day to day walk through of the weather we expect next week.

It does look like the southern stream will be pretty active over the last week of the month; the 06Z GFS shows a significant rain/storm event here around December 27.

ON THIS DATE 14 YEARS AGO: An EF-4 tornado tore through the southern part of the city of Tuscaloosa, killing 11 people and injuring many more.

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. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

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

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Don’t forget our annual Toys for Tots 26 hour marathon begins today at 4:00… I will be at Legacy BBQ on Highway 150 in Hoover; please take a few minutes and bring a new, unwrapped toy by for families in need; the U.S. Marines will deliver the thousands of toys to these families right before Christmas next week. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 4:00 or so this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

WeatherBrains 464: Lift My Parcels

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 06:15

WeatherBrains Episode 464 is now online (December 15, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

We don’t have one guest WeatherBrain, nor two guest WeatherBrains, but three guest WeatherBrains.

First is James Aydelott, Chief Meteorologist from KOKI, Fox23, in Tulsa, OK. James grew up in Tulsa and is a fourth generation Okie. His great grandparents moved into Indian Territory before 1900 and his grandfather was born in Howe. His parents were both teachers in Tulsa Public Schools. James has always been fascinated by the severe weather that seems to hit Tulsa with fearsome regularity. James’s dad piled the family in the station wagon and toured the damage after each round of severe weather, and all that destruction made quite an impression on him. After graduating from Tulsa’s East Central High School, James headed to the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a degree in meteorology.

James has worked in Sherman, TX, Savannah, GA, Wichita, KS, Dallas, TX, and Tulsa, OK, seeing and forecasting everything from tornadoes to hurricanes to blizzards. He has years of tornado chasing experience and is a severe weather and Doppler radar expert. James is an instrument-rated pilot and enjoys flying his Cessna Cardinal. James and his wife Robyn have two children and golden retriever, Mia, who also loves to fly. He also likes to cook and has even been a celebrity chef in Tulsa’s own Chef Fest. James is involved in Tulsa’s Iron Gate Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, and Tulsa’s Restore Hope Ministry.

Guest WeatherBrain number 2 is Steve Piltz, Meteorologist in Charge of the Tulsa NWS office. Steve has been with the NWS for over 26 years, the last 13 years as MIC at the Tulsa office. The Tulsa office covers 25 counties in Oklahoma and seven in Arkansas.

And Guest WeatherBrain number 3 is Shelby Hays. Shelby is a WB Alum, having appeared on shows 443, 423, and 403. Shelby joined the KOCO 5 First Alert weather team in November, 2014, where she will be the weekend meteorologist. She is a native Oklahoman who grew up wanting nothing more than to be a meteorologist. From a very young age Shelby was fascinated by storms. It began with fear but grew into a passion for learning about the weather. One of the reasons she loved weather so much was that it’s always changing. She knew this would provide for a rewarding career. Shelby pursued her dream at one of the finest meteorology schools in the world, the University of Oklahoma. She spent her time in college studying weather and also studying the television business. Shelby completed internships in both Oklahoma City and Nashville, TN. She graduated from OU with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. She also spent time in New York City at Good Morning America learning from ABC Meteorologist Ginger Zee. Shelby began her broadcast career at KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, AR, as the weekend morning meteorologist. The chance to come home to Oklahoma City was a dream come true for Shelby.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 84 at Edinburg, TX, and 3 at Conrad, MT
  • Storm system moving through Great Lakes area
  • Another cold wave coming down the eastern side of the Rockies
  • Weather relatively quiet, but tornado in Oklahoma on Sunday
  • Small tornado in southern Mississippi today
  • 2014 may go into the records as a low end year for tornadoes
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: We’re going to go full tilt into the topic of tilted troughs in this episode of WeatherBrains 101. You’ve got three kinds of tilted troughs, neutral, positive, and negative. Be sure to listen to see which one is the most ominous.

    Listener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Web Sites from Episode 464:

    KOKI-TV Fox 23 Weather web page

    NWS Tulsa, OK, web page

    KOCO-TV Weather web page

    Doswell and Lemon 1979 paper on thunderstorm evolution

    Doswell paper on human in forecasting

    Picks of the Week:

    Shelby Hays – KOCO-TV Weather App

    Nate Johnson – A Day at the Weather Channel

    Bill Murray – No Pick this week

    Brian Peters – Weather forecasts for Rose Bowl

    John Scala – Localized snow event in Chicago, IL

    Kevin Selle – No Pick of the Week

    James Spann – Mike Smith Blog post on Ginger Zee story

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – Capital Weather Gang Tweet on Gemini meteor shower

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Dr. John Scala, Rick Smith, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

    Categories: Weather

    Rain At Times Through Tonight

    Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:27

    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: Showers are little ahead of schedule this afternoon; much of Central and West Alabama are wet at mid-afternoon…

    Occasional showers will continue tonight, ending after midnight in most places with rain amounts generally under 1/2 inch. Then, the sky will become partly sunny during the day tomorrow as drier air enters the state.  We expect a high tomorrow in the mid to upper 50s, about average for mid-December in Alabama.

    WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: Wednesday will be dry with a mix of sun and clouds, and a high in the mid 50s. Clouds thicken Thursday as moist air begins to return, and we will mention just a chance of a shower Thursday afternoon; nothing especially widespread. The high Thursday afternoon will hold in the mid 50s.

    WET WEATHER RETURNS AS THE WEEKEND BEGINS: A significant storm system in the southern branch of the jet stream will impact Alabama with rain, beginning at some point during the day Friday. The rain become more widespread Friday night, and should end during the day Saturday as a surface low moves away from the state. The forecast surface low track, right across Central Alabama, suggests there will be no risk of severe weather, although some thunder is certainly possible. Rain amounts should average one inch, with potential for more in a few spots, especially over Northwest Alabama.

    Drier air returns Saturday night, and Sunday will be rain-free with a partly sunny and a high in the mid to upper 50s.

    CHRISTMAS WEEK: A wave of low pressure is expected to form in the western Gulf of Mexico Sunday night; the 12Z GFS keeps the rain with this feature south of the Gulf Coast, over the Gulf. One way or another it should not impact North or Central Alabama, and at this point our weather looks dry Monday and Tuesday with seasonal temperatures; highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s.

    An active southern branch of the jet stream is expected to set up later in the week, and a number of global model runs have suggested we might have some rain to deal with on Christmas Eve, Wednesday December 24, followed by a cold and dry Christmas Day. But, there is no way to resolve timing this far in advance. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

    It does look like colder weather will impact the Deep South over the final week of December.

    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…

    Facebook
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    Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

    Categories: Weather

    Showers Move Into Alabama Tonight

    Mon, 12/15/2014 - 07:27

    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.

    COLD START: Another sub-freezing morning for East Alabama; Vic Bell at Black Creek reported a low of 23 degrees early this morning; places like Anniston, Gadsden, and Fort Payne are in the upper 20s at daybreak. Most communities over the western two-thirds of the state are in the 30s.

    Clouds will slowly increase today ahead of a storm system across the Southern Plains, and a few showers could enter West Alabama this afternoon with temperatures rising into the 60s. The best chance of showers will come tonight, from roughly 6 p.m. through 4 a.m. tomorrow. Moisture is limited, and the air is stable, so rain amounts should be under 1/2 inch for most places. No risk of severe weather, and probably not much thunder.

    TOMORROW/WEDNESDAY: The sky becomes partly sunny tomorrow as drier air works into the state. The weather will be a bit cooler, with a high in the mid to upper 50s. Wednesday will stay dry with a partly sunny sky and a high in the low to mid 50s.

    LATER THIS WEEK: We will introduce the risk of a shower during the day Thursday as moisture begins to return, but rain amounts should be pretty light and spotty. A significant wave will bring the next band of organized rain into our state late Friday, Friday night, and early Saturday. The main window for the most widespread rain will come from roughly 6:00 p.m. Friday through 9:00 a.m. Saturday as a surface low moves right over North Alabama. This system will have good upper support, but at the moment it looks like the air will be too stable for any real severe weather threat.

    It certainly has the potential to bring a significant amount of rain; for now we figure most of North/Central Alabama will see one inch, with potential for more in spots, especially over the northwest counties of the state.

    REST OF THE WEEKEND: Drier air begins to work into the state Saturday afternoon, and we might see a little sun with a high close to 60 degrees. And, at this point, Sunday looks dry with a mix of sun and clouds and a high in the mid to upper 50s.

    CHRISTMAS WEEK: The GFS shows a southern stream system that has potential to bring rain to the Gulf Coast region early in the week; best chance of wet weather Monday will be south of Montgomery, and especially near the coast. For now it looks like the rain will stay south of places like Birmingham, Anniston, Tuscaloosa, and Gadsden.

    Global models are also hinting at some potential for another wet weather system on Christmas Eve; snow lovers love the 06Z GFS which hints at wintry precipitation for parts of North Alabama, but this is nothing but pure voodoo at this point. Take a few minutes and watch the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details on long range ideas. Seems like a pattern change is very possible toward the end of the month, but nobody knows the details for now.

    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…

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google Plus
    Instagram

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

    Categories: Weather

    Clouds and Sun Today

    Sun, 12/14/2014 - 08:20

    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.

    Some low clouds moved into northern Alabama overnight creating an interesting temperature contrast across Central Alabama. Near sunrise, there was a 21 degree difference in temperatures from Tuscaloosa at 47 and Anniston at 26. Vic Bell reported a low of 23 at Black Creek for the coldest reading I could find. This makes the temperature forecast today a bit difficult. I think the clouds will stick around this morning but we should see some sunshine by afternoon. The clouds will hold temperatures down some so I’m only expecting the upper 50s for most areas, perhaps lower 60s south of the Birmingham area.

    The surface high in place this morning will slide to the east today with the next weather system taking shape to our west. As the high slides east, a trough kicks our of the southern Rockies on Monday taking the surface low into the middle Mississippi River Valley and bringing a front across the lower portion of the Mississippi Valley. Clouds should increase Monday with the showers and rain holding off until the very late afternoon and evening.

    This system zips by briskly so I think much of the rain chances will be confined to the nighttime hours. By Tuesday at midday the trough has moved into the eastern Great Lakes area and the front has cleared the area. We should see the rain end for most folks by daybreak though it might linger a little beyond that for the eastern section of Central Alabama. We’ll cool down some for Wednesday and Thursday as the coldest air remains well to our north, but our highs should fall back into the 50s.

    Wednesday and Thursday will be dry with another weak ridge influencing our weather. The next system, however, will be taking shape Thursday and bringing us some wet weather for Friday and the first half of Saturday. Friday is likely to be a fairly warm day as a warm front moves north and good southerly flow is established. The upper storm system opens up and moves by on Saturday afternoon, so that should bring an end to the rain by the middle of the day on Saturday. Sunday should be dry and colder once again with highs dropping back into the middle 50s.

    Rainfall with the first system is expected to be fairly light with a half inch or less for most locations. The next system for Friday and Saturday could bring a bigger rain event to the area.

    And voodoo country has a somewhat different look to it on this run – so what’s new? Yesterday it looked like a warm and dry Christmas for Central Alabama, but the run today continues to show a fairly warm pattern but it could be wet with a strong weather system coming across the Southern Plains. And the pattern will remain active with another system ab out three days later bringing more wet weather for the 28th and 29th. But maybe all this will change in the next few model runs.

    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)

    James Spann will return with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video on Monday morning posting it by 7 am or so. Enjoy the day and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather

    Sunny, For Most Spots

    Sat, 12/13/2014 - 14:16

    Most locations across the state are basking in an abundance of sunshine this afternoon. Where the sun is out, temps are into the 50s and 60s, making it a beautiful Saturday across the state. However, this is not the case for all locations in the state. An area of cloud cover has moved into the Tennessee Valley as well as portions of West Alabama. Where the clouds are present, temps are hanging in the 40s this afternoon. Most locations in Central Alabama will continue see the mainly clear conditions today.

    Heading into the overnight hours, look for those temps to drop back down into the lower to mid-30s in Central Alabama. As we head into the second half of the weekend, we are expecting plenty of sun. Highs for tomorrow should be in the 60s for all of Central Alabama.

    Categories: Weather

    Warmer & Dry for the Weekend

    Sat, 12/13/2014 - 07:18

    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.

    If you are looking for really cold weather, you won’t find it around here this weekend. Sure, we’re starting the day off on a rather nippy note with readings in the 20s across the Tennessee River Valley and Northeast Alabama while much of Central Alabama was around 30 degrees. With a good supply of sunshine expected our afternoon highs should climb to around the 60s degree mark.

    We stay dry on Sunday as the upper ridge builds across the eastern half of the country. Sunday will also be a tad warmer with highs in the lower and middle 60s.

    Our next shot at rain comes Monday night and early Tuesday. This is a relatively fast moving system so the timing on the rain and showers should be between about 6 pm Monday and 9 am Tuesday. Rainfall amounts are expected to be less than half an inch since we don’t really establish a good moisture return with this system.

    An upper ridge will dominate the pattern in the middle of the week with dry weather Wednesday and Thursday and highs returning to the 60s. By Friday, a strong trough will be edging closer to us out of the southern Rockies, so Friday will be warm with rain chances and clouds returning. That trough moves by Saturday, so our weather should be improving as the rain moves out in the morning and early afternoon. Highs will drop back into the 50s, but there is not any extreme cold with this system.

    The weather pattern this time of year is typically pretty fast and we are seeing that. Looks wet for the 23rd of December, but dry for us for Christmas day. The upper air pattern suggests Christmas day could be quite warm. But another chill down and wet weather are projected for the 27th-28th or so.

    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 Ashley Brand J. B. Elliott Bill Murray Brian Peters E-Warn (AL wx watches/warnings)

    Off to Helena United Methodist Church for the Festival of Three Kings. I get to be that jolly fellow from well north of here. Then it’s off to Cahaba Heights UMC for a rehearsal for their Sunday Christmas program, followed by an evening with friends at a Christmas party! I’m already tired and the day has just begun! I expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video by 8 am or so on Sunday. Enjoy this lovely weekend as the Christmas holiday looms closer. Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather