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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 24 min ago

Storms Approaching the State Line

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 03:46

A very strong and severe line of storms is approaching Alabama this morning. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect up to the state line. After 4 AM, the line of storms should begin to enter Alabama and we see no reason why warnings will not be issued into Alabama.

This line of storms has a history of producing damage in Arkansas and Mississippi. The main threat will be damaging straight-line winds, but there have been a few embedded tornado warnings within the line as well. Expect frequent lightning, heavy rainfall, and the threat from hail as this line moves into the state.

A tornado watch remains in effect until 10 AM this morning for all of West and North Alabama, including Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Cullman, and Huntsville.

Categories: Weather

Tornado Watch Issued Until 10 AM

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 02:54

A line of severe storms is marching across northern Mississippi this morning. There are several severe storms within this line and a few tornado warnings.

The tornado watch has been issued to cover areas north and west of a line roughly parallel to Interstate 59 from Meridian, to Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Fort Payne. This watch does includes the cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Cullman, Fayette, Hamilton, Muscle Shoals, and Huntsville.

Storms should be entering the northwestern counties of the state just after 4 AM.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED TORNADO WATCH 59 IN
EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CDT THIS MORNING FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS

IN ALABAMA THIS WATCH INCLUDES 12 COUNTIES

IN CENTRAL ALABAMA

BLOUNT JEFFERSON WALKER

IN NORTHWEST ALABAMA

MARION WINSTON

IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA

FAYETTE GREENE HALE
LAMAR PICKENS SUMTER
TUSCALOOSA

THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF…ALICEVILLE…BIRMINGHAM…
CARROLLTON…EUTAW…FAYETTE…GREENSBORO…HALEYVILLE…
HAMILTON…HOOVER…JASPER…LIVINGSTON…MOUNDVILLE…ONEONTA…
SULLIGENT…TUSCALOOSA…VERNON AND YORK.

Categories: Weather

Tornado Warnings Back in Mississippi

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 02:30

A line of severe thunderstorms continues to push eastward across western Mississippi, southeastern Arkansas and northern Louisiana tonight. They are prompting numerous severe thunderstorm warnings and at least three tornado warnings. No reports of actual tornadoes on the ground in the Delta counties of Mississippi yet tonight. The warnings are based on radar indications.

Click image to enlarge.

Tornado watches cover the Mississippi Valley from Central Illinois southward to Central Mississippi and Northeast Louisiana. They also curve back across southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana.

The activity over western Mississippi will arrive in western Alabama around 5 a.m.

The tornado threat has increased a bit to our west early this morning as wind shear has been increasing. But we still expect these storms to weaken after they get into Alabama toward sunrise. They won’t reach the I-59 corridor until later in the morning, between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The SPC continues their standard slight risk severe weather outlook through the overnight hours for the northwestern corner of the state. Then a slight risk outlook is posted for the rest of the day for the rest of Central Alabama, with the exception of the I-85 corridor.

Categories: Weather

Slight Risk for Much of Central Alabama Later Today

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 01:35

No changes in thinking this morning on the severe weather threat.

A mesoscale convective system is pushing eastward across southern Arkansas early this morning, trailing southwestward into northern Louisiana and northeastern Texas.

The activity is still nearly four hours west of the Alabama border.

The new SPC Day One Severe Weather Outlook is out. It includes the standard slight risk for all of Central Alabama except for the I-85 corridor, and excludes Franklin, Colbert and Lauderdale Counties in Northwest Alabama.

This is the outlook that goes into effect at 7 a.m. CDT:

Click image to enlarge.

It reflects the expected weakening of the storm complex to our west tonight and foretells of more development by afternoon ahead of the cold front. The afternoon storms will present the threat of damaging winds and hail, but the tornado threat will be negligible.

Here is the text of the new Day One:

…CUMBERLAND PLATEAU TO MS/AL..
EXTENSIVE CONVECTIVE OVERTURNING IS PREVALENT FROM THE LOWER OH
VALLEY TO TEXARKANA THIS MORNING. MOST OF THIS ACTIVITY SHOULD BE
ONGOING AT 12Z WITHIN A SWATH OF 50S/60S SURFACE DEW POINTS AND
SUFFICIENT DEEP-LAYER SHEAR FOR ORGANIZED LINE SEGMENTS. BUT
CONVECTION SHOULD LARGELY OUTPACE THE PLUME OF MODERATE TO STRONG
INSTABILITY W OF THE LOWER MS VALLEY. IN ADDITION…LOW-LEVEL WINDS
AND FORCING FOR ASCENT WILL SUBSIDE WITH SRN EXTENT AS THE PRIMARY
CYCLONE SHIFTS NEWD. THUS…MCS/S SHOULD BE IN A WEAKENING STATE
DURING THE LATE MORNING…BUT WITH A RISK FOR ISOLATED DAMAGING
WINDS. IN THE WAKE OF MORNING ACTIVITY WHERE POCKETS OF STRONGER
HEATING OCCUR…ISOLATED STORMS SHOULD DEVELOP ALONG THE COLD FRONT.
A MODEST COMBINATION OF SHEAR/INSTABILITY/LIFT MAY POSE A SEPARATE
/LARGELY MARGINAL/ SEVERE RISK.

Categories: Weather

Midnight Look at the Alabama Weather Situation

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 00:03

Everything is quiet across Central and North Alabama this evening. Skies are partly to mostly cloudy with temperatures still in the lower 70s with a few upper 60s over eastern Alabama. Dewpoints are mostly in the 50s still, with some lower 60s over southwestern sections. Tuscaloosa’s dewopint was up to 60F in Tuscaloosa. A steady southerly wind is blowing at about 10 mph.

The surface low tonight is passing northeast of Kansas City. It is not impressively strong (about 1002 mb) and is pretty far away. That’s good for us.

Everything is still well west of the Mississippi River. The closest storm to western Alabama right now is 220 miles west northwest of Pickens County, over southeastern Arkansas. That storm is not severe at this time.

The main line is still back over eastern Texas into southwestern Araknsas. The NWS Shreveport has just issued a severe thunderstorm warning for several counties in southwestern Arkansas and northern Louisiana north of Shreveport. Here is the radar with warnings displayed.

A new tornado watch is coming shortly for southern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee. It will include Memphis, Greenville and Oxford.

No tornado warnings are in effect nationally now.

There could be strong to severe storms overnight as the storms get into western and northwestern Alabama. The line should be weakening as it pushes into the I-59 corridor, but we will monitor them all through the night.

Here is a loop of the 4 km NAM showing the storms getting into northwestern Alabama between 4:30-5:30 a.m. with the main activity reaching western Alabama around 6:30 a.m. and then the I-59 corridor around 10 a.m.

The model shows additional development ahead of the slow moving cold front during the afternoon. The airmass will still be relatively unstable during the afternoon and some of the storms could be strong to severe. Hail and damaging winds will be possible.

The new SPC Day One Severe Weather Outlook will be out within the hour and we will post it here as soon as it is received.

Categories: Weather

Heading Through the Night

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:16

The SPC has just issued their latest day one convective outlook for this evening which cover us through the overnight hours.Thankfully the SPC has discontinued the moderate risk they had issued. The slight risk for much of northwestern Alabama has been trimmed back to only include the extreme northwestern corner of the state, affecting portions of Marion, Franklin, Colbert, and Lauderdale Counties. The slight risk for severe weather is valid until 7 AM Friday morning. The overall thinking has not changed much as the worst of the weather arrives in Alabama well after midnight.

We are seeing quite a few severe storms to our west and they are moving towards the east. There have been several tornado warnings from the St. Louis area to down towards the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Additional showers and storms will continue to develop as we head through the overnight hours. All the individual storms will merge into a a line of storms overnight, and this line is what will impact Alabama.

For Alabama, with the slower movement of the storms, most of tonight will be fine. A line of strong and potentially severe storms will be approaching the western portions of the state around 4 or 5 AM, if not later. That means locations in Central Alabama could see quite a rough commute. Tomorrow it would be wise to wake-up a few minutes early to check the weather and road conditions before heading out the door.

The storms are expected to be weakening as they enter the state, but we will still likely see some severe storms in Alabama, especially towards the Tennessee Valley. The main threat for Alabama has been and continues to be damaging straight-line winds along the line of storms. We will be watching this line carefully as large hail and a few brief spin-up tornadoes could occur.

We will be here all night monitoring the situation and will keep you updated and informed when the storms begin to impact the state.

Categories: Weather

Very Dangerous Storm Northeast of Dallas

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 20:15

A very impressive couplet showing up on radar with this storm.

Numerous reports of a tornado on the ground outside of Dallas this evening. This storm is currently affecting Hunt County and is near the town of Greenville. Areas along Interstate 30 will be impacted by this storm.

Several chasers are on this storm and report tornado on the ground.

A lot of damage reports are coming in from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office. Several homes have been reported as gone. Debris is reported blocking roadways throughout the area from local fire departments.

Categories: Weather

Possible Tornado West of St. Louis

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 19:23

Another very dangerous storm showing up on the radar this evening.

Public reports a confirmed tornado just to the west of downtown St. Louis, near the town of Washington. This storm is approaching the western suburbs of the city.

Areas along Interstate 44 and the towns of Wildwood and Eureka are in the path of this storm as it moves to the east at 35 mph.

Categories: Weather

Dangerous Storm North of Dallas

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 18:03

We continue to watch the weather to our west this evening.

A very dangerous storm is just north of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. It is affecting Denton County and will be impacting the city of Denton.

Travel along Interstate 35 will be impacted. This storm is near where I-35 splits to go to Dallas on the east and Ft. Worth to the west.

Spotters are reporting a rotating wall cloud with a well defined funnel with this storm. Also, golf ball size hail has been reported.

Categories: Weather

Storms Arrive Early Tomorrow

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 15:41

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

THIS AFTERNOON: As expected, it is a warm and mostly dry afternoon across the great state of Alabama. Mixed sun and clouds; temperatures generally between 77 and 81 degrees. And, nothing on the radar.

TO THE WEST: Tornado watches are up in the zone from North Texas to southern Missouri this afternoon, and SPC maintains an enhanced “moderate risk” of severe weather for much of Arkansas, South Missouri, West Tennessee, and Northwest Mississippi…

The 12Z model set suggests a slower eastward progression of the storms… the high resolution NAM now shows the line moving into the northwest corner of Alabama around 6:00 a.m. tomorrow.

TOMORROW: The line of storms could be strong to severe as it moves through the Muscle Shoals area with gusty winds, but we expect the line to weaken as it moves deeper into Alabama as the upper support lifts out well to the northeast. While SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe weather for much of Alabama, I would suggest the severe weather threat is minimal for places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, and Gadsden.

The best chance of rain will come during the morning hours; drier air begins to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be mostly sunny and cooler with a high in the upper 60s. But, clouds return quickly Saturday night, and rain moves into the state Sunday. Looks like a soaking rain event for North-Central Alabama Sunday afternoon through Monday morning as a surface low moves from near Lake Charles, LA to Jackson, TN. Unfortunately this track will put much of Alabama in the “warm sector” late Sunday night, and there is some concern that severe storms could become an issue.

The primary limiting factor for severe weather Sunday night is the lack of instability. Surface based CAPE values are very low, so hopefully that will mitigate a big severe weather issue. However, strong wind fields and high low level shear values will be in place and we will need to watch developments closely in coming days.

Rain amounts of one to two inches are likely before drier air arrives Monday night. Some flooding issues could develop.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: Some light rain is possible Tuesday as an upper trough passes overhead; the day will be mostly cloudy with a high in the 60s. The sky will clear Wednesday, and we are still looking at potential for a late season frost or freeze event early Thursday morning. Take some time to watch 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.

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I enjoyed being in Guin this morning for a special 40th anniversary event as we remembered the “Superoutbreak” of tornadoes April 3, 1974. An EF-5 tornado killed 25 people in Guin; 77 in all died in Alabama that night. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

Categories: Weather

Midday Update

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 11:51

The latest day one convective outlook from the SPC continues to have much of northwestern Alabama in a slight risk for severe weather. This risk is a bit misleading and may give the false impression of a threat of sever weather during the day today. Because the risk is valid until 7AM Friday morning, and we expect storms to arrive after midnight, but before 7AM, the risk is accurate. Most of today will be fine for Alabama. We expect a mix of sun and clouds, breezy southerly winds, with warm afternoon temperatures. There may even be a few scattered showers develop throughout the afternoon.

The risk area, outlined in green, includes locations north and west of a line from near Livingston, to Tuscaloosa, north to Cullman, and then east of Huntsville. Some of the cities included are Jasper, Fayette, Hamilton, Muscle Shoals, Florence, Athens, Vernon, Double Springs, Moulton, and Decatur.

THE PLAYERS: This is one of those classic spring-time severe weather set-ups for the country. An upper-level trough over the Rockies is ejecting out into the Plains today and will provide ample upper-level support for convection. At the surface, an area of low pressure is lifting north from Oklahoma towards the Great Lakes. This low will be enhancing uplift and shear within the risk area. The low will also swing a cold front east into a warm and moist air mass (fuel for the storms), also enhancing uplift. Daytime heating will help the atmosphere destabilize today by increasing instability. All these parameters coming together have and will continue to set the stage for a severe weather outbreak for the Mississippi Valley today.

PARAMETERS FOR ALABAMA: Instability over the state will be sufficient for severe weather in Alabama as CAPE values are forecast to be around 750 J/kg. The front moving through will ensure uplift as well. However, the main limiting factor for Alabama is the placement of the low pressure. For a widespread outbreak for Alabama, the low needs to be closer to Memphis, Tennessee, and not Kansas City, Missouri. Because of the low’s track with this event, the better dynamics, shear and uplift, will be well to the north and west of Alabama for this event. That certainly is great news!

THREATS: With all that being said, there is still a bit of a severe weather threat for Alabama from this event. Heading into the overnight hours, the cold front will catch up to the convection and most of the discrete supercells will merge into a squall line. This line of storms will move into Alabama during the morning hours and will pose a threat of damaging straight-line winds. Heavy rain, some hail, and tornadoes are possible within this line. However, as mentioned above, the better dynamics for severe weather are the farther north you go. The best threat for severe weather in the state will be over the Tennessee Valley of Alabama. As the storms enter Alabama, and with the better dynamics lifting towards the north, we will likely see storms slowly weakening as the push across the state. This doesn’t mean they will not pack a punch, but they will not be as severe as there were coming across Mississippi earlier in the night.

TIMING: The bulk of the activity will move into the state well after midnight tonight, and actually the last few model runs suggest it could be closer to 4 of 5 AM before the line reaches Alabama. This can be tricky, as sometimes squall lines can advance faster, but I do think the worst of the weather will hold off until at least 2 or 3 AM. For locations in Central Alabama, I think we begin to see the line of storms approaching Tuscaloosa, Jasper, and Cullman around 6AM, Birmingham closer to 7 AM, and then locations in east Alabama 8 -10AM. For your Friday morning commute, it could be quite messy and you will certainly need to check weather and road conditions before heading our the door in the morning.

The front will continue to push off to the southeast throughout the day Friday and we will have to watch areas in our southeastern counties for some redevelopment after daytime heating allows instability to increase. A few isolated severe storms will be likely, and the SPC has portions of Alabama outlined in a risk for severe weather on Friday.

Categories: Weather

Storms Arrive After Midnight

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 06:16

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.

WARM, BREEZY DAY: South winds will increase across Alabama later today ahead of a major storm system developing over the Southern Plains; those winds will average 10-20 mph with higher gusts. The sky will be occasionally cloudy, but any showers today should be widely spaced and much of the day will be dry. The afternoon high will be in the 77-81 degree range, much like recent days.

TO THE WEST: SPC maintains an enhanced “moderate risk” of severe weather for much of Arkansas, southern Missouri, West Tennessee, and Northwest Mississippi this afternoon and tonight, with the standard “slight risk” all the way from near Corpus Christi, TX to Chicago and Indianapolis…

The higher tornado probabilities are centered over Southeast Missouri, and the eastern half of Arkansas. Supercell thunderstorms will form in this region this afternoon as a deepening surface low moves from Oklahoma to Iowa. The storms will evolve into a long QLCS (quasi linear convective system) late tonight as the main threat shifts to strong, potentially damaging straight line winds.

ALABAMA TOMORROW: The high resolution NAM continues to suggest the line of storms will enter the northwest corner of the state sometime in the 4-5 a.m. time frame tomorrow morning, just before daybreak. The storms at that time could be severe, with potential for high winds. The highest severe weather threat will come over Northwest Alabama tomorrow morning between 4:00 and 8:00 a.m.

As the storms move deeper into Alabama tomorrow, they should slowly weaken as the upper support lifts well north of our state. I would say the severe weather threat for the larger cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden is very marginal with weak wind fields and marginal shear values by midday. Still, SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe weather for much of our state tomorrow, and this is the first week of April, so we will be watching radar trends very closely.

The showers and storms will end from northwest to southeast tomorrow afternoon as drier air moves into the state.

SUNNY SATURDAY: At least one day this weekend will be nice; Saturday will feature a good supply of sunshine with a high around 70 degrees. If you need to get something done outdoors this weekend, this is the way.

MORE STORMS AS THE WEEKEND ENDS: Clouds return quickly Sunday morning, and a soaking rain/storm event is likely Sunday afternoon through Monday morning as a surface low lifts from the Louisiana coast to Northwest Tennessee. Rain amounts of about two inches are likely, and severe thunderstorms are a very real possibility late Sunday night into early Monday morning. While the instability values are marginal, bulk shear rates are very high, and a tornado threat could be shaping up if the air can destabilize. At this point it looks like the prime window for severe weather in Alabama will come from about midnight Sunday night through 8:00 a.m. Monday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and more details.

REST OF NEXT WEEK: Rain ends during the day Monday from west to east, but some light rain is possible Tuesday as an upper trough swings through. Tuesday will be cloudy and cooler with a high only in the low to mid 60s. And, we still will have potential for a late season frost/freeze setup early Thursday morning. Too early to be specific, but growers need to be aware of the potential. Again, see the video for more details.

AT THE BEACH: Mostly dry today along the Gulf Coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores; about 3-5 hours of sunshine with highs in the 60s along the immediate coast, with 70s inland. Showers and storms are likely tomorrow through the weekend; there is potential for heavy rain Sunday and Sunday night along with strong to severe storms. Next week will be drier. Sea water temperatures are generally in the low 60s.

ON THIS DATE IN 1974: The “Superoutbreak” of tornadoes heavily impacted Alabama; 80 people in our state died… 25 of those deaths were in Guin (in Marion County). Nationally, a total of 148 tornadoes touched down, killing 319 people. It was the largest tornado outbreak on record in our nation up until April 2011. I will be in Guin this morning for a special ceremony honoring those that died, and celebrating the town’s recovery.

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 427: SWERVing

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 05:15

WeatherBrains Episode 427 is now online (April 2, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Another week with numerous guests. Guest WeatherBrain 1 is Michael Hill. He was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, AL, where he grew up watching James Spann and for this reason, he became a meteorologist. A 2009 graduate of Mississippi State University, he did some broadcasting while in school at Weathervision in Jackson, MS. He was a student volunteer at WFO Jackson, MS, before being hired into the weather service at WFO Caribou, ME, in October, 2009, as an intern. In March, 2012, he was promoted to Forecaster at the WFO Slidell office.

Guest WeatherBrain 2 is Kenneth Graham who is currently the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the New Orleans WFO located in Slidell, LA.

And Guest WeatherBrain 3 is Matthew Moreland. Matthew is a 1996 graduate from the University of Oklahoma and a member of the VORTEX 1 project, he is now the team lead for the Impact-Based Decision Support Pilot Project at the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge office. The project began in December 2011 and has deployed for several major events including Hurricane Isaac and the Super Bowl in New Orleans, and developed a “whole office” approach to decision support. Prior to coming to New Orleans, he worked at the NWS Houston/Galveston office for almost 14 years. His forte is tropical weather and he has worked several big tropical cyclones including TS Allison, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Ike.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 100 at Laredo, TX, and -11 at Hallock, MN
  • Severe weather shaping up as the tornado season is underway
  • Moderate risk area from SPC centered over Arkansas and Southeast Missouri
  • 80′s into the Southeast US yesterday and today
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: This episode we take a question from Terry about the cap and how we know – or don’t know – if the cap will or won’t break. We take a look at cap and what it means to the development of thunderstorms and severe weather.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of April 1st.

    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 427:

    SWERV – Significant Weather Emergency Response Vehicle

    Slidell NWS Office web page

    Coast Guard story on SWERV

    Picks of the Week:

    Ken Graham – first home to WB in New Orleans

    Matthew Moreland – Experimental Response Tool

    Brian Peters – Tropical Weather Conference

    James Spann – The Druid City, story of Tuscaloosa tornado in 2011

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus another notable geek Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

    Categories: Weather