Hugh Willougby of NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division spoke on the current hurricane cycle we are in now. We have endured two years of above normal landfalls from hurricanes here in the United States. He likens it to Las Vegas. For years the dice were cold. Now they are hot. Unfortunately, the dice may stay hot for awhile.
Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University spoke on the topic of global warming. He believes that the recent trend of rising global temperatures is mostly natural. He thinks that we are vain to believe that we can alter the whole climate system of the Earth. He also does not believe that our recent increased hurricane frequency has anything to do with global climate change. He bases this belief on the fact that although numbers in the Atlantic are up since 1995, the numbers worldwide are flat.
Gray went on to say that we have had a couple of bad years the last two years. But he thinks we should keep it in perspective. The number of hurricanes in the North Atlantic has been way up since 1995. However, we have been lucky, with a minimum number of landfalling U.S. storms. That changed in 2004. Our luck ran out. That luck is called the steering currents. For the past two years, the Bermuda High was stronger, steering hurricanes toward the United States. Last year was the all time record setting year, but there probably were actually more in 1933, when 21 were officially recorded.
Gray shared his 2006 predictions. They look active once again. Six predictors are used in their methodology and all six are high this year, strongly backing up their forecast. Gray and his team expect 17 named storms this season, with nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes. These December numbers have proven to be about 75% accurate. They will issue another update in early April, another May 31, one in early August and then issue them monthly to the end of the season.
You can subscribe to podcasts of the event at http://www.bahamaswxconference.com.
Wednesday, March 22nd, was a ground breaking day for the ABC 33/40 Weather Team. Not only was it the first, full official day of spring, it was also the day of the installation of the first camera/weather station combination for our SkyCam network. And I was fortunate enough to be part of the group that went to Mt. Cheaha to perform the installation.
It was a brisk day, and everyone had dressed appropriately. But while the day started out overcast, the sun quickly broke through the clouds providing a blue blanket of clear sky for our work. And even the wind cooperated by keeping to a light breeze.
The first major tasks involved transporting all of the equipment and tools to the roof of the restaurant and getting access to the Internet. The latter task was handled ably by the two technicians from CenturyTel, Jay and Al, who got the line run by lunchtime. For the rest of us, we tackled moving the equipment up the ladder to the roof over the center of the restaurant, then across the sloped roof to the southern end of the restaurant where the station was to be installed.
Getting everything assembled to transport the equipment to the installation site on the roof of the restaurant.
The installation involved over 20 cement blocks for weight for the non-penetrating roof mount for the camera and weather equipment. Once all of the equipment was moved, the StratusStation guys went to work mounting the camera and weather station to the pole and wiring all of the equipment to the control box which sits at the bottom on the pole.
Ricky, Jeff, Dwight, and James mounting and wiring the camera and weather station.
Once the equipment had been mounted to the pole, it was time to attach the pole to the mounting stand.
The equipment on the pole as the pole is raised into position and bolted to the mounting plate.
With the pole and equipment in place, the work focused on wiring the waterproof box that brings it all together. The Internet connection, power, and the specially designed brains of the unit are all connected.
The final step involved hooking everything together in a weatherproof box at the base of the pole.
And there it is - the complete installation that will bring weather data and live video to the ABC 3340 Weather Center and ultimately to our viewers.
The finished camera and weather station at Mt. Cheaha.
And posing for one last shot is the whole crew minus Jeff Wyatt who took the picture. The completed station can be seen in the background to the right side of the pictures.
Jeff Wyatt from ABC 3340 took this picture of the installation team after completing the job. (L to R) James Beasley (StratusStation), Ricky Pierce(StratusStation). Ron Thomas (ABC 3340), Dwight Herren (StratusStation), Brian Peters (ABC 3340), Al and Jay (CenturyTel)
More SkyCam installations will be coming on line in the near future as ABC 3340 works to bring the weather visually to you - another first from the best weather team anywhere.
A clear, brisk March morning greeted Alabamians this morning. Most sites across central Alabama reported lows within a couple of degrees of freezing. My temperature hit 31 this morning. Similar temperatures are forecast once again Sunday morning, so be sure to take the needed precautions to protect tender vegetation.
Our fine spring weather will continue into the first of the week, but with the projections for a wet weekend next weekend, be sure to enjoy this one. Today through Monday, a surface high pressure system will settle into the Southeastern US and gradually move eastward. As it does our temperatures will moderate with forecast highs expected to reach into the 70s by Wednesday and stay there through the end of the week.
A front moves into and washes out across the area Tuesday, so there could be some showers to contend with. With limited moisture, I don't expect to see everyone getting rain. The high position seems to reduce moisture on Wednesday though there is a lingering chance for a scattered shower.
The Gulf opens up on Thursday with a fairly strong front approaching the area on Friday and moving through Central Alabama on Saturday. Saturday appears to be the wettest day on the current model run, but timing is always a forecast issue when you get beyond about three days. Slightly faster movement and Friday would become a wet day - slower movement and Sunday could become the wet day.
This system could bring strong thunderstorms to the area, so this will bear watching. Remember, it is spring and our primary severe weather season.
Long range forecasts out 10 days to two weeks have an interesting solution with a closed low coming from southern California over into Texas. I'm not confident that the next model run will be like this one, but if that should materialize, Texas to the Atlantic coast could see a stormy period.
Don't forget our severe weather special on Sunday evening at 6 pm. Set the VCR or TIVO so you don't miss it. It brings together the material from our Storm Alert Tour.
And remember that daylight savings time begins next weekend - first Sunday in April.
Have a great weekend and spend some time with your family.