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: 4 hours 35 min ago

Showers/Storms Popping Up

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 12:18

Click image to enlarge.

Let’s take a quick look at the Alabama Weather Situation at the noon hour:

A very nice field of cumulus clouds has developed over the state early this afternoon. The clouds started to get some vertical development y late morning over Northeast Alabama. This area of enhancement is being caused by our old friend the Easterly Wedge. You know, that thing we dread in winter? Funny how things we dread in winter, like the Polar Vortex and the Easterly Wedge, seem to make us happy in summer.

The wedge is providing slightly drier air over the Carolinas which means fewer cumulus clouds. But the convergence on the nose of it over Appalachians is allowing for enhanced convective development and that means taller cumulus clouds and showers.

At noon, they are mainly over Cherokee and Etowah Counties, with development also occurring in the I-20 corridor from Birmingham to Heflin and down around Clay and Randolph Counties.

Starting to see lightning near Cedar Bluff and Centre as these storms grow to near 40,000 feet.

There will be frequent lightning, very heavy rain and gusty winds from the stronger storms. Can’t rule out an isolated severe storm, but significant severe weather is not expected.

Storms are already building over northeastern Arkansas and will build down into western Tennessee this afternoon and evening. They will push into northwestern Alabama this evening and Central Alabama overnight. There could be strong storms overnight as a strong cold front near Chicago comes our way.

POLAR VORTEX CHECK
Our upper low is centered over the arrowhead of Minnesota this afternoon. A spot check there finds that it is 52F with a cold rain in Bemidji, Minnesota and a northwest wind at 14 mph.

Categories: Weather

Big Weather Changes Ahead

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 06:35

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.

STILL HOT TODAY: We have a few small, isolated showers on radar at daybreak over East Alabama’s Calhoun, Cleburne, and Cherokee Counties… otherwise it is a warm, muggy morning with temperatures in the 70s. Look for a high in the low to mid 90s again today with a mix of sun and clouds… and like recent days a few storms could pop up during the heat of the day in widely scattered places.

COLD FRONT AHEAD: We sure don’t use the words “cold front” too often in mid-July, but a strong upper trough over the eastern U.S. will drive one down our way, and ahead of it we expect a good chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight and into part of the day tomorrow. The organized band of storms could enter the far northern part of Alabama around 6-7 p.m…. for North-Central Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, Gadsden), models hint the primary window for rain will come from 9:00 tonight through 12:00 noon tomorrow.

SPC has a “slight risk” of severe weather in place tonight for Tennessee, but the storms should be weakening as they move into North Alabama, and for now organized severe weather is not likely. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch are likely, but remember rain distribution with summer events is often not very even, so some could see more, and some could see less.

REFRESHING WEATHER WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY: Drier, cooler air moves into the state tomorrow night, and we project lows in the 57-61 degree range at daybreak Wednesday and Thursday. Some of the cooler pockets across North Alabama could see low to mid 50s, something you surely don’t see often in the midst of summer around here.

For Birmingham… here are the record lows for mid-week

July 16 55 set in 1967
July 17 62 set in 1965

That July 17 record could be in danger early Thursday morning. Look for a mostly sunny sky Wednesday and Thursday with low humidity and a high in the mid 80s.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: More quick changes. Moist air will surge northward Thursday night, and these three days are looking relatively wet with occasional showers and thunderstorms. The sky will be generally cloudy with only a limited amount of sunshine.

And, the wet pattern continues into early next week as a disturbed northwest flow aloft sets up across the Deep South. Average rain amounts over the next seven days over North Alabama will be in the two to four inch range…

See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Today will feature a mix of sun and clouds with scattered showers and thunderstorms from Panama City west to Gulf Shores… showers and storms will be more numerous tomorrow, then thinning out on Wednesday and Thursday with increasing amounts of sunshine. At this point the weather looks pretty routine Friday through Sunday on the coast, with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day with the usual risk of scattered thunderstorms. Highs will remain mostly in the upper 80s on the immediate coast, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 83 degrees.

Tropical storm formation is not expected across the Atlantic basin this week.

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

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

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I will be doing a weather talk today for kids in a summer program at Clay Elementary School… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Heavy Storms Scattered About

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 17:36

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms continue to meander around parts of Central Alabama this afternoon.

Heavy storms are occurring near downtown Birmingham, near the Airport and from Springville to Altoona.

Others are over southern Marion, western Walker and northern Tuscaloosa Counties.

Movement is rather random.

Expect brief heavy rain and lightning if you get under one of these.

Categories: Weather

Showers and Storms Forming

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:49

Click image to enlarge.

Showers and storms are forming in the heat and humidity across West Central and North Central Alabama. The thick field of growing cumulus clouds was the first sign this morning.

As expected, they are forming generally northwest of I-59 and that is where most of them should be through the afternoon.

They should die out late this afternoon.

Highs will make the lower and middle 90s in most spots, except for those lucky enough to pick up a cooling shower.

Showers and storms will increase starting late tomorrow and tomorrow night as a big upper trough develops over the Great Lakes, sending a bonafide cold front our way.

Categories: Weather

Another Hot One But Change Ahead

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 07:05

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.

As the upper ridge loosens its grip we will see another hot and mostly dry weather day for Central Alabama on this Sunday in the middle of July; highs will be in the 92 to 95 degree range with hazy sunshine. A few afternoon showers or storms will kick off in afternoon heat, but they should be fairly widely spaced much like we saw yesterday. A weak convergence boundary could set up along or just northwest of the Interstate 59 corridor where we may see the greatest threat for those isolated showers.

The ridge slides west into early next week, and models continue to develop a strong long wave upper trough for mid-summer over the eastern half of the nation. Afternoon showers and storms are possible Monday, with showers and storms to become likely Monday night and Tuesday in advance of a cold front pushing into the Southeast from the north and northwest. There is fairly good agreement between the GFS and the European in bringing the frontal boundary through Central Alabama, so this adds to the overall confidence in seeing a mid-July cold front make it into the region.

Much like July 4th and 5th, I expect to see some dry, continental air invade Alabama Wednesday and Thursday with lower humidity and cooler nights. Lower humidity is always refreshing in July. But unlike the model runs yesterday, moisture levels don’t stay down long and they begin rebounding on Thursday and into Friday putting showers back in the forecast. A short wave trough moving across the Central US Friday will aide in moisture return from the southwest and perhaps bring us some good rain chances for next weekend.

For those headed to the beach, look for 7 to 9 hours of sunshine along the Alabama Gulf Coast through Monday with widely scattered storms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower and mid 80s along the Alabama and North Florida shoreline. Showers and thunderstorms will be more likely along the coast by Tuesday.

Voodoo country looks really hot with a 600 height contour over the western half of the US with a deep trough situated over the East Coast. This pattern would bring a northwesterly flow to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, so will always have to be cautious about the development of long-lived MCCs – Mesoscale Convection Complexes – coming out of the Central US.

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

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

Thanks for staying tuned to the Blog. James Spann will have the next Weather Xtreme Video update on Monday morning. Watch the heat today and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Afternoon Storms

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 18:04

Showers and storms have slowly grown across Central Alabama this afternoon as temperatures warmed into the 90s.

Most of them are west of I-65, with the heaviest concentration over Fayette, northwestern Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties. Another decent one is over western Jefferson County over the Hueytown/Pleasant Grove area. To the south there are others over Hale, Bibb and Perry County.

The lone exception is straddling the St. Clair/Talladega County County south of Pell City.

Everything is moving southwest and south.

If you find yourself under one of these storms, expect heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

Categories: Weather

Mixed Sun & Clouds, Hot

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 12:23

It has been a mostly sunny for much of the state today, but as the surface heats up, we are beginning to see those puffy-white, cumulus clouds bubble up across the state. We are seeing some ridging in place and that is limiting a lot of the upward vertical motion over the state, which will keep our rain chances very low for today. Through the rest of the afternoon, we will continue to see clouds on the increase, but once the sun sets, the sky should return to mostly clear conditions.

It is turning out to be a rather hot day for most of the state. Temps have already warmed into the upper 80s and lower 90s. Over the next few hours, our temps will continue to warm and most locations will see highs this afternoon into the lower and mid-90s. There are a few very small showers developing across the state, but these are few and far between, and most of us will stay dry today. We can expect very similar weather as we head into our Sunday as well.

Categories: Weather

On This Date in 1980

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 10:00

Headlines on Saturday, July 12, 1980 focused on the Iranian hostage crisis, which was in its 292nd day. One of the hostages had been released by the Ayatollah for “humanitarian reasons”. The GOP was putting the finishing touches on its platform prior to their national convention in Detroit.

There were fears that Mt. Hood in Oregon was getting ready to erupt, a la Mount St. Helens, since quakes had been shaking the area. A hijacker in Seattle had been given $100,000 and a parachute as he seemed destined to be the next D.B. Cooper. The economy was in the tank, with talk that the extended recession was comparable to the Great Depression in many ways.

The movies that were playing then included The Shining and Airplane.

High temperatures from July 12, 1980 courtesy NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project. Click image to enlarge.

But the big news across the southern United States was the heat. Birmingham was in the middle of a thirteen day heat wave, with temperatures 90F or higher for those thirteen days. The mercury reached at least 100F on eight consecutive days. The high temperature at the Birmingham Airport topped out at 104F on that Saturday, the hottest it had been so far in the hot spell. The next day would see 106F, the hottest of the heat wave.

Air conditioning repair companies were doing a land office business. Bank managers resorted to putting blocks of ice in front of electric fans to “cool off the girls” in the drive-thrus. The local Coca-Cola bottler reported that soft drink sales were up 35 percent.

The weather page in the Birmingham News wistfully noted that it was midwinter in Australia.

The toll was beginning to rise across Alabama. At least four deaths had been reported so far. Before it was over, at least 120 Alabamians lost their lives to heat related illnesses. 200,000 chickens also succumbed to the extreme heat.

The June-September 1980 Heat Wave is the first billion dollar weather-related disaster in U.S. history. Damage to agriculture and related industries was estimated at $20 billion. The sweltering weather claimed the lives of over 10,000 Americans.

Categories: Weather

Hot Weekend, But…

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 06:57

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.

An upper ridge will mean hot and mostly dry weather for Central Alabama today and Sunday; highs will be in the 92 to 95 degree range with hazy sunshine. A few afternoon showers or storms will fire up in afternoon heat, but they should be few and far between.

The ridge moves west into early next week, and models continue to develop a strong, long wave upper trough for mid-summer over the eastern half of the nation. Afternoon showers and storms are possible Monday, with showers and storms to become likely Tuesday in advance of a cold front pushing into the Southeast from the north. Nice to see fairly good agreement between the GFS and the European which adds to the overall confidence in seeing a mid-July cold front make it into the region.

Much like July 4th and 5th, I expect to see some dry, continental air invade Alabama Wednesday through Friday with lower humidity and cooler nights. As James noted yesterday, we might make a run at record lows early Thursday morning with temperatures reaching the 58-62 degree range. Highs over the latter half of the week will be in the 80s with low humidity levels. Lowered humidity is always refreshing for July.

Moisture levels come back Friday and into next weekend returning showers to the forecast.

For those headed to the beach, look for 7 to 9 hours of sunshine along the Alabama Gulf Coast through Monday with only widely scattered storms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the lower and mid 80s. Showers and thunderstorms will be more likely along the coast by Tuesday.

Voodoo country features the 594 heat bubble over the western half of the US with a long wave trough situated over the East Coast. This pattern would bring a northwesterly flow to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, so will always have to be anxious about the development of long-lived MCCs – Mesoscale Convection Complexes – coming out of the Central US.

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 anticipate posting the next Weather Xtreme Video by 7:30 or 8 Sunday morning. Stay cool and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Hot Weekend; Big Changes Next Week

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 15:22

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

RADAR CHECK: As expected, not much action this afternoon. We have a few isolated showers over the far eastern part of the state, and they are drifting south…

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: An upper ridge will mean hot and mostly dry weather for our state tomorrow and Sunday; highs in the 92-95 degree range with hazy sunshine. A few afternoon showers or storms can always fire up on a summer afternoon around here, but they should be few and far between.

NEXT WEEK: The ridge moves west, and models continue to develop a strong, long wave upper trough for mid-summer over the eastern half of the nation. Afternoon showers and storms are possible Monday, with showers and storms become more widespread Tuesday in advance of a cold front pushing down from the north.

A nice dose of dry, continental air should invade Alabama Wednesday through Friday with lower humidity and cooler nights. Looks like we might make a run at record lows early Thursday morning with temperatures reaching the 58-62 degree range. Highs over the latter half of the week will be in the 80s with low humidity levels. Very refreshing for July.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine along the Alabama Gulf Coast through Monday with only widely scattered storms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s. Showers and thunderstorms will be more likely on the coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores by Tuesday. The image below is from Orange Beach this afternoon… photo from @ringram2077

TROPICS: All remains quiet and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend across the Atlantic basin.

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 my next Weather Xtreme video here Monday morning by 7:00…. Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

A Hotter Weekend; Cooler Next Week

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 05:17

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.

TRENDING HOTTER AND DRIER: An upper high will build into Alabama from the west over the next few days, setting up a hot and relatively dry weekend. We project a high around 90 today, with low to mid 90s tomorrow and Sunday. Days will feature a good supply of hazy sunshine, and while a shower or storm is possible each afternoon, they risk of any one spot getting wet is only in the 10-20 percent range.

BIG CHANGES NEXT WEEK: A big pattern change as the upper high moves west, and a strong upper trough forms over the eastern third of the nation by Tuesday.

We begin to see an increase in the chance of showers and storms by Monday afternoon, but the wettest day should Tuesday as the front moves down into Tennessee. Highs drop into the 80s Tuesday because of clouds and showers.

Then, a refreshing airmass arrives Wednesday with lower humidity. We have a good chance of dropping into the 50s early Thursday morning; the record low for July 17 is 62 set in 1965, so a very good chance we ease into the record books for the second time this month. We stay dry into Friday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day through the weekend with only widely scattered thunderstorms from Panama City west to Gulf Shores. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 81 degrees.

TROPICS: A large amount of dry air covers the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

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 this afternoon…. enjoy the day….

Categories: Weather

Storms Along Front

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 20:34

Storms have developed this evening along a southward moving cool front.

The heaviest storm is in eastern St. Clair County, centered near Ragland. A significant weather advisory is in effect for this storm.

Others are forming along the Jefferson/Shelby County line, with cells south of Leeds, near Meadowbrook and northwest of Pelham.

The cells are moving east or east southeast at less than 10 mph.

Expect very heavy rain, dangerous lightning and gusty winds with the storms.

Categories: Weather

Higher Heat Levels This Weekend

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 15:45

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: Most of the showers and thunderstorms in Alabama at mid-afternoon are east of I-65, and are widely scattered…

Temperatures are mostly in the upper 80s with a mix of sun and clouds. Stronger storms are near the Gulf Coast, where some impressive shelf cloud shots have rolled in via social media, like this one from Navarre Beach, FL (from @morgan_lyles)

TOMORROW THOUGH THE WEEKEND: The surface front near the Tennessee border will lose it’s identity, and an upper high will nose in here form the west… this means higher heat levels, lots of sunshine, and very few showers. Understand the chance of rain over the weekend is not zero, but showers and storms should be few and far between. Highs will be up in the low 90s, with mid 90s possible in a few communities.

BIG CHANGES NEXT WEEK: The upper high retreats to the west, and a strong upper trough will form over the eastern half of the nation by Tuesday and Wednesday. This will drive a cold front into Alabama, which should bring a marked increase in the number of showers and thunderstorms by Tuesday. Then, a rather refreshing airmass will settle into North/Central Alabama Wednesday and Thursday with lower humidity and cool nights. I would not be surprised if some places drop down into the 50s by Thursday morning, very close to record low temperature levels for mid-July in Alabama.

See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: There have been quite a few storms around this afternoon on the coast, but the weather looks pretty good tomorrow through the weekend with about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day and just a few widely scattered showers and storms around from Panama City west to Gulf Shores. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the upper 80s, with sea water temperatures in the mid 80s. No sign of any tropical storms or hurricanes anytime soon across the Atlantic basin thanks to very dry air in place, which originated from the deserts of Africa.

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 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

Categories: Weather