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: 7 hours 13 min ago

Quite Afternoon So Far

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:48

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.

NOT MANY SHOWERS: Persistent clouds over Alabama are keeping temperatures cool, and the air stable across North and Central Alabama this afternoon. Most places are still in the 70s at mid-afternoon… amazingly comfortable for June.

A few showers could pop up over the next few hours, but it sure looks like most places will be dry.

TOMORROW: An axis of deeper moisture lingers over Alabama, and with a weak wave aloft moving into the state, we will continue to mention a chance of showers and thunderstorms, especially during the afternoon and evening hours… the high should be in the mid 80s.

WEDNESDAY: An upper high noses into the state, and the day looks mostly dry with only a slight risk of an afternoon shower. The high Wednesday afternoon will be in the upper 80s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: A surface front will approach from the north, and we expect a decent coverage of showers and thunderstorms both days as the upper high weakens. The best chance of storms Thursday will most likely be north of Birmingham, while all of North/Central Alabama will have a decent chance of one or two passing showers or storms Friday.

Some of the storms over North Alabama Thursday afternoon could be pretty strong with potential for gusty winds and some hail. The high Thursday and Friday will be in the 87 to 90 degree range.

OUR WEEKEND: The surface front will slowly wash out over North Alabama, and it looks like we can project some standard early June weather with partly sunny days and the risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. Similar weather conditions will continue into early next week.

AT THE BEACH: A few showers and storms are likely tomorrow from Panama City over to Gulf Shores, but they will thin out greatly Wednesday, and the weather Thursday through the weekend looks great with ample sunshine each day and only isolated showers or storms. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the 80s, and sea water temperatures are mostly in the upper 70s.

TROPICS: A mass of unsettled weather is over the Gulf of Mexico, but cooler ocean water and unfavorable winds aloft there should be mean little risk of development over the next several days.

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

Categories: Weather

Newest Member Of The Family

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 09:43

We welcome Meaghan Thomas to the ABC 33/40 Weather Team…

Ashley Brand left the station at the end of April, and we will miss her. Meaghan will step in as weekend meteorologist. She interned at ABC 33/40 a few years ago.

Meaghan was born in Atlanta and grew up in the suburb of Johns Creek. Her passion for broadcasting and meteorology became apparent in middle school and from that she has never deviated.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast News and Geography from the University of Alabama. As an undergraduate Meaghan became a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. She also became a certified storm spotter. Meaghan experienced, first hand, the devastating tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011. This experience further reinforced her desire to learn more about what causes such atmospheric events.

Meaghan is completing her Master’s in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. While attending MSU, she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Communications. She also accompanied a group of storm chasers into the Great Plains where she personally experienced the EF-3 El-Reno, Oklahoma tornado, EF-4 Bennington, Kansas tornado, and 5.25 inch hail. Her pictures of the phenomenon were featured on CNN, Good Morning America and ABC Nightly News.

That training paid off when Meaghan started work as a meteorologist at WCBI, the CBS affiliate, in Columbus, MS. She gained valuable experience tracking severe weather through eastern Mississippi and into western Alabama. Her next goal is to earn the prestigious CBM and NWA seal of approval.

Meaghan’s personal time is spent enjoying family, good food, travel, exercise, and cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide. You can follow her on Twitter here….

Categories: Weather

Afternoon Storms Remain Possible

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 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.

METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER IS HERE: It is the time of the year when we can say “hot and humid with the chance of an afternoon thunderstorm in spots” and be correct 99 percent of the time through Labor Day. See this post I wrote a few years ago about summer weather forecasting in Alabama.

TODAY/TOMORROW: A “wedge” of drier air has slipped into Northeast Alabama… so those of you in counties like Jackson and DeKalb won’t have much rain around. But, for the rest of the state, look for a mix of sun and clouds today and tomorrow, and again we will be dodging “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. The chance of any one spot getting wet today and tomorrow is about fifty/fifty, and highs will be in the low to mid 80s. The average high for June 2 is 85 degrees (for Birmingham).

WEDNESDAY: An upper high west of the state will ease in here, and the warmer air aloft should mean a more stable atmosphere, and accordingly showers should thin out greatly. In fact, the GFS and the NAM suggest the chance of any one community seeing rain Wednesday afternoon is only in the 10 percent range. Looks like the driest day of the week.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: A weak surface front will approach from the north as the upper high weakens a bit, and we will mention the risk of a few showers and storms both days. On Thursday, showers and storms should be a little more active over the northern third of the state, with the activity on Friday over much of North and Central Alabama. It won’t rain all day, and it won’t rain everywhere, but a passing shower or storm is a pretty good possibility both days, especially during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will be in the upper 80s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The front will wash out before bringing any drier air into Alabama, so for now we expect pretty routine early summer weather. Partly sunny days, and the risk of a few scattered showers and storms both afternoons. Highs between 86 and 90.

AT THE BEACH: A few showers and storms will fire up later today on the coast from Panama City to Gulf Shores, but the weather for the rest of the week and the upcoming weekend looks great, with about 8 to 10 hours of sunshine each day with only isolated showers or thunderstorms. Highs will be in the 80s on the immediate coast, and the sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 77 degrees.

TROPICS: Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin started yesterday… NHC is looking at disturbed weather over the southwest Gulf of Mexico; no development is expected anytime soon, and SSTs (sea surface temperatures) in the Gulf remain fairly cool, especially over the northern Gulf.

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

Categories: Weather

Radar Calming Down

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 20:46

If you had a chance to see the radar a couple of hours ago, it looked a little like the measles with lots of small showers and few large clusters of showers here and there. But just after 8:30 pm, showers are dying down and the radar looks clearer with just a couple of showers continuing in Central Alabama. Temperatures across Central Alabama were mainly in the middle 70s expected to bottom out in the upper 60s.

Such is not the case in the Central Plains states where Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Texas and Oklahoma were experiencing a number of thunderstorms which had prompted warnings in those locations. Warnings in effect at 8:40 pm were primarily severe thunderstorm warnings and there had been 72 damaging wind reports along with 29 large hail reports and 11 tornado reports according to the Storm Prediction Center. One of the hail reports was of 2.5 inch hail 11 miles north of Alliance, NE, in Box Butte County. Much of the hail reported today was around one inch.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Plentiful Showers and Storms

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 16:04

As expected, showers and thunderstorms have developed across Alabama, with the greatest concentration over the eastern half of the state.

Here is the radar from just before 4 p.m.:

None of the storms are severe at this time, but they do contain lightning, heavy rain and gusty winds.

The activity is pushing to the northwest.

Categories: Weather

Numerous Showers and Storms This Afternoon

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 11:20

Meteorological summer arrived on this June 1st across Central Alabama. While astronomical summer doesn’t start until June 21st, we Weather Humans, as J.B. says, could June 1st as the beginning of our summer. The months of June, July and August are the warmest months based on the temperature cycle, hence we call them meteorological summer. So, welcome to summer!

Weatherwise, we find a significant upper high building over eastern Kentucky on this first Sunday in June. This feature will increasingly play a role in Alabama’s weather over the coming days, leading to some warm conditions. There is a deepening upper level trough over the Rockies an a surface low near Denver.

That means severe weather ahead for the Plains and indeed, the SPC has the area from the Texas Panhandle northward through the Plains states all the way into southwestern Minnesota outlooked for severe weather today. There could be some more significant severe weather, especially Tuesday over the Central Plains.

Nothing like that here though. The deep trough we experienced has moved off the East, abandoning its upper level low we have ben tracking for well over a week. And we’re not going to be through with it anytime soon. It is actually having the last laugh, as it taps Gulf moisture and hurls it northward into the Deep South from its position near Houston.

Our moisture levels are pretty high, about 75% of theoretical capacity for this time of year, between one and two significant deviations above the mean, statistically. Moisture levels are forecast to rise through the afternoon thanks to the upper low. At the surface, strong high pressure is near Washington, D.C. and this high is wedging down into the Carolinas and Georgia. Its front man is a back door cold front that has run out of steam along the Alabama/Georgia border.

FOR YOUR SUNDAY: Moisture pooling ahead of the front, surface heating and the spark of the front itself will trigger fairly numerous showers and storms over the state this afternoon. Clouds have been pretty thick through the morning hours and this will hold temperatures back a bit. Highs this afternoon should generally be in the lower 80s. That will be sufficient to fire convection and rain chances will be in the 60-70% range this afternoon. Average rainfall amounts will be around a third of an inch, but of course, some places will get a lot more.

Last evening there was some impressive flooding near Oxford High School in Calhoun County. 1.5 to 2 inches of rain fell in a short time, while at the Anniston Airport nearby, only 0.34 inches of rain was measured.

RADAR CHECK: At 11:15, showers shower intensifying along the Alabama/Georgia border from southern Cleburne County into Randolph County, with others building near Columbus GA. These showers will grow and some of them will become storms as they move northwestward into the state of Alabama. They will be joined by others as well and showers and storms will be plentiful through the rest of the afternoon. They won’t be severe, but the heavier ones will potentially cause flooding in local spots and will also produce heavy rain.

Categories: Weather

Rip Current Awareness

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 11:10

We just finished Hurricane Awareness Week, and now attention is being given to rip currents. The strong onshore flow of air we’ve seen during the last few days produces conditions favorable for rip currents. Staying calm is one of the keys to breaking the rip. Here is some information on what rip currents are.

-Brian-

NOUS44 KBMX 010910 PNSBMX ALZ011>015-017>050-020500- PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL 410 AM CDT SUN JUN 1 2014 ...THIS IS RIP CURRENT AWARENESS WEEK... RIP CURRENTS, SOMETIMES ERRONEOUSLY REFERRED TO AS RIP TIDES OR UNDERTOWS, OCCUR NATURALLY AND AFFECT MOST OF THE BEACHES ALONG THE GULF COAST. THESE CURRENTS CAN POSE A BIG THREAT TO UNSUSPECTING BEACH GOERS. RIP CURRENTS CAN BE REFERRED TO AS THE FAIR WEATHER KILLER BECAUSE THEY OFTEN OCCUR WHEN THE WEATHER IS NICE. A RIP CURRENT IS A STRONG, NARROW CHANNEL OF WATER TRAVELING OFFSHORE. THESE RIP CURRENTS CAN PULL EVEN THE STRONGEST SWIMMER INTO DEEPER WATER BEYOND THE SAND BAR. MOST DEATHS OCCUR WHEN PEOPLE CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT SWIM SHOREWARD DIRECTLY AGAINST THE CURRENT, BECOME TOTALLY EXHAUSTED AND DROWN. MOST VICTIMS ARE TOURISTS OR PEOPLE UNFAMILIAR WITH LOCAL WATERS. SOMETIMES, WOULD BE RESCUERS ALSO DROWN. BY UNDERSTANDING HOW A RIP CURRENT WORKS, PEOPLE CAN ESCAPE THIS FATE. RIP CURRENTS ARE NORMALLY ONLY ABOUT 10 TO 30 YARDS WIDE, AND THE BEST ESCAPE IS TO WADE OR SWIM SIDEWAYS ACROSS THE CURRENT, PARALLEL TO THE BEACH. THE RIP CURRENT WEAKENS RAPIDLY ONLY A RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCE SEAWARD OF THE SAND BAR. THUS ANOTHER MEANS OF ESCAPE FOR A STRONGER SWIMMER IS TO FLOAT WITH THE CURRENT OUT BEYOND THE BREAKERS, THEN SWIM SHOREWARD AT AN ANGLE AWAY FROM THE CURRENT. HERE ARE SOME TIPS HOW TO AVOID AND SURVIVE RIP CURRENTS. NEVER SWIM ALONE. BE CAUTIOUS AT ALL TIMES, ESPECIALLY WHEN SWIMMING AT UNGUARDED BEACHES. IF IN DOUBT, DON'T GO OUT! WHENEVER POSSIBLE, SWIM AT A LIFEGUARD PROTECTED BEACH. IF CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT, REMAIN CALM TO CONSERVE ENERGY AND THINK CLEARLY. DON'T FIGHT THE CURRENT, SWIM OUT OF THE CURRENT PARALLEL TO THE BEACH. DO NOT WADE IN THE OCEAN ABOVE YOUR KNEES IF YOU ARE A WEAK SWIMMER. EVEN STRONG SWIMMERS MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THE OCEAN IS NOT A SWIMMING POOL AND THERE ARE MANY HAZARDS LURKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNPREPARED. PASS ALONG RIP CURRENT SAFETY ADVICE TO PEOPLE UNFAMILIAR WITH OCEAN DANGERS. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.RIPCURRENTS.NOAA.GOV $$ 08/MK
Categories: Weather

Welcome to June!

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 09:53


Photograph by Kathy Bell, owner of kbella photography.

The sixth month of the year in Birmingham features warm temperatures, increasing humidity and generally light precipitation. It is tied with April for the 4th driest month, averaging 4.38 inches of rain. Only August, September and October are drier. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms become a frequent occurrence, generally happening on 8.9 days during the month. In fact, much of the rain that falls in the month is associated with thunderstorms.

On average, measurable rain falls on 11.0 days during the month. 12.09 inches of rain fell in June 1900, which stands as the all-time record for the month. At the airport, where records have been kept for 69 years, the wettest month was June 1999, when 9.04 inches fell. Early season Gulf tropical cyclones sometimes produce heavy rounds of precipitation.

As you would expect, cloudy periods are rare. June is the second sunniest month, behind May, averaging 65% of possible sunshine. The average PM relative humidity is on the rise, at 73%, rising from the 64% observed in March. The average dewpoint reaches 67.4F, which exceeds my definition of muggy (65F). This is up from the 60.4F in May.

On June 1, the average high and low is 85/64. By June 30th, it will be 90/70. The coolest it has ever been in June is 42F on June 1, 1966. It has been as warm as 106F on June 29, 1931.

Climatological averages are maintained in 30 year blocks. This information has been updated to include the 1981-2010 records from the National Climatic Data Center.

Categories: Weather

Showers Remain a Good Possibility

Sun, 06/01/2014 - 07:24

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.

Not much change being seen to the overall weather pattern for Central Alabama, so I expect to see scattered to numerous showers once again today. The upper low that has plagued the Lower Mississippi River Valley for the last several days continues to move slowly away from the area, but there should be just enough influence to keep showers fairly numerous for Central Alabama. That upper weakness continues to drift southward Monday, so showers will remain fairly numerous.

The mix of sun and clouds will make the temperature forecast a bit of a challenge. Most locations should see highs in the middle 80s, but those that get some longer periods of sun could see highs in the upper 80s.

Radar showed a few showers in Central Alabama already this morning with shower motion northwestward thanks to the influence of the upper low over the Northwest Gulf of Mexico.

The upper ridge builds into the Southeast from the west during the week ahead. By Tuesday we should see a reduction in shower coverage and perhaps by Wednesday and Thursday we will become nearly shower free due to the influence of the upper ridge. Since the atmosphere will remain fairly moist, I can’t see removing all potential for showers though they should become much more isolated.

Strong troughs moving through the westerlies will help to keep the ridge suppressed somewhat into the latter part of the week and into next weekend. This could signal the approach of a cold front from the north Thursday and Friday, however, the front is likely to lose any strong push further southward washing out over the weekend.

The GFS still holds onto the idea of some tropical mischief Sunday and Monday as we verge into voodoo country. The ECMWF still does not latch onto any kind of identifiable system, and today’s GFS run is not nearly as bullish on the idea as it was yesterday. Interesting to note, however, that the GFS does project a fairly strong trough over the eastern US around the 10th and 11th of June. If this pattern does verify, it would signal a few days of cooler weather for us. But the ridge shows itself as we get to the end of the period around the 16th.

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 visiting the blog. James Spann will be back with the next Weather Xtreme Video Monday morning. Be sure to check back often for additional updates on the weather across Central Alabama. Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Early Evening Radar Check

Sat, 05/31/2014 - 16:42

Another afternoon with widely scattered showers and storms across Alabama and the Southeast. With such a very warm and moist air mass in place across the region, after a little bit of heating each day, showers and storms will pop-up almost anywhere. No storms in Alabama are severe, but where they are occurring there are producing heavy rainfall and frequent lightning.

For Central Alabama, the coverage is not as widespread as we saw yesterday, and not as widespread as other areas of the state. Just a few showers through Central Alabama, with a few more over towards Meridian and Demopolis. Today’s activity is moving from the southeast towards the northwest.

For the next few hours, expect convection to persist and continue to develop, but the majority of it should be begin to wind down once the sun sets this evening and the heat of the day is lost.

Categories: Weather