What a busy day yesterday. I spoke to the pre-school kids in the weekday program at Hunter Street Baptist Church early in the day. These were 4, 5, and 6 year olds; we met in the Outfitters 2:52 worship center, which is my “home” every Sunday morning at Hunter Street and the place where 1st through 4th graders worship. Those little ones were great listeners; I always hearing their “stories” which often have nothing to do with what you just talked about! Nice being able to do a weather program on my “home turf”… The Outfitters 2:52 center is really an amazing place.
From Hoover it was a quick ride up into far Northeast Alabama. I ran up I-59 to Gadsden, and then up U.S. 411 to Centre, in Cherokee County. From Centre it was on to Alabama 68, through Cedar Bluff, and into the small community of Gaylesville, which is a good 90 miles away from Birmingham, and not too far from Rome, Georgia. I had the honor of presenting a program on weather to the entire student body in the gym. The hospitality was wonderful and I sure enjoyed the visit. The entire school was decorated in weather posters made by the kids; I know that was hard work.
That is one of my favorite parts of the state; Gaylesville is also very close to the Little River Canyon, Weiss Lake, and Desoto State Park. There is inherent beauty all across Cherokee and DeKalb counties up in Northeast Alabama. I do believe every Alabamian should spend some time there to see what we have to offer. I simply had no time for sightseeing yesterday, however; once the weather program was complete I had to scoot back down the highway to Birmingham to make it back in time for my regular evening television shift. But even a quick trip is a very good thing. Good for the soul...
James...looking more and more like you'll be on the mark about early next week. Big polar high with wedge like cool/dry feature stuck in GA/AL and persistent east to southeast flow of modified low level air will make it difficult to get rich low level moisture north of the coastal strip.
However, it does appear that strong warm air advection and frontogenesis above the low level cold dome will keep rain and elevated thunderstorms prevalent. So, your wet and cool idea, particularly for northern and central AL, looks good for Mondayish.
The ECMWF is much slower with this system. Right now, I'm most confident that it will be wet across MS/AL from late in the weekend into Monday and Tuesday. Also, you can be pretty confident that parts of the Central Rocky mountains and central high plains are going to get buried in snow.
GFS suggests 1-2 feet of snow in Wrn/Cntrl Nebraska.
I will get these fires put out and all should be to normal tomorrow.
Also... the WeatherBrains podcast for this week will be produced tonight and will be available by RSS or iTunes early tomorrow morning. That severe weather event Monday has us backed up on chores!
25 in Black Creek with a heavy frost (NE Etowah County)
27 at Little River Canyon and in Cottondale (frost)
28 in Pinson, Fort Payne, Desoto State Park
29 in Crossville, Florence, Talladega, Munford (light frost in Munford)
30 in Cullman, Leeds, Athens, Alabaster (heavy frost in Alabaster)
31 in Vinemont, Anniston, Decatur, Moulton, Albertville, Hartselle, Helena, Jasper
32 in Huntsville, Troy, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Meridianville, Guntersville, Wadley, Northport
33 in Muscle Shoals
34 in Wedowee, Evergreen, Kinston (Coffee County)
35 at Birmingham Airport
36 at Eutaw, Tuskegee, Shelby County Airport (NWS Office)
37 in Auburn
39 in Dothan, Selma and atop Mt. Cheaha
40 in Clay (NE Jefferson County at an elevation of 1032 feet)
41 in Mobile and in Bluff Park (elevation 990 feet, Birmingham area)
27 in Gatlinburg
14 atop Mt. Leconte in Smoky Mountain NP
15 below zero at Hallock, Minnesota
34 below at Northway, Alaska
This may be overkill. You may not be interested in all of this information. However, since it was such a late cold snap and lots of stuff was blooming, thought it might be helpful.
* Be sure and scroll down to see Brian's interesting account of his big blowout while storm chasing!
Monday, March 13th, was a busy day. James asked me to substitute for him at a scheduled talk at Woodland Forrest Elementary School in Tusdcaloosa. He doesn't ask me to do that very often, but with the potential for severe weather, he did not want to be too far away from the Weather Center.
Once the talk was over, I checked in with the Weather Center and learned that they wanted me to head toward Hamilton to meet up with a live truck and Bill Castle to do live shots at 5 and 6 pm as the weather came into Alabama. I headed up US 43 to reach US 78 and head to Hamilton. But as I monitored radar in the Chaser, I realized we needed to be further south. I coordinated with the Weather Center via live Instant Messaging, and we rerouted the live truck to Winfield which appeared to be a good decision based on current movement of the first supercell.
Upon reaching the US 43 turn to Fayette, I decided to head due north on SR 13. Lovely country with the rolling hills. As I came over one of those hills about 12 miles south of Eldridge, disaster struck!
There was a sudden loud noise followed by more loud flapping that could only mean one thing - a blowout! The ride suddenly got rough, but I could tell it was on the right rear side. I steered with both hands and used the brake lightly to slow the Chaser and get to the shoulder of the road. As soon as the Chaser had stopped, and my heart came down from about 1000 beats per minute, I got out to look at the damage.
The tire was shredded! So I sent word to the Weather Center about being disabled, and I started looking to change the tire. I found the jack and some instructions - boy, reading instructions, I must be desparate. I got the jack located on the frame and began raising it when my first guardian angel arrived.
Gary White was on his way home with a brand new truck he'd just gotten at his job. I did not find out what Gary did, but he had lots of tools and much more mechanical know-how than I did. He helped me raise the car and we tried to loosen the lug nuts. But neither of us could budget any of the lug nuts.
Gary got some additional tools from his truck including a 4-foot long bar. With that extra leverage, the lug nuts were no match for Gary. So we jacked some more and got the shredded tire off the Chaser. But now, how in the world do you get the spare tire out from under the Chaser? I didn't know and neither did Gary, but he said there must be some way to lower the tire. My second guardian angel arrived just then.
Tyrone Oswalt (and I'm not sure of the spelling) stopped to see if he could help, and he knows vans. He showed us exactly how to lower the tire. Now the spare was ready to go on, so we had to raise the jack just a bit more. The spare slipped on and Gary tightened the lug nuts. I cranked the jack down and Gary suggested I might need a little air for the spare. Tyrone walked back to his van and pulled out an air hose connected to an air tank and topped up the tire. I was ready to hit the road again!
I offered to pay them for their help, but they wouldn't have it. Gary said, "I try to do something good every day." And I thought, "Boy, I sure am glad I was the one who got his good deed for this day." I jumped back into the Chaser and headed for Winfield. The rest is history as Bill Castle and I sent live pictures of the first supercell storm back to the station.
I am so thankful for Gary and Tyrone and for all their help in getting me back on the road. Their unselfish assistance to a stranger from out-of-town certainly shows the giving nature of people in Alabama. Gary and Tyrone, thanks again. And God bless you for helping a stranger.
Shredded blowout from the Storm Chaser
A North Alabama boy out on business in northeast Arizona here. Arrived here on Sunday right after the big storm moved through and was amazed at what I saw! Over 4 feet of snow in places. Apparently Alabamians are not the only ones who get excited about this stuff on the way up US-60 between Phoenix and Globe there were hundreds of people from the valley building snowmen on the sides of the roads in the mountains. Some were actually loading there pickups full to carry back down to the valley to build snowmen. Some had even built them on the tops of cars. When I reached my destination at Pinetop I saw over 4 feet of snow in places. The slopes have opened up here today and tourists are pouring in from the valley area. I have included some shots I took on my way up and once I arrived. The only thing I can compare this to is the blizzard of 93.
No, we won't be in the low 80s today, but upper 60s are likely after a frosty start this morning. Scroll down to read J.B.'s post on early morning temperatures. We do indeed have a cold March morning across Alabama. Dry air means lots of sunshine today.
TOMORROW/FRIDAY: A weak cold front will slip through here tomorrow night and will bring some chance of light rain. Moisture is really limited, and I am not sure we will even have enough rain to measure. Maybe nothing more than sprinkles. Best chance of light rain comes from about 6:00 p.m. tomorrow through 3:00 a.m. Friday. A fresh supply of cool air slips in here Friday; the NAM is showing a high of only 53 while the GFS has 60. One way or another Friday should be cool and dry.
THE WEEKEND: Another major storm moves into the southwest U.S. I still think most of Alabama will be dry on Saturday, but some rain will ease in here Saturday night in advance of a warm front. Sunday should be a cool and wet day with periods of rain. Temperatures on Sunday will probably hold in the 50s all day.
SPRING BREAK WEEK: Once again... lets break it down:
MONDAY (March 20): Wet is the word. Sure looks like it will be hard for conditions here to favor severe weather, however. Even if we get in the warm sector of the storm, the quality of that warm sector should be poor due to the dry, continental air that has been over much of the southern U.S. this week. And, we might stay in the cool sector. If that is the case, we won't get out of the 50s. A mini-wedge look is showing up, and sometimes that cool air is hard to displace. But, if we do stay in the cool sector elevated storms are likely with a strong, negative tilt trough to the norhwest. But again, all of this mumbo-jumbo aside, Monday and Monday night should be pretty wet.
TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY (March 21-22): Both days look cool and dry. Highs probably in the 60s.
THURSDAY-FRIDAY (March 23-24): Spring break week should end up wet. Another upper trough comes along, and this time the surface low runs south of us. The 06Z GFS has the low moving from near Mobile to Dothan, with rain likely Thursday into Friday. This same run also suggests a good snow with the system over Tennessee. Keep in mind yesterday's 06Z run had the surface low even more to the south, with some hint of snow into extreme Northwest Alabama. But again, the message here is that the weather looks cool and wet at the end of the week.
It will be fun to see how the GFS handles that "end of next week" system in coming runs. Could somebody around the Deep South be dealing with a late March snow?
TODAY: Busy day for me. I will be speaking to the pre-school kids at my church, Hunter Street Baptist, this morning. Then, I have a long drive up to Gaylesville in Cherokee County where I will be speaking at midday. That is a long drive, but a beautiful drive I always enjoy. Gaylesville is at the northern edge of Weiss Lake. I will do my best to have the afternoon video ready by 3:30!
25 with a heavy frost at Black Creek (NE Etowah County)
27 at a private weather station in Fort Payne
28 at Fort Payne Airport
29 at Anderson (Lauderdale County)
30 in Cullman
31 in Moulton
32 in Gadsden and Meridianville
32 also in NE Trussville (I finally own a themometer, one that I used when I was an official NWS coop observer back in the 1950s)
33 in Decatur and Anniston (low so far in Anniston 32)
34 in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville
36 at Birmingham Airport
* With a good bit of ground level moisture available after Monday night's rain, it is likely that a substantial frost is present this morning in the deeper NE Alabama valleys...places like Valley Head and Fort Payne. Black Creek reports 25 with a heavy frost.
* I estimate that the low in Brewton this morning willbe about 38. If true, that would mean a 50-degree drop in temperature since Monday afternoon when they shared the national high of 88.
James will have his complete discussion, text and video posted here shortly