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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 hours 48 min ago

Great Weekend for Central Alabama

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 08:13

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.

Great weekend in store for Central Alabama with surface high pressure nosing across the Southeast US while the action begins to develop to our west.

A strong trough will come out of the southern Rockies on Monday preceded by a series of short waves. This will bring rain and perhaps thunderstorms to the area late Sunday night into early Monday morning for round one while the main trough hangs back to bring us round 2 on Monday afternoon and evening. Some of the storms could be strong to severe on Monday afternoon with all modes of severe weather possible including isolated tornadoes. The two major threats will be damaging wind as well as concerns for additional flooding or flash flooding as streams and rivers across the area remain pretty full. Rainfall totals on the order of 1 to 2 inches are possible with perhaps some higher amounts to 3 inches in the heavier storms. While the rivers and streams are responding to the dry weather by coming down some, they will still be running pretty full on Monday, so any significant rain could bring them back up quickly.

The upper trough takes its time but finally comes across Alabama on Tuesday. This should bring an end to the rain by late morning and provide us with clearing skies by late afternoon. It will also usher in some cooler air with the potential for readings in the upper 30s on Wednesday morning.

But the ridge builds in across the East Coast returning us to warmer temperatures for Thursday and Friday. By Friday, another strong trough begins to move out of the western US with moisture returning from the Gulf of Mexico. This will set the table for another round of wet weather for next Saturday with the potential for strong storms though it does not appear that impressive at the moment.

Looking out into Week 2 or voodoo country, a strong ridge builds into the eastern US around the 24th of April, while yet another strong trough digs into the Rockies. This strong trough will eject out across the Central Plains and Mississippi River Valley around the 26th and 27th, and the GFS is surely showing a substantial trough with what could be some pretty chilly air as well as the potential for severe storms. Not unexpected considering it is April.

Thanks for tuning into the Weather Xtreme Video. I will be traveling back to Alabama on Sunday morning from the National Tropical Weather Conference, so I will be unable to prepare a video in the morning. I’ll do my best to post some forecast notes. Enjoy the great weekend and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Warm, Dry Weekend Ahead

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:28

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today… I am at Regions Field for a special Weather Radio giveaway tonight at the Barons game**

WARM WEEKEND: A delightful weekend is ahead for Alabama; expect a partly to mostly sunny sky tomorrow and Sunday; highs will be near 80 degrees both days.

SPC maintains a standard “slight risk” of severe weather for areas west of Alabama Sunday; much of Arkansas, Louisiana, East Texas, and East Oklahoma is included in that outlook.

RAIN BY MONDAY: Showers and storms return to Alabama Monday and Monday night; severe weather parameters remain unimpressive, and severe weather (at least on an organized basis) is not expected for now. Rain amounts of 1 to 2 inches are likely, and the rain will end Tuesday as colder and drier air moves into the state. Parts of North Alabama won’t get out of the 50s Tuesday with a chilly north wind of 12-22 mph making it feel colder.

Wednesday morning will be cold, and the 12Z GFS suggests much of North and Central Alabama will drop into the 30s… seems like the potential of a late season frost or freeze is very real.

Growers will need to monitor temperature forecasts closely in coming days. A warming trend begins Wednesday afternoon, and for now Thursday and Friday look dry.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Sunny days, fair nights through Sunday. Rain and storms are likely Monday and Monday night; the rain ends Tuesday and the rest of next week will be dry. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the 67-70 degree range because of the cooler ocean water (sea water temperatures are in the mid 60s), but inland some low 80s are likely over 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. 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 my next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. Monday… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Categories: Weather

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 08:46

We are still a few months away from the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which begins June 1. However, in the southern hemisphere, around Australia they are still in the tropical cyclone season for about another month.

A very dangerous and destructive storm is impacting parts of Australia currently. Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita made landfall earlier today along the northern Australia Coast in the state Queensland. Ita is a very powerful storm as maximum sustained winds were 135 knots or 155 mph with wind gusts to 165 knots or 190 mph. Looking at the system, there is no doubt that Ita is a very strong storm being fairly symmetrical, with a well-developed eye.

What always fascinates me about southern hemisphere storms is they spin backwards to what we are use to seeing in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, cyclonic flow is clockwise verses the counter-clockwise flow we see in the northern hemisphere.

At 1pm EST Friday, Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita was situated over the
northwestern Coral Sea and moving south southwestwards towards the north
Queensland coast.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita is expected to shift inland during Saturday though
remain quite close to the coast. It will then most likely move southeastwards
off the southern tropical or central coast on Monday and into the Coral Sea. It
has some potential to redevelop though will be encountering a less favorable
environment and should also shift further southeast away from the east
Queensland coast.

Categories: Weather

Delightful Weekend Ahead; Storms By Monday

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:02

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.

DRY THROUGH SUNDAY: Weather like this sure makes our job easy; we expect mostly sunny mild days and fair nights through Sunday. Today’s high will be in the 75-78 degree range, then we top out close to 80 tomorrow, with low 80s possible Sunday.

To the west, a large “slight risk” severe weather risk is defined Sunday west of Alabama…

EARLY NEXT WEEK: That storm system moves into Alabama with a good chance of rain and thunderstorms Monday, Monday night, and into at least a part of the day Tuesday. The good news is that severe weather parameters are very unimpressive, and at this point we just expect a good rain event with only a minimal severe weather threat. Rain amounts of 1 to 2 inches are likely, so major flooding is not expected, but the rain could be heavy at times.

The rain will end from west to east Tuesday, and noticeably cooler air blows into the state with brisk north winds. Some parts of the Tennessee Valley might have a hard time getting out of the 50s Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning will be cold; it is likely we will see 30s in many areas, and again there is potential for frost across the colder valleys. Growers once again will need to monitor temperature forecasts.

Thursday and Friday of next week look dry with a warming trend. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and 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. 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 428: Jackass What?

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 05:15

WeatherBrains Episode 428 is now online (April 10, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

This is the regular weekly WeatherBrains podcast, but it is a somewhat special edition because it was recorded on a Thursday night AND 75 percent of the available WeatherBrains crew were together on South Padre Island, TX, attending the National Tropical Weather Conference. The topic for the show is, of course, tropical weather. And we weare fortunate to have two previous WeatherBrains guests on the show, both former National Hurricane Center directors, Max Mayfield and Bill Read. Listen to the show to get the inside stories from some very experienced meteorologists who have dealt with some major issues surrounding tropical weather. This is the behind the scenes stuff that you cannot get anywhere else.

The WeatherBrains crew and guests on episode 428 at the National Tropical Weather Conference in South Padre Island, TX.(L to R: Brian Peters, Nate Johnson, Bill Read, Max Mayfield, and Bill Murray).

Our email bag officer was not available, so a double dose of the mail bag will probably come next week.

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 428:

National Tropical Weather Conference

National Hurricane Center

Picks of the Week:

There were not any this week due to the special nature of the show.

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

Categories: Weather

Sunny Days Through Sunday

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 15:39

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.

BIG WARM-UP: As expected, some of the traditionally colder spots across North Alabama saw some frost early this morning; Black Creek near Gadsden dropped to 33. But, we have warmed over 40 degrees in some places this afternoon as most communities are in the mid 70s. Hard to find a decent cloud in the sky.

DRY THROUGH SUNDAY: Delightful weather continues. Mostly sunny warm days, fair cool nights. Upper 70s tomorrow; highs around 80 Saturday, with potential for low 80s Sunday.

To the west, SPC has a severe weather risk defined for areas west of Alabama Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.

EARLY NEXT WEEK: A dynamic weather system will bring rain and thunderstorms back to Alabama Monday into Tuesday. The GFS is a little faster, the ECMWF a little slower; for now we will project the primary window for rain from 12:00 noon Monday through 12:00 noon Tuesday, but understand that might need to be adjusted as we get closer to the event.

At this point there is no real focused surface low, and instability values are low, so the severe weather threat doesn’t look very high, but this is mid-April and that might change in coming days. No doubt it will bring a good soaking with rain amounts of one to two inches statewide. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

Colder air arrives Tuesday night, and we might have a situation where colder valleys and protected areas go into the low to mid 30s again either Wednesday or Thursday morning (much like what we experienced this morning).

VOODOO LAND: Another strong storm system will bring active weather to Alabama around April 19-20. See the video for 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. We will produce this week’s show tonight… we have moved the time to 9:30p CT to accommodate our crew at the National Tropical Tropical Weather Conference on the Texas coast. Watch it live 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 enjoyed seeing the students at McElwain Christian Academy today… 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

Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast from Klotzbach/Gray

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:31

Dr. Bill Gray just finished speaking at the Tropical Meteorology Conference at South Padre Island, discussing the challenges of seasonal hurricane forecasting and the precursors that they use.

He turned it over to Dr. Phil Klotzbach to announce their 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast. Here are the numbers, showing their forecast and the 30 year average (1981-2010).

Named Storms: 9 (12.0)
Named Storm Days: 35 (60.1)

Hurricanes: 3 (6.5)
Hurricane Days: 12 (21.3)

Major Hurricanes: 1 (2.0)
Major Hurricane Days: 2 (3.9)

ACE*: 55 (92)
*ACE is Accumulated Cyclone Energy, a measurement of the wind energy expended by tropical cyclones. It is a better parameter for looking at the overall intensity of a storm or season.

NOTES
…Klotzbach credits the pending El Nino for the below average forecast.
…The Atlantic is at its coolest since 1994 as well.

ANALOGS
Some analog seasons cited:
…1957 Hurricane Aubrey killed at least 416 people in SW Louisiana
…1963 Flora killed over 7,000 people in the Caribbean
…1965 Hurricane Betsy struck Bahamas, South Florida and Louisiana
…1997 Hurricane Danny flooded Alabama coast
…2002 Lili impacted Gulf Coast

I cite the example storms from the analogs as a reminder that it only takes one story to make it a bad hurricane season. So even though a below average season is forecast, that is academic if storm hits you.

Here is the full forecast.

Categories: Weather

Your Weekly U.S. Drought Monitor Update

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:31

Recent rains in many parts of the country have help alleviate some of the drought conditions, but looking at the map below, we continue to see a lot of dry areas across the Plains, Texas, the Southwest, and along the West Coast. We still see exceptional drought conditions affecting California, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

For Alabama, WOW, what a difference a week makes. The rains we received earlier this week have all but squashed any abnormally dry conditions across the state. Last week these conditions covered portions of the Wiregrass Region as well as locations from Dallas County to Cleburne County, but with most of these areas receiving 2-4 inches of rain this week, everything is back to normal for now.

The only part of the state that is still experiencing drought and abnormally dry conditions is in the northwestern part of the state. Moderate drought conditions are occurring in portions of Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin Counties, where it amounts to 1.32% of the state being affected. That is down from 3.37% last week, meaning the area being impacted decreased by 2.05%.

The abnormally dry conditions continue to impact locations in Lauderdale, Limestone, Lawrence, Colbert, and Franklin Counties. As stated earlier, these conditions covered much more of the state last week as 24.55% of the state was being impacted. This week, it has dropped significantly and is at 3.82% of the state. That is a decrease of 20.73% in the area suffering from the dry conditions.

With more rain in the forecast to start next week, hopefully we will see conditions continue to improve for our northwestern counties as well as no new areas develop elsewhere.

Click image to enlarge.

Categories: Weather

Big Warm-Up Today

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:52

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: Many North/Central Alabama communities are in the 30s this morning. Some temperatures just before daybreak…

Black Creek 33
Fort Payne 34
Gadsden 36
Cottondale 36
Haleyville 36
Valley Head 37
Pleasant Grove 38
Cullman 39
Concord 39

Look for sunshine in full supply again today, and we warm into the mid 70s this afternoon.

TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: This fantastic spring weather will continue, with sunny days and fair nights. We reach the upper 70s tomorrow, and the high over the weekend will be around 80 degrees.

We note that SPC has introduced a severe weather risk for areas west of Alabama on day 4, which is Sunday…

MONDAY/TUESDAY: A rather dynamic weather system will bring a round of showers and thunderstorms to Alabama. The GFS hints the primary surface low will be well to the north of here, and at this point the severe weather risk doesn’t look overwhelming, but then again this is mid-April and you have to watch any storm system closely. Looks like rain amounts of around one inch, not enough for a big flooding issue.

The GFS moves the rain out quickly Monday night, but the ECMWF is slower, and keeps rain going through Tuesday morning. Drier and cooler air follows the rain for mid-week… Wednesday morning looks cold, and like this morning there could be 30s across colder pockets of North/Central Alabama. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

AT THE BEACH: Sunny days, fair nights through Sunday. Highs along the immediate coast will be in the upper 60s, with 70s inland. Next chance of showers and storms will come Monday… sea water temperatures are in the mid 60s.

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 live on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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

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I have a weather program today at McElwain Christian Academy in Birmingham… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

Severe Clear

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 14:35

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today; we are in Oxford programming NOAA Weather Radio receivers at the Publix; come see us if you need help… we will be here until 6:30 p.m.**

CHILLY NIGHT: Most communities will wind up in the low 40s early tomorrow with a clear sky and light wind, but keep in mind some of the traditionally colder spots will see a low in the mid to upper 30s with a touch of light frost possible. Nothing widespread or really damaging.

SPECTACULAR SPRING WEATHER: Doesn’t get any better; we expect sunny mild days and clear cool nights through Sunday. Highs in the mid 70s tomorrow, and upper 70s Friday and over the weekend. Some places could touch 80 degrees Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

STORMS RETURN EARLY NEXT WEEK: The 12Z GFS continue the idea of a band of showers and storms moving into Alabama Monday…

This will be a dynamic system, and we will monitor it in coming days for potential for heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. Colder and drier air will follow the rain Tuesday and Wednesday.

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 tomorrow night at 8:30 CT.

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

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

Categories: Weather