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Talk Turns from Wintry to Severe Weather

| 2:04 pm February 14, 2016

Funny how we have gone from talking about the threat of a wintry mix early Monday to the threat of severe weather for Monday afternoon and evening across the state.


A wintry mix will affect parts of Middle and eastern Tennessee overnight tonight. Places like Clarksville, Nashville and Murfreesboro may see a mix of light rain, sleet and snow, changing over to rain during the night.

A winter weather advisory covers much of northern Middle and Eastern Tennessee. Winter storm watches are in effect for the Smokies back through much of northern North Carolina. Two inches of snow should fall in Gatlinburg.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for Northeast Tennessee and northern North Carolina. Johnson City TN is expecting 3-7 inches of snow.

A mix of rain, freezing rain and snow will impact areas around Knoxville with light snow down into the Smoky Mountains.

A mix of sleet and freezing rain will affect northeastern Georgia overnight, from Roswell to Lawrenceville back to Gainesville and Athens. A freezing rain advisory is in effect.

Greenville SC, Asheville, Charlotte and Greensboro NC are in a winter storm watch for a mix of sleet and freezing rain that will continue for much of the morning on Monday.

Alabama should be free of any wintry weather problems.


Low pressure at the surface is centered near Dallas this afternoon with a snake warm front extending to the east, lifting northward across Arkansas and western Mississippi. This surface low will progress slowly eastward overnight tonight, and showers will spread into Northwest Alabama this evening ahead of that warm front.


By Monday morning, the surface low will be near Memphis. Alabama will be solidly in the warm sector by then, and showers and some thunder will increase during the early morning hours. Periods of showers and storms will continue throughout the day.

It will become breezy on Monday, with southerly winds averaging 8-16 mph. It won’t feel very humid, as dewpoints will only be able to manage to rise into the lower 50s. High temperatures will be in the upper 50s.

The airmass will destabilize sufficiently across Southwest Alabama for a threat of severe weather on Monday afternoon and evening. The SPC has a slight risk of severe weather (their basic severe weather forecast category) over that part of the state, including places like Mobile, Butler, Greenville, Evergreen and Brewton.

In the slight risk area, damaging winds and an isolated tornado or two is possible. Elsewhere, there is a low threat of damaging winds.

A marginal risk, extends as far north as Tuscaloosa, Clanton and Eufaula. Place like Hamilton, Cullman, Gadsden, Jasper, Birmingham, Anniston, Calera, Talladega, Alex City and Auburn should see just showers and storms.

Thunder will be heard across the entire area tomorrow and showers and storms increase during the morning and continue into the afternoon. A line of storms will sweep across the state from west to east during the late afternoon and evening.

The storms should reach Tuscaloosa by late afternoon, Birmingham during the early evening and Anniston by mid-evening. Overnight lowers will be in the upper 30s to lower 40s.


Warmer Before Turning Wet

| 7:25 am February 14, 2016

Most of Alabama is waking up chilly Valentine’s Day morning with temperatures across North and Central Alabama in the 20s. It looks like we can say good bye to these chilly temperatures for at least a week as the overall weather pattern moderates for the Southeast US for awhile.

A surface low is slowly taking shape to our west over Texas. Clouds will invade the Alabama sky later today and into tonight as the surface low moves into northern Mississippi by Monday afternoon. Rain will spread into Central Alabama Monday morning providing us with our first rain in 11 days. A warm sector is likely to develop in the Central Gulf States area including Southeast Louisiana, Southeast Mississippi, and Southwest Alabama where we may see the risk of severe weather including the potential for damaging wind, some hail, and an isolated tornado. Dew points along the coast should surge to near 60 degrees while the air aloft remains fairly cold. The Storm Prediction Center has this area outlined for the standard slight risk of severe storms.

Rainfall for Central Alabama is expected to be around one inch with the heaviest band of 2 to 3 inches from Northwest Mississippi to eastern Kentucky.


For anyone who may be traveling northward from Central Alabama, a band of winter weather advisories and warnings extended from Virginia eastward to Missouri and then northwestward to the Dakotas. These advisories and warnings cover today into the first half of Monday before the precipitation ends. Western and Central Kentucky into Virginia expects 3 to 5 inches of snow while west and northwest snowfall amounts are expected to be less with around 1 to 3 inches possible.

Rain will end in Central Alabama Monday night or very early Tuesday morning. The upper short wave moves quickly into New York with the surface on Tuesday, so we should dry out. While there will be a trough over the East Coast, it will not have the amplitude of the troughs we’ve seen recently, so while our temperatures will cool slightly, values will actually be very close to our seasonal averages with highs in the upper 50s and lows in the middle and upper 30s.

Thursday the upper air pattern becomes dominated by a ridge allowing us to warm into the lower 60s for highs. Another short wave trough comes into the Upper Mississippi River Valley on Friday with a surface low over the western Great Lakes. With a good southerly flow across the Southeast US with a high situated along the East Coast, we should see afternoon temperatures warm well into the 60s.

That trough moves to the Mid-Atlantic States on Saturday while a weak cold front drags into the Southeast US but begins to washout. As I noted yesterday, the GFS wants to produce a few showers for North and Central Alabama, but with precipitable water values fairly low, the chance for any showers seems pretty small. Temperatures for the end of the week and the weekend look pretty nice with lows in the 40s to mid 50s and highs in the 60s with 70s possible across South Alabama.

But don’t get used to those mild to warm temperatures. The GFS promises another shot of cold air with a fairly deep trough over the eastern half of the country around the 24th of February. Once that trough gets established, it remains in place through the end of February so it looks like the month will go out on a somewhat cold note.

I had a great time visiting with folks at the World of Wheels yesterday afternoon. The event continues today, so be sure to drop by the ABC 3340 booth if you can. James Spann will have the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning, but you can always check by here for notes about Alabama weather. Have a great day and Godspeed.




The Mother of All Cold Waves

| 9:15 am February 13, 2016

On February 13, 1899, one of the coldest airmasses ever observed in the U.S. made it all the way to the Gulf Coast. It was 7F in New Orleans and Pensacola. Mobile dropped to a numbing -1F.

The reading of -2F at Tallahassee still is the state’s coldest reading ever. Many all time state record lows were observed during the cold wave.


In Birmingham, observations were taken at the old Fountain Heights weather office. According to J.B,, records were kept in a beat up old journal. The official low on this frigid morning was -10F at the weather office. Handwritten notes on the journal for the date indicated that the temperature in outlying areas around the city was -14F.

If the reading had been taken at the current observation post at the airport, it would have surely been –14F. If readings had been kept in Pinson then, (normally coldest in Birmingham area) it is safe to bet that the reading there would have been –17F!


Other Alabama lows that cold morning: -7F in Tuscaloosa, Elba and Opelika; -5F in Greensboro; -11 in Florence; -12 in Decatur; -15 in Oneonta; -16 in Hamilton and Scottsboro and –18 in Valley Head.

Greensboro had five inches of snow on the ground.

A major blizzard was spreading a wide swath of snow from Florida to Maine. Snow flurries were reported in Fort Myers, Florida. The blizzard, dubbed the “Storm King,” dumped nearly 16 inches of snow on New York City on top of an 11 inch snowcover. Twenty inches of snow fell at Washington DC and thirty four inches fell at Cape May, NJ.

The pressure in the center of the storm was estimated at 966 Mb (28.53 inches), as strong as a major hurricane.

More cold records that fell during the coldwave included these all time records: -8 DAL, -16 AMA, -23 Tulia for the coldest ever in Texas, -13 at LIT, -22F at KC and -15 at Washington DC.


Cold Today, Warmer Sunday, Wet Monday

| 7:15 am February 13, 2016

The expected weather for Central Alabama runs the gamut from cold to wet over the next several days. Alabama is waking up to a clear sky with temperatures in the vicinity of freezing while the Tennessee River Valley counties are in the 20s. A surface high was centered Minnesota and Iowa while aloft we have yet another fairly deep trough over the eastern US with ridging along the Rockies. This pattern was allowing bitterly cold air to invade the northern portions of the US from the Dakotas to New England with lots of single digit temperature readings. The watch/warning map included a band of winter weather advisories from the Dakotas southeastward to Central Illinois. Wind chill advisories and warnings covered much of the Great Lakes area, all of New England, and much of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

The upper air pattern will change fairly quickly as the upper trough moves quickly out into the Atlantic and the upper flow flattens over the Southeast US. This will allow us to warm up nicely for Sunday as temperatures climb nicely into the 50s after a very brisk morning with lows well down in the 20s. Clouds will return Sunday with the sky expected to become cloudy by late afternoon and evening. Then the wet weather arrives.

A fast moving upper trough will move from the Missouri/Kansas border on Monday into the Atlantic by Tuesday. This will bring a weak surface low from northern Louisiana to the Mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday. This opens the way for some thunderstorms on Day 3, Monday, mainly along the Central Gulf Coast from Southeast Louisiana to the western Florida Peninsula. SPC has this area outlooked with a marginal risk for severe storms. Given that the main dynamics are further north and the warm sector won’t have much time to develop, the threat for severe weather should be low, but not zero. Temperatures will recover nicely despite the clouds and rain with highs Monday in the middle to upper 50s.


A stronger trough come into the western Great Lakes area on Tuesday with a strong surface low over Illinois. This sets up yet another snow storm for the Northeast US for Wednesday, but with moisture very limited, the from coming through the Southeast should be dry. Tuesday should be a fairly warm day for Central Alabama with highs around the 60-degree mark. That dry front is going to knock temperatures back again for Wednesday but only a little with highs in the middle 50s.

Ridging aloft becomes the main story for our weather pattern for Thursday and Friday. Another trough that remains well to our north on Friday and Saturday will bring another cold front into the area on Saturday. At least for now, it looks like only small chances for some showers on Saturday with highs in the lower 60s.

Looking out into voodoo country, a strong trough dives into the eastern US on Tuesday and Wednesday, dropping out temperatures back again. Ridging will again moderate our temperatures before another trough dives through the Great Lakes toward the Mid-Atlantic States by the 28th of February.

Thanks for tuning into the Alabama Weather Xtreme Video. I plan to have the next edition posted here by 8 am or so on Sunday. I’m looking forward to some meet-and-greet time today as ABC 3340 participates in the World of Wheels at the BJCC. If you plan to be there, be sure to look up our booth. Enjoy your day and stay warm. Godspeed.




OBX Snow!

| 6:43 pm February 12, 2016


Snow affected the northern portions of the Outer Banks on Friday, making the tan colored sands of the North Carolina coast look more like the dazzlingly sugar white sands of Northwest Florida and Alabama.

Some snowfall amounts from eastern North Carolina included:

…3 inches at Nags Head
…3.5 inches at Kill Devil Hills
…1 inch at Duck

Winter storm warnings were in effect for the Outer Banks, something you don’t see every day!

The precipitation started out as light snow at Hatteras, but it quickly changed over to rain with temperatures in the middle 30s.

Historically, Cape Hatteras has seen several big snows, including a couple of 7 inch storms and their all time record, 11 inches, which occurred on December 30th in 1917.