Showers have been basically non-existent today. I did my best in the last discussion here to suggest that rain would not be a big issue today or tomorrow, but that Monday would be the big rain day. Everything still looks that way.
Had a little light rain early this morning with the first impulse, but we should be in great shape tonight. A clear sky, and pleasant temperatures.
The GFS model looks totally out to lunch for tomorrow. The NAM is performing very well in this pattern, and suggests most of the day tomorrow will be dry. I think the SEC title game tomorrow afternoon will be played with only a small risk of rain. Looks like the big rain event will come after midnight tomorrow night into the day on Memorial Day. Monday still looks like the big rain day for the state.
The NAM extraction shows 1.25" of rain here during the next 84 hours, while the GFS goes nuts with 5.03" through 60 hours. I think the NAM is much closer to being accurate. Most places will probably get between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain on Monday.
I don't expect much of a severe weather threat with the rain late tomorrow night and Monday; instability parameters are very marginal and wind fields relatively weak.... Just a wet day with some thunder and lightning. Not great timing, but nothing really dangerous and we do indeed need the rain!
I awakened on Sunday morning, May 27, 1973 with a warm breeze blowing through an open window. It was more than a breeze. It was a stiff southerly wind. It was very humid. The air had a very foreboding feel to it. I knew it as that unmistakable feel of tornado weather. Unusual for that late in May, but serious.
What I did not know that morning was that strong low pressure was centered near Omaha, Nebraska. A strong cold front curved around through Missouri and Arkansas. Ahead of the front, a squall line extended over western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Warm, moist air covered Alabama. At 6 a.m., it was 72 degrees in Birmingham with a dew point of 69F along with a south wind of 15 mph. I also did not know that several tornadoes had occurred on Saturday, including a deadly F4 that moved through the business district of Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Severe weather began over North Alabama around 1:30 p.m. when tornadoes touched down near Hulaco in Cullman County. This F2 tornado moved along a 25 mile path, to the Arab and Eddy areas. This same thunderstorm produced another F2 tornado that moved across Jackson County from near Section to Dutton. These first two tornadoes killed no one, and injured ten.
Further south, trouble was brewing over Tuscaloosa County. I clearly remember listening intently to tornado warnings for Tuscaloosa County, knowing full well that those storms would affect Jefferson County. Fortunately, those storms produced no significant severe weather as they passed. Relieved that the weather was over, I went out to play. The weather was not over....
Still looks a wet Memorial Day for Alabama and the deep south. The models are still having some problems resolving shower opportunities for tomorrow and Sunday. At the moment it looks like the best chance of a shower tomorrow will come during the morning, and on Sunday late in the afternoon and at night. There should be some pretty good periods of sunshine tomorrow afternoon and during the day Sunday.
Rain will increase Sunday night in response to an approaching upper trough, and rain and storms will be widespread on Monday. Rain totals around 2 inches seem likely between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, when the rain will move on to the east. A few strong storms could be involved, but we are not expecting a major severe weather threat at this time.
NEXT WEEK: Generally speaking, the week looks wet. There should be a break in the rain Tuesday afternoon and part of the day Wednesday, but another wave on the stalled front will bring another good round of rain and storms Wednesday night into Thursday. And, more rain is possible late Friday night Saturday (June 3-4), so some beneficial amounts of rain are a real possibility for Alabama during the next seven to ten days.
Once again, trying to time out the specific rain events next week is very hard to do this early in the game...
Many of you have a nice long weekend ahead... if you are traveling be safe and enjoy some down time!
Today will feature dry and warm weather for Alabama with temperatures topping out in the low to mid 80s.
We will continue to mention the risk of a shower or two tomorrow, but at this point I am not convinced we will see very much rain tomorrow or Sunday. A surface front will move southward tomorrow, triggering a few scattered showers, and then the models are in pretty good agreement the front will be close to U.S. 80 by tomorrow night, which would put much of north and central Alabama in dry air for Sunday. If this trend continues on the 12Z runs, we can almost eliminate the risk of showers on Sunday, with all of them limited to south Alabama.
But, Monday still looks wet as a surface low spins up near Shreveport and the front moves northward as a warm front. Some beneficial rain seems likely, and maybe even a strong storm or two. Looks like the rain could linger into at least a part of the day Tuesday before dry air returns Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Then, the GFS shows a system for Thursday and Friday of next week (June 2-3) that looks more like March; a deep surface low near Memphis with decent upper support. That would suggest a severe weather threat, but the GFS is probably being too aggressive. One way or another, it does look like wet weather will return for the latter half of the week.
Between the two systems next week, parts of Alabama could easily see over two inches of rain, and possibly more. I know this is not very convienent, but it will greatly help to reduce the rain deficit for the year and help improve the soil moisture.
Hurricane season begins next Wednesday... so we will begin scanning the Atlantic basin on a regular basis!
On May 27, 1917, major tornadoes devastated communities near the Walker-Jefferson County line NW of Birmingham. There were numerous deaths and injuries. The community of Bradford was almost wiped off the map. So many trees were uprooted that the town was completely isolated. They had to send runners on foot to get the word out and try to get help. Remember, this was when there was no such thing as radar, 911, cell phones, weather radio and even regular telephones were not that plentiful.
In more recent time, on May 27, 1973, a tornado touched down around 6:20 north of Demopolis. It began a long trek toward the NE and it would wind up being the longest track tornado on record in Alabama finally breaking up on the slopes of Mt. Cheaha in East Alabama. It moved across the SE part of Greensboro killing 1 person and injuring 72. Then it continued NE up Highway 25, knocking Centreville’s radar out of service. A few minutes later it plowed through the heart of Brent killing 5 persons and injuring 56. In Brent, 216 buildings were destroyed and 570 damaged. A little later, a separate tornado moved across the NE outskirts of Birmingham causing major damage in Center Point killing 1 person and injuring 76.
St. Louis was also devastated by a May 27 tornado that went through the heart of St. Louis and East St. Louis killing 255 persons and injuring 1,000. In 1997, and yes on May 27, a powerful tornado in Central Texas almost wiped out the town of Jarrell. 27 people aged 5 to 51 were killed in a town where there were few, if any, strangers. It was a strange tornado at times moving toward the SW at speeds as slow as 5 mph. It was so powerful that long stretches of asphalt were completely cleaned from highways.
It goes into great depth discussing weather models. The models have improved greatly over the last several years. It points out what we have all known for years...the weather observation network needs to be far more dense (with more frequent reports) for models to really be at their best. In some parts of the world, weather observation sites are few and far between. Upper air soundings are even more scarce.
Be sure and see the photograph of a rotating wall cloud on page 95. It's a classic.
Also on page 110, there is a three-page pullout panel showing film clips from the first ever photographs inside a tornado funnel. A storm chaser on a dirt road in Iowa, plasced a camera probe in exactly the right spot and the center of the funnel came as close as 10 feet. A video of that is also on their web site.
Bill Murray will love that, but I wish SCB (Storm Chaser Bill) would have been the first to do that.
I thought it was interesting that NCEP's primary computer...a giant...is called "Blue," The supercomputer crunches numbers that stagger the imigination. It is not running at full speed yet. But by 2009, it will handle 8.6 trillion calculations in a single second! (Yes, that is with a T) It would take a hand-held calculator 15,000 years to process what "Blue" does in one second.
Let's call her a more affectionate name--"Ole Blue." A backup system in a different building is called "White."
Blows my little Molly-sized mind!
**Note there will not be an afternoon web video today; I will be taking the day off from the TV shift. John Oldshue will be filling in for me on ABC 33/40 News tonight**
Dry weather continues through tomorrow with a gradual warming trend. The main forecast issues involve the Memorial Day weekend.
The 00Z run of the GFS is back to the look we have seen much of this week. A few showers possible on Saturday with a surface boundary drifting in here. Then, on Sunday, the best chance of showers shifting down into south Alabama as the front moves down to near U.S. 80.
Memorial Day looks very wet again, with the model developing a 1004 mb low over southern Arkansas in response to a short wave moving in from Texas. This would suggest wet and potentially stormy weather on Monday; NCEP is buying this as they now show a 3 inch bullseye over the next five days over central Alabama. That would sure help to knock out the rain deficit.
The latest GFS then moves the surface low to West Virginia, with drier air slipping in here on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Then, another trough approaches with rain opportunities on the way up for Thursday and Friday, June 2-3.
J.B. Elliott is back in the saddle today, he will be writing the forecast packages this afternoon and tomorrow... will be interesting to see how the weekend scenario unfolds!
The podcast is a simple audio forecast from our weather team, a file you can play on your computer, portable music player, or anything else that supports the MP3 format. To hear the podcast on your computer, you can click the link above directly.
The best way to get the file is to install a program like Ipodder which uses our RSS feed and automatically downloads the file onto your computer whenever it is updated.
Here is the RSS link you need for Ipodder, or similar programs:
You can download IPodder free here:
We have been doing audio files for radio stations for many years; we are simply introducing an MP3 audio forecast for the general public!
Many of you downloaded the podcast audio file directly last night; you might want to try Ipodder or a similar program and see how the RSS automatic feed works. You can also use the RSS feed to bring in the latest posts from this blog on many different ways. I use an add-on to Microsoft Outlook called IntraVNews that allows posts on blogs to roll in just like e-mail messages. Many weather sites have RSS, including the Storm Prediction Center.
I will probably make our twice daily video update available by RSS soon!
We will enjoy one more cool night tonight across Alabama... temperatures by daybreak tomorrow should be close to where they were early this morning. Most folks in the 50 to 55 degree range; some of the colder spots reaching the upper 40s.
Coldest place I would find this morning was Crudup, which is in Etowah county northeast of Gadsden, near Duck Springs. The mercury there dropped to 44 degrees, as recorded by an Alabama Power automated weather station.
We will maintain a dry forecast through Friday, although the NAM is trying to suggest isolated showers late Friday afternoon. The air looks a little too dry at this point.
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: This is getting to be a tough forecast. Every model run looks different, but the general idea is that we will make the change from dry continental air to moist tropical air from Saturday through Monday. Trying to tell you exactly when the rain will fall is pretty hard.
I still think a few showers will form around here on Saturday as a surface boundary drifts in here from the north. Nothing especially heavy, but a few passing showers seem likely. The latest run of the GFS (12Z) now shows the front stalling out somewhere near U.S. 278, or along a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden. This would keep most of our viewing area in moist air on Sunday, and that would suggest we will need to mention a pretty good chance of a few showers and storms on Sunday. But, the 00Z run from last night showed the front making it as far south as Montgomery. We will wait on the next couple of model runs before we make any big changes in the forecast.
The 12Z run of the GFS also looks much drier for Monday, Memorial Day, with the deeper moisture shunted to the east. I sure don't buy this yet, but at least it is a possibility.
And, the 12Z run backs off on the concept of next week being really wet. Same deal... I am not buying into that; we need to see several more runs before we change our tune.
Glad J.B. Elliott is back on duty tomorrow; he will pick up the afternoon forecast shift again and he can figure all of this out. Bottom line is that we will need to mention the chance of some rain on a daily basis Saturday through Monday, during the duration of the holiday weekend. It is just very difficult now trying to be specific on exactly when the rain will fall. Stay tuned for more details!
Been very busy today, I might not have time to discuss the new Podcast project until sometime tonight. Way behind the power curve...