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: 16 min 35 sec ago

Lower Humidity Levels Tomorrow

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 15:36

RADAR CHECK: Pretty quiet at mid-afternoon; hardly anything on radar across the great state of Alabama, and we are seeing some sun through the clouds in most places.

Drier air will continue to filter into the northern half of the state tonight, and we expect dry weather over the next 36 hours. We drop down into the mid 50s early tomorrow, and expect a high in the low 80s tomorrow afternoon with a good supply of sunshine and lower humidity levels. Dewpoints will be down in the 40s tomorrow; we won’t have many more days like that as the long, hot summer is so close.

THURSDAY: Moisture begins to return; we start the day with morning sunshine, and we will mention the chance of a few scattered showers and storms by afternoon. The 12Z model runs have trended a little drier, and a decent part of the day should be dry. Temperatures will rise into the mid 80s Thursday afternoon.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Showers and storms will become more numerous Friday as precipitable water values continue to rise. No “all day” rain, but it could rain at any time, and a few thunderstorms could be involved. We will hold in the 70s all day Friday due to clouds and showers.

Not much change for Saturday and Sunday; the sky will be generally cloudy both days with a few passing showers and storms likely. Highs will be in the low 80s. On the positive side, there will be some decent breaks in the rain, we don’t expect any severe weather, and the sun could peek out at times.

We do note another significant severe weather event is possible Saturday across the Southern Plains…

NEXT WEEK: The upper ridge will continue to deflect the main wave energy well to the north of Alabama, but we do stay in a moist airmass, so there will be some risk of scattered showers and storms each day for the first half of the week with highs in the 80s. Looks like temperatures here will stay above average for the Deep South through the end of the month as the ridge holds.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Only widely scattered shower or storms on the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores through Thursday with highs close to 80 on the immediate coast; about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Then, Friday through Sunday, 4 to 6 hours of sunshine daily with scattered showers and storms becoming a little more numerous. For those headed to the Hangout Music Festival… you will have to dodge raindrops from time to time, but the sun will also be out occasionally, and the weekend certainly won’t be a total “wash out”. The sea water temperature this afternoon at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is up to 81 degrees.

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

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

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

Categories: Weather

Morning Showers; Drier This Afternoon

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 06:28

RADAR CHECK: A surface front is passing through North Alabama this morning, and showers are ahead of the front, mainly south of I-59, at daybreak.

We will maintain the chance of showers this morning, but by afternoon dry air takes over, and showers will shift down into South Alabama. We project a partly sunny sky this afternoon with a high in the low 80s.

TOMORROW: It will be the nicest day of the week with ample sunshine, lower humidity, and a high between 80 and 83. Any showers will be confined to the far southern part of the state.

THURSDAY: Moist air returns quickly. We should see some sun Thursday morning, but we will need to introduce the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms by afternoon; the high will be in the 83-86 degree range.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: A pool of very moist air will hover over Alabama on these three days; precipitable water values will approach 2 inches by Saturday. Needless to say we will need to mention a chance of showers and storms each day… seems like the highest coverage of rain will be on Friday. The weekend won’t be a wash-out, but you will need to be ready for occasional showers, and possibly a thunderstorm or two, Saturday and Sunday. Impossible to give specific start/stop times for the rain since showers/storms tend to be rather random in this kind of pattern.

The good news is that we don’t expect any severe weather over the weekend, and the sun could peek out at times. Afternoon highs will remain in the low to mid 80s, although I doubt if we get out of the 70s Friday due to clouds and showers.

NEXT WEEK: Not much change; we will have the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms for at least the first half of the week with an early summer pattern continuing. Organized severe weather risks will continue well to the west of the state. See the blog and the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Only widely scattered shower or storms on the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores today through Thursday with highs close to 80 on the immediate coast; about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Then, Friday through Sunday, 4 to 6 hours of sunshine daily with scattered showers and storms becoming a little more numerous. For those headed to the Hangout Music Festival… you will have to dodge raindrops from time to time, but the sun will also be out occasionally, and the weekend certainly won’t be a total “wash out”.

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

Categories: Weather

WeatherBrains 485: Tornado Stories

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 05:15

WeatherBrains Episode 485 is now online (May 11, 2015). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest WeatherBrain is a National Correspondent for Yahoo and former reporter for Newsweek. She is an Oklahoma native who currently lives in Brooklyn. She has a new book being released tomorrow that is an account from several different perspectives focusing on OKC media, victims and NWS of the May, 2013, tornadoes. Author of The Mercy of the Sky, Holly Bailey, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 100 at Death Valley, CA, and 16 at West Yellowstone, MT
  • Weather lost a legend today in the passing of JB Elliott
  • Long lasting severe weather for North Central Texas and Oklahoma
  • Good rains for a parched area
  • Severe weather dampening out for next several days
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is out tonight, so she’ll have a long mail bag next week.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: Clouds have got to be one of the biggest and most interesting visual element that attracts people to weather. So for this episode of 101 we take a look at an interesting cloud called the pileus cloud.

    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 485:

    To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

    Spann’s Tribute to JB Elliott

    Mercy of the Sky book (one of many)

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – On-air meteorologists bridge gap

    Bill Murray – Gets fog horn!

    Brian Peters – Tropical cyclone climatology

    John Scala – Hurricane drought due to luck

    Kevin Selle – Sam Barricklow photos of Electra, TX, storm

    Rick Smith – Video of tornado in Norman, OK, on May 6, 2015

    James Spann – Farewell to Birmingham Weather Legend

    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

    Loss Of A Legend

    Mon, 05/11/2015 - 19:26

    When J.B.’s son Steve broke the news to me this afternoon, it almost took my breath away. Yes, we all know J.B.’s heath was failing, but I don’t think anyone expected his death so soon.

    J.B. Elliott was born April 17, 1932, about one month after a generational tornado outbreak that killed hundreds of Alabamians on March 21 of that year. He would live through, and work two of those events in his long career; April 3, 1974, and April 27, 2011.

    I could not ask for a better role model in the field of meteorology, living out the Christian faith, or being a husband and father.

    J.B. is a 32-year veteran of the National Weather Service. (It was known as the U.S. Weather Bureau when he signed on in the spring of 1957.) Ironically, at the moment he arrived at the office at Birmingham Airport for the very first day on duty, a tornado was on the ground in Walker County causing several fatalities.

    J.B. spent his entire NWS career in the Birmingham office and witnessed numerous major Alabama weather events. He always was especially interested in severe weather and spent many long hours on duty during adverse weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes, snow events and ice storms. He worked for 17 hours in a row without a break during the famous tornado Super Outbreak of April 3, 4, 1974. He was also on duty as part of a team when a powerful F5 tornado ripped across the western section of Birmingham in April, 1977.

    It was known as the Smithfield tornado. During all his years in severe weather work, he was awarded not only a U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal but also the Silver Medal.

    When growing up in West Alabama’s Hale County (Havana Junction!) he always wanted to be a weatherman, newspaper reporter, radio broadcaster or photographer. His career in meteorology has included all of that. He was one of the persons that handled the NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts from the Weather Service. He was responsible for thousands of weather stories, warnings and special feature items over the years.

    As a kid, he built a small radio “studio” in the corner of his bedroom and practiced doing newscasts, and of course weather, with a wooden “microphone.” His main source of news was a day-old Birmingham Age-Herald, The Tuscaloosa News, The Greensboro Watchman and jotting down items he heard on WJRD Radio, Tuscaloosa. He also printed a two page weekly newspaper, “Hometown News” by hand and mailed a copy to relatives in Worcester, Massachusetts and charged them five cents. It cost three cents to mail it!.

    Of course weather was often the main headline.

    He ordered a $4 plastic rain gauge from a catalog. His parents bought him a 29-cent thermometer and a 5-cent notebook. He started keeping weather records and was hooked. At Akron High School, one of his teachers, W.W. Duncan, was very interested in weather. He encouraged J.B. to follow that and gave him an assignment to brief the science class once a week on all of the new developments in weather.

    During his NWS career, J.B. was very active in photography and the duty of photographing storm damage sort of defaulted to him. In fact, for several years it was his responsibility to do storm surveys and determine the “F” rating of a tornado, path length, width, fatalities and injuries for the official NWS publication, Storm Data. The Super Outbreak in 1974 was an enormous task.

    I met J.B. in the 1970s when I was an electrical engineering student, but with a true passion for weather. We bonded instantly, and during my early days as a television weather anchor in Birmingham at Channel 13, we spent much time together, especially during my break between the 6:00 and 10:00 newscast, and when he was also on the “night shift”. He was a friend, mentor, and father figure to me. My dad walked away from my family when I was 7 years old, so he filled a very important role in my life.

    J.B. was always there with an encouraging word, and some weather knowledge for me to take away. It was that way when he worked for the National Weather Service, and when he worked for our private weather company after his retirement from government work, which came in 1989.

    For many years J.B. would ride with me to school visits across Alabama. I cherish the stories and laughter we enjoyed on the roads less traveled.

    Many loved hearing J.B. on our weekly show “WeatherBrains”, and he had countless fans that loved reading his afternoon weather discussion here on the blog, along with the adventures of his beloved dog “Little Miss Molly”.

    J.B and his wife, Judy, were married for over 50 years. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, Ironically, she and J.B. met out at the Birmingham Airport when she and her “boy friend” visited the weather office. They have two grown children and six grandchildren. Son, Steve Elliott is a Birmingham and Center Point fireman. Daughter, Debbie Broome and her husband, Robert live in the Birmingham metro.

    Thank you, J.B., for being my friend, mentor, and encourager. You never had a bad day… and if you did, you never let us know. See you again one day.

    Categories: Weather

    Sad News To Report

    Mon, 05/11/2015 - 16:40

    My long time mentor, J.B. Elliott, who worked at the National Weather Service in Birmingham for over 30 years, passed away this afternoon. Some of you recall hearing him on NOAA Weather Radio for years, and most of you loved hearing him on our show WeatherBrains. He wrote countless posts on the blog.

    More to come…

    Categories: Weather

    A Few Showers/Storms Tonight

    Mon, 05/11/2015 - 15:31

    RADAR CHECK: Very little on radar at mid-afternoon; only a few isolated showers over West Alabama not far from the Mississippi border. The rest of the state is rain-free with temperatures mostly in the upper 80s.

    TONIGHT: A cold front will move into the state, pushing a band of showers and storms through. The storms should enter Northeast Alabama around midnight, with the highest chance of rain for the north-central counties between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m. SPC maintains a small “slight” risk of severe weather for a small part of Northwest Alabama, but we remain less than impressed with the severe weather threat with limited instability and shear, and weak wind fields. Rain amounts should be light and spotty, generally speaking.

    TOMORROW: Showers will end pretty early in the day, and the sky becomes partly sunny as drier air moves into the northern half of the state. Showers by afternoon will be confined to the southern counties; we project a high in the low 80s.

    WEDNESDAY: This still looks like the most pleasant day of the week, with ample sunshine and low humidity. The high will be close to 80 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

    THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moist air returns Thursday, and while we should begin the day with morning sunshine, we will mention the chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms by afternoon. Then, on Friday, showers and storms become more numerous as moist, tropical air covers the state. Showers or storms are possible at any hour Friday, but there will be breaks in the rain. We will have a hard time getting out of the 70s Friday due to clouds and showers.

    THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Moist air will stick around for Saturday and Sunday; we are getting into that time of the year when it gets harder and harder to get dry, continental air this far south. There will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms on both days, but it won’t be a “wash out” with a few intervals of sunshine possible. Severe storms are not expected, and the high will be in the low 80s, pretty close to average values for mid May in Alabama.

    Not much change into the first part of next week… weather expected in early summer with warm humid days and the risk of a few scattered showers and storms. No sign of any organized severe weather threat around here for at least the next 10 days.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: We will forecast about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine along the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores each day through the weekend with the daily risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs will be close to 80 on the immediate coast, with mid to upper 80s inland. Sea water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s.

    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 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
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    Instagram

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

    Categories: Weather

    Some Weather Changes Ahead

    Mon, 05/11/2015 - 06:43

    LONG DRY SPELL ABOUT TO END: We have gone eleven consecutive days with no rain across North/Central Alabama; the last measurable rain was back on April 29 when 0.14″ was measured. The upper pattern across the nation has been blocked, with multiple days of severe weather across the southern part of the Great Plains and dry weather here under an upper ridge.

    We should note Birmingham officially reached 90 degrees yesterday for the first time since September 21 of last year.

    TODAY: We will project a high in the 87 to 90 degree range again today with a partly sunny sky; we will mention the chance of a few isolated afternoon showers or thunderstorms, mainly in the western side of the state.

    TONIGHT: With the approach of a surface front, an organized band of showers and storms should move into the northwest part of the state after 10:00 p.m…. and the storms could be strong. SPC has the standard “slight” risk of severe weather outlooked down to I-59 (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Gadsden) late tonight and early tomorrow morning.

    However, severe weather parameters are less than impressive. The primary surface low will be far to the north, over the Great Lakes, along with the better upper dynamics. Instability values aren’t very high (generally under 1,000 j/kg), and shear is low as well.

    NWS Birmingham is not going to mention severe weather in their products, and I seriously doubt if we have any serious severe weather issues. However, this system has certainly as had a history of severe weather problems, and when it comes to thunderstorms, expect the unexpected. We will watch radar trends overnight just in case.

    TOMORROW: Showers should end pretty early in the day, and the sky becomes partly sunny by afternoon as drier air works into the state. The high tomorrow will be in the low to mid 80s with dewpoints and humidity levels dropping through the day.

    WEDNESDAY: This should be the nicest day of the week, with ample sunshine, low humidity, and a high around 80 degrees. Might be the the last time we see dewpoints in the 40s until late September.

    THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moisture comes back Thursday, and we will introduce the chance of a few scattered afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Then, a pool of deep moisture will arrive Friday, when the sky will be generally cloudy along with a good chance of showers and storms. It won’t rain all day Friday, but the rain could come at any time. We will have a hard time getting out of the 70s Friday due to clouds and showers.

    THE WEEKEND: A moist, unstable airmass will linger, so there will be a continued risk of showers and storms both Saturday and Sunday. Not a wash-out by any means, but just understand you will have to dodge showers, and maybe a thunderstorm, from time to time over the weekend. Highs will be in the low to mid 80s with high humidity values. The sun might peek out at times, but we will have more clouds than sun both days.

    The muggy conditions will linger into next week; see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details. And, it looks like temperatures will be above average here for the latter part of May as the upper ridge hangs on.

    TROPICS: Tropical Storm Ana made landfall over the weekend near Myrtle Beach, SC… it is dissipating today, but still producing breezy and showery weather over the mid-Atlantic coast region.

    AT THE BEACH: Expect a sunny sky today from Panama City west to Gulf Shores with a high close to 80 on the immediate coast, with upper 80s inland. Then, for the rest of the week and the weekend, about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily with some risk of scattered showers or storms. Not too bad for the Hangout Music Festival at Gulf Shores this weekend. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab this morning is 79 degrees.

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

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

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google Plus
    Instagram

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

    Categories: Weather