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Central Alabama 7 Day Forecast

Christmas in Fairhope

| 5:23 pm December 20, 2014

Fairhope, a charming community on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, comes alive with color and decorations during the Christmas season.

Enjoy this video montage shot earlier this week, showing what Fairhope looks like at Christmas…


Severe Weather Potential Tuesday

| 2:27 pm December 20, 2014

This is a preliminary look at the severe weather potential across Alabama Tuesday, December 23. With so many people traveling that day, we all need to pay attention to the situation, although this early in the game there are more questions than answers.

LARGE SCALE SETUP: A vigorous, 500 mb upper trough will form west of Alabama early in the week, providing excellent support for showers and thunderstorms Tuesday.


A low level jet (about 5,000 feet off the ground) will develop, in the 40-50 knot range, by Tuesday afternoon.


So, the dynamic setup is impressive, but as always in the cold season, the big question is the instability, or the ability of air parcels to freely rise and become buoyant. A narrow tongue of higher instability will form ahead of a rapidly deepening surface low across Alabama Tuesday evening…


It doesn’t take much CAPE (convective available potential energy) for severe weather issues in December, and even with CAPE values of 500 j/kg we will need to watch the situation closely. The 12Z GFS model is printing a high of 71 degrees for Birmingham Tuesday, with potential for dewpoints to rise into the 60 degree range.

TIMING: The highest risk for severe weather across Alabama will come, most likely, during the afternoon and evening hours Tuesday, when the air is most unstable. I would say now the prime window is from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight. But, understand this could easily change for an event three days away.

PLACEMENT: The SPC Day Four convective outlook suggests the primary risk of severe weather will come over Southwest Alabama…


However, based on the forecast parameters, I would say most of the state will have some risk of severe storms, especially along and south of U.S. 278 (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden). I expect the SPC outlook to expand northward and eastward in future updates.

MODES OF SEVERE WEATHER: This is what has happened with similar surface and upper air conditions, using the top 15 analogs (from CIPS analog guidance)…

SVRgfs212F096 (1)

You can clearly see that all modes of severe weather will be possible with a setup like this, including a few tornadoes. Remember, this graphic is showing total severe weather output from 15 events, so it won’t be this active Tuesday… just a way of looking at what has happened in the past with a similar setup.

IMPORTANT: While the overall synoptic scale looks favorable for some severe weather Tuesday, we really won’t see how the mesoscale features will play out until tomorrow night and Monday. So, determining the overall threat level this far out is very difficult to do. Don’t let the social media kings of hype bother you, this doesn’t look like some “historic” event with “millions in the path”… just a situation that we have fairly often this time of the year. This is still the core of the late fall/early winter severe weather season in Alabama. Not unusual at all.

We will post frequent updates here as we get closer to the event.

CHRISTMAS EVE: The social media hype guys will also probably push a chance of snow on Wednesday under a very cold upper trough moving over the state.

gfs_ptype_slp_ky_19 (1)

Could there be a few a few flurries over extreme North Alabama Wednesday? Yes, but the deeper moisture will be long gone, and temperatures will be well above freezing. The bigger issues will be north of here with a very deep surface low just north of the Great Lakes…


This will bring lots of wind and snow to the Great Lakes region Wednesday, and lots of rain for the eastern seaboard.

CHRISTMAS DAY: Looks like beautiful day for Alabama, with a sunny sky and a high in the 50s.

Again, stay tuned to the blog and we will keep you advised. If you are traveling, stay safe!


Clearing Slowly Advancing

| 9:56 am December 20, 2014

Your day is either very bright and sunny or cloudy and dreary depending on exactly where you are. See the satellite image below. Places like Hamilton and Double Springs are in the sun while places like Anniston, Talladega, and Lineville will probably not see much sun until later in the day.


Visible Satellite on Dec. 20, 2014,at 9:30 am.

Visible Satellite on Dec. 20, 2014,at 9:30 am.


Rain Out of Here

| 7:11 am December 20, 2014

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.

Central Alabama enjoyed a nice soaking rain overnight, and the rain has moved east of the area this morning. Clouds will hang in there for much of the day, but we should see some peeks at the sun during the late morning and afternoon hours. It will be about typical for this time of year with highs in the middle 50s.

Don’t get used to the dry weather because it looks like rain chances return Sunday night and stick with us until Christmas Eve. A short wave zips by on Sunday night and early Monday setting up a wedge situation that will likely bring the best rain chances to eastern sections of Central Alabama. That short wave moves quickly by as a deep trough begins to get carved out over the Central US. This will keep us unsettled with rain chances into Wednesday.

Tuesday and Wednesday, a deep trough is carved out over the Central US that is going to bring quite a chill down for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Look for rain chances Tuesday and Wednesday with the rain coming to an end late in the day Christmas Eve. But temperatures on Christmas Eve are not likely to get out of the 40s for Central Alabama.

The trough moves by us on Christmas Eve, but the upper air pattern will retain the long wave trough position along the Mississippi River keeping us cool into next weekend. Christmas Day should be dry so the kids can get outside to play with whatever Santa Claus brought with highs back into the 50s. We should stay dry until Saturday with temperatures pretty close to seasonal values.

Looking out into week 2, also known as voodoo country, the pattern maintains a cool look with a long wave trough situated over the eastern half of the country. Looks like some wet weather as we head into 2015.

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)

I plan to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted here by 8 am or so on Sunday. Enjoy the day and be sure to perform at least one act of kindness today. Godspeed.



Rainy Night for Central Alabama

| 8:57 pm December 19, 2014

The latest radar mosaic showed that rain was occurring over almost all of Central Alabama at 8:45 pm and that rain extended southwestward all the way to the Louisiana coast. This means the rain is not going to be ending any time soon.

The latest upper air sound from the Shelby County Airport was interesting. It is actually warmer at about 870 millibars, roughly 4,200 feet, than it was at the surface by a couple of degrees Centigrade. Imagine what would be happening if the freezing level which was at about 750 millibars were much lower!

Most of Central Alabama had received between a tenth of an inch and a quarter of an inch. I’ve recorded 12 hundredths of an inch so far, but the storm total precipitation estimates from the Doppler radar network showed an area lying northeast to southwest just northwest of Demopolis where as much as 1 to 1.5 inches of rain may have fallen already. Quantitative precipitation forecasts, or QPF, project rainfall amounts between about a half inch in the northwest counties like Marion County to as much as 1 inch or a little more to the southeast in Montgomery County.

The latest GFS MOS guidance suggests that the rain should be ending across Central Alabama around sunrise Saturday morning, perhaps lingering across the area east and southeast of Birmingham until 10 am or so.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest Weather Xtreme Video which should be posted here by 8 am.



Warnings Count

| 4:11 pm December 19, 2014

Here’s something a little different. Daryl Herzmann, with the Iowa Mesonet, has created a page where you can plot the total number of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings for a particular WFO (Weather Forecast Office), or for all WFOs in the continental US. I think we all know that the amount of severe weather this year is down, way down – and I count that as a blessing. So how does the warning count look? Well take a gander at the graph below which shows that the warning count, both tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, was down similar to 2013.

This is indicative of two things. First, and the most important, WFO Birmingham has made a very serious effort to reduce the false alarms (FAR or False Alarm Ratio) by undertaking more local studies, putting more meteorological reasoning into warning decisions, and not being too quick to issue a warning for storms. It’s important that everyone understand that by doing this, the meteorologists at the NWS risk missing a few events, but most likely the ones they might miss, whether severe thunderstorm or tornado, will probably be on the low end of intensity. But I believe that is a risk that should be taken in order to reduce the number of warnings that are issued where no significant severe weather occurs. And I applaud this genuine effort to keep people safe but not cry wolf too much.

Second, it also shows that the occurrences of severe weather has been down. I, for one, am thankful for that.


Warning Count for WFO Birmingham, AL

Warning Count for WFO Birmingham, AL


Periods Of Rain Tonight

| 3:40 pm December 19, 2014

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.

WET FRIDAY NIGHT: Rain is falling over much of West Alabama this afternoon, and that rain mass will overspread most of North and Central Alabama tonight. The air is cool and stable, so no severe weather threat, and most likely there will be no thunder. Rain amounts of around 1/2 inch are likely, and the rain will end pretty early tomorrow. Most communities will be rain-free by 8:00 a.m.

REST OF THE WEEKEND: We could see a little sunshine tomorrow afternoon as drier air works into the state; we expect a high in the mid 50s. Then, the daytime hours Sunday will be rain-free with a high in the low 60s. Some sun is possible Sunday.

A low pressure wave will move northeast out of the Gulf of Mexico as the weekend ends, and has potential to bring a little light rain to the state late Sunday night and Monday morning. The highest chance of rain will be east of I-65, and amounts should be generally 1/4 inch or less.

NEXT WEEK: The weather turns mild Monday and Tuesday; the 12Z GFS is printing a high of 65 Monday and 69 Tuesday for Birmingham. Look for developing showers Tuesday, and thunderstorms are likely Tuesday evening ahead of a well defined front. A few strong storms are possible ahead of the front, but for now the overall severe weather threat looks low for North and Central Alabama.

Wednesday will be breezy and colder; clouds linger much of the day with a chilly north wind of 10-20 mph, and there is a good chance we won’t get out of the 40s. Then, Christmas Day on Thursday looks very nice, with ample sunshine and a high in the 50s after starting the day at or just below freezing.

Next chance of rain will come around Saturday December 27… and the pattern favors colder weather for Alabama the week after Christmas, and possibly into the first few days of the New Year. See the Weather Xtreme video for the 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.

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

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My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted early Monday morning by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the video updates here tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!


Rain Moving In Later Today

| 6:35 am December 19, 2014

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.

WET START TO THE WEEKEND: We are starting the day with mostly cloudy and cold conditions across the great state of Alabama; as cold as 28 degrees at daybreak up at Fort Payne. We project a high around 50 degrees today with a cloudy sky, and short wave energy approaching from the west will bring rain in here later in the day.

Rain will move into Southwest Alabama this morning, and it should reach the I-20 corridor by 3:00-5:00 p.m. We will forecast periods of rain tonight; the rain probably won’t be too heavy over the northern half of the state with amounts generally under 1/2 inch. No risk of severe weather, and with a stable airmass I don’t expect any thunder.

The rain will end early tomorrow; it will be over by 6:00-8:00 a.m. for most places.

REST OF THE WEEKEND: The sun might break out a bit tomorrow afternoon as drier air works back into the state; the high tomorrow will be in the upper 50s. Then, for Sunday, the sky will be occasionally cloudy with a high up in the low 60s. A wave of low pressure forming down in the Gulf will bring the risk of some light rain back in here by Sunday night; best chance of rain will be south of I-20, and east of I-65. That light rain will end pretty early in the day Monday.

MILD AFTERNOONS EARLY NEXT WEEK: The GFS is printing a high of 64 Monday, and 68 degrees Tuesday for Birmingham as we enjoyed two mild December days. We will mention a chance of showers Tuesday, and as a cold front approaches, showers and storms will become more widespread Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night. If temperatures do reach the upper 60s, there could be some surface based instability and we could very well see a few strong thunderstorms Tuesday evening. Not a classic severe weather setup, but always something to watch this time of the year.

COLDER CHRISTMAS EVE: The rain will move out very early Wednesday morning (probably in the pre-dawn hours), and the day Wednesday will be breezy and colder with lingering clouds; a decent chance we won’t get out of the 40s. The sky will clear late in the day.

Christmas Day looks wonderful with a good supply of sunshine. We start the day Thursday near freezing, and then we rise well into the 50s by afternoon. The 00Z GFS hints we could touch 60 degrees Thursday afternoon.

LONG RANGE: Seems like the ingredients are coming together for a colder pattern for the Deep South as we approach the beginning of the new year with the AO (Arctic Oscillation)/NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) combo trending negative; see the Weather Xtreme video for the 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.

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

Google Plus

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