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Rather Quiet Weather For Alabama

| 3:27 pm January 26, 2015

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.

THE BLIZZARD IS THE STORY: As expected, the sky has cleared over most of Alabama this afternoon, with the clouds hanging tough over the far eastern part of the state. Temperatures are mostly in the 40s. Up north, snow is increasing in intensity in New York City this afternoon… this shot is from Central Park at mid-afternoon (photo from @my_cen_parkNYC)

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Blizzard warnings remain in effect from the New Jersey shore to the coast of Maine, including New York City, Hartford, Providence, and Boston. Snow amounts around two feet are likely with winds to 50 mph at times. Airports are closing, and travel will be nearly impossible across that region tonight and tomorrow.

HERE AT HOME: A few cloudy periods are possible tomorrow, and I can’t totally rule out a little morning drizzle in spots over East Alabama, but the day will be dry with a high in the low 50s. Wednesday should be bright and sunny with a high in the mid 50s.

On Thursday, a clipper will pass well north of the state, but it could drag some clouds down into North Alabama. We will mention a small risk of a shower over the northeast counties of the state, but most communities stay dry with a high in the upper 50s Thursday afternoon.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday and Saturday will be dry with seasonal temperatures; highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. Clouds begin to increase Saturday afternoon, and Sunday still looks wet with periods of rain as a significant upper trough passes through. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch look likely Sunday; no risk of severe weather, and conditions are way too warm for any winter weather mischief.

Colder and drier air returns early next week; we won’t get out of the 40s Monday with a chilly north wind.

LONG TERM: While temperatures will be below average early next week, no sign of bitterly cold air for now through mid-February.

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See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and 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… it will begin at an early time so we can provide coverage of the Northeast U.S. blizzard. Show time is 8:00 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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I had a great time today visiting with the kids in the Sumter County HeadStart program; we were together at the Livingston Community Center… be watching 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….

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Birmingham’s Coldest Period

| 9:30 am January 26, 2015

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On the morning of January 26, 1940, Alabama and the Deep South were in the deep freeze. And had been for over a week. Headlines on the Birmingham Age-Herald were dominated by the cold and additional snow that had fallen the day before.

But there were also disturbing news from Europe, where the Nazis were threatening to attack Romania for their oil. And the British were planning defense against Nazi air raids. Closer to home, a serious coal shortage was leading to negotiations between the governor and miners for increased production through suspension of work rules.

The forecast for the 26th was for partly cloudy and not as cold conditions. But Friday the 26th would be just as cold as the day before, when the high was 20F. And lows by Saturday morning the 27th would again be 1F.

At 7 a.m., Birmingham Weather Bureau Chief E.C. Horton measured the temperature on the thermometer his observation shelter at 1.2F. There was still 7 inches of snow on the ground. The airport reading, the official location now, was –5F, but the max/min thermometer showed a minimum reading of -6F.

Across North Alabama, temperatures were below zero, including -6F in Florence and -2F in Huntsville.

Horton saw no relief in sight, and called for lows to drop to below zero over northern sections the coming night, with overnight lows foro the coming night between 6F and 22F.

The cold had been unprecedented in its duration. It had arrived on the night of January 18th as temperatures plummeted from 34F that afternoon to 2F the following morning. The ercury would not go above freezing until the afternoon of the 21st, and then only to a high of 37F.

The next day would see a high of 42F, but snow would fall much of the night of the 22nd and day of the 23rd, until .5 inches had fallen and a total of 10 inches was on the ground. The thermometer would not recover for the next week. Between the 23rd and 28th, the warmest it would get in Birmingham was 34F.

By the 26th, Skaters were actually able to skate on the frozen surface of the Black Warrior River west of Birmingham, where ice was siz inches thick near the banks. Nineteen inches of snow was on the ground at Berry in Fayette County, a record that still stands. An unheard of event!

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Cool Alabama Day; Some Afternoon Sun

| 6:37 am January 26, 2015

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 MORNING: Clouds are hanging over Alabama early this morning followed showers, and even a few thunderstorms produced by an intense “Alberta Clipper” system late yesterday and last night. Despite a cool, stable airmass and the lack of low level moisture, the very dynamic system was able to bring those showers and storms. Basically like squeezing blood out of a turnip.

NORTHEAST U.S. BLIZZARD: That dynamic weather system will set up a blizzard from the coast of New Jersey to the coast of Maine tonight and tomorrow; over two feet of snow will fall in spots, and winds near the coast will gust to over 50 mph. New York City and Boston are under blizzard warnings, and air traffic across much of the nation will be greatly impacted.

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OUR MONDAY: Clouds will linger across Alabama this morning, but the sun should begin to break through this afternoon for most places. We won’t get past the mid 40s today. Tomorrow will be another cool day with intervals of sunshine and a high in the low 50s. Then, Wednesday promises to be a nice day, with sunshine in full supply and a high in the mid 50s.

ANOTHER CLIPPER: This one will be weaker, but might bring a brief shower to Northeast Alabama late Thursday or Thursday night; the rest of the state will stay dry with a high in the mid 50s Thursday afternoon, along with a mix of sun and clouds. Friday will be dry with a high in the mid 50s with ample sunshine.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday should remain dry, but clouds will begin to increase with a high in the mid 50s. Rain returns Sunday with a surface low moving right over Alabama; looks like rain will be a good possibility much of the day, with potential for 1/2 to one inch for most of the state.

VOODOO LAND: Getting conflicting signals; the latest GFS suggests no real bitterly cold air for Alabama for the first 10 days of February… that same model was flashing different signs last week. The CPC outlook suggests below average temperatures for our state February 2-8, but the coldest air will most likely be shunted northeast of Alabama. And, no sign of any winter precipitation for now.

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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 tonight, with a special 30 minute pre-show beginning at 8:00 CT that will focus on the Northeast U.S. blizzard. 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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Twitter
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I have a program today for the kids in the HeadStart program in Sumter County at Livingston; be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

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Storms Weakening, Still Packing a Punch

| 12:29 am January 26, 2015

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Our line of strong storms is weakening now. It extends from Pell City to Harpersville to Columbiana.

Winds gusted to 31 mph at the Shelby County Airport in Calera.

More severe thunderstorm warnings will not be issued unless the storms re-intensify.

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Winds Gust to 58 mph at BHM

| 6:30 pm January 25, 2015

Winds just gusted to 58 mph at the Birmingham International Airport.

0023Z KBHM 260023Z 26017G50KT 4SM +TSRA SQ FEW038 FEW050 OVC060CB 10/06 A2982

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The strongest parts of the storms are over southern Jefferson County, approaching the Inverness area.

Other strong cells are approaching Helena in Shelby County and Montevallo in Shelby County.

Be alert for damaging winds, as well as brief torrential rains and dangerous lightning. There could even be some small hail.

An interesting case example of how you can have instability even with low surface temperatures and dew points if the temperatures aloft are cold enough.

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Parts of Shelby, Bibb, Hale and St. Clair Counties

| 5:58 pm January 25, 2015

Aliant Bank is a proud sponsor of AlabamaWX.com!

The strong line of storms advancing across Central Alabama tonight is producing reports of wind damage, including downed trees and power lines.

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Be in a safe place as these strong storms approach your area.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
BIBB COUNTY IN ALABAMA…
NORTHEASTERN HALE COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…
SOUTHERN ST. CLAIR COUNTY IN ALABAMA…
SHELBY COUNTY IN ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 700 PM CST

* AT 555 PM CST…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A LINE OF
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS
OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM
GARDENDALE TO MOUNDVILLE…AND MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
HELENA…BRENT…CENTREVILLE…PELHAM…ODENVILLE…MOODY…
ALABASTER AND CHELSEA.

THIS INCLUDES…
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 228 THROUGH 247…
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 144 THROUGH 158…
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBER 148…

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Jefferson/Tuscaloosa Counties

| 5:49 pm January 25, 2015

Aliant Bank is a proud sponsor of AlabamaWX.com!

A line of strong thunderstorms moving across Central Alabama is producing strong wind gusts that have caused damage. There are reports of trees down and power outages along the line.

Trees have been reported down in Brookwood and Duncanville.

Winds gusted to 59 mph at the Tuscaloosa Airport.

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The storms are tapping strong winds aloft and a very cold airmass to produce the strong winds.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
JEFFERSON COUNTY IN ALABAMA…
EASTERN TUSCALOOSA COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…

* UNTIL 630 PM CST

* AT 548 PM CST…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A LINE OF
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS
OF 60 MPH. THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 6
MILES NORTHWEST OF SYLVAN SPRINGS TO MCFARLAND MALL…AND MOVING
EAST AT 45 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
HUEYTOWN…FAIRFIELD…FULTONDALE…GARDENDALE…BESSEMER…
BIRMINGHAM…HOMEWOOD AND VESTAVIA HILLS.

THIS INCLUDES…
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 250 THROUGH 272…
INTERSTATE 459 EXIT NUMBERS 1 THROUGH 33…
US 78 EXIT NUMBERS 81 THROUGH 91…
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 62 THROUGH 140…
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBERS 130 THROUGH 143…

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1950’s January Thaw

| 1:00 pm January 25, 2015

The January thaw is a weather singularity. A singularity is an event that occurs more often than one would expect with chance.

The January thaw is a period of above normal warmth that frequently occurs in mid-Winter in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada. It is similar to Indian summer, another singularity which occurs in autumn. The January thaw usually occurs around the third week in January.

It was more like a January tropical heat wave than a thaw during this week in 1950. Much of the eastern United States was experiencing temperatures 25-30 degrees above normal by my birthday, January 25th. Of course, I hadn’t been born then. Cotton was blooming in South Carolina, some five months ahead of schedule. People worried that Mother Nature was out of control.

In actuality, a strong high pressure system off the Atlantic Coast was responsible for the 1950 January thaw. A very high amplitude pattern featured a big upper level ridge over the East and a very deep trough over the western U.S. The strong surface high was producing a strong southerly flow that bathed much of the eastern United States in warmth. High temperatures on the 25th included 87F in Del Rio, Texas; 83F in Little Rock; 78F in Nashville; 74F in Columbus, Ohio; 78F in Washington, D.C. and 80F in Augusta, Georgia. It was 78F in Birmingham and 80F in Montgomery. Birmingham recorded record highs on the 24th (78F), 25th (78F), and the 26th (76F).

Several January high temperature records were set, including Michigan’s with 72F at Ann Arbor and Chicago with 67F.

Meanwhile, bitter cold and snow was occurring over the Northern Plains. Morning lows on t he 25th included -34F at Williston, North Dakota and -32F in Glasgow, Montana.

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