Not much elsewhere...in fact, from Cullman south to the coast, virtually no precipitation. Quick important notes:
* All of Alabama under a slight risk of severe weather by the Storm prediction Center today and tonight.
* Afternoon and evening best chance...probably late in the day and into the evening for places like Birmingham/Anniston.
* Best chance may be over SW and south half of the state but that is definately not sealed in stone yet.
* We must watch the northward progression of warm front and rich dew points today, Those are still limited to near the coast and over South Louisiana.
* 9 am dew points: 36 in Fort Payne, 43 in Birmingham, 48 in Montgomery but 62 in Mobile
* Dew points in the 30s North Georgia and even in the teens over Northern South Carolina. So, the big bully is still the much dreaded wedge.
* Flash Flood Watch also in effect. Some of us could get 2 to 4 inches of rain next 24 hours.
* Rich dew points of 67 and 68 across SE Louisiana.
* Strongest storms at 9:30 am were over West-Central Louisiana and East Texas. Tornado Watch in effect for part of that area.
* Arlington, Texas over 5 inches of rain last 24 hours and 7.09 inches over the weekend
* Dallas 7.85 inches of rain over the weekend (Love Field)
We will keep watching until we run out of coffee. You may also see an occasional TYPO today...we will be doing stuff in a hurry...will also be using a lot of incomplete sentences--my favorite way of writing...saves you reading time and me writing time
See the post below this one for the long story!
This will be a long discussion today, so grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut.
A very dynamic storm system is approaching the state today, but as is often the case in March, the thermodynamics are marginal. Maybe it is just human nature; hard to get excited about a severe weather event when my thermometer is showing 48.6 degrees at 5:45 a.m. as I write this. Yesterday during the rain at 3:00 p.m. I was showing 44 degrees here; not exactly a great way to begin spring break.
FLASH FLOODING??: The NWS in Birmingham has issued a flash flood watch for today for much of north-central Alabama. At first glance this looks credible, but the some models sure have backed away from the idea of any flooding problems. The NAM shows only 0.44" of rain here during the storm system (during the next 48 hours). The WRF is very similar to the NAM and keeps the heaviest rain north of here, over Tennessee and Arkansas. But, if you believe the GFS, heavy rain will be a problem; it suggests we get a storm total of 2.27".
SEVERE WEATHER: Quite a battleground today. Rain cooled air with a wedge type effect will be fighting warm, unstable air moving northward from the coastal plain of South Alabama. The WRF suggests the leading edge of the unstable air be near Tupelo to Birmingham to Columbus, GA at 6:00 p.m. today. But, this is just the leading edge; the "high quality" instability will remain over the southern half of the state, and to the west over parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Read Brian Peters excallent posts from yesterday and last night concerning air mass modification. I totally agree with him. I really have my doubts severe weather will become widespread as farr north as Birmingham.
MODERATE RISK: Having said that, along comes SPC and places a moderate risk of severe weather today from about Decatur, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. This includes places like Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. And, they are talking the potential for long track tornadoes in this region. This is their "06Z" outlook, a few one will be out within the hour. They rarely change the risk areas on the early morning update, however.
MODEL VALUES: Here are some severe weather parameters for Birmingham at 6:00 p.m. today from the NAM:
SB CAPE: 212 j/kg
ML CAPE: 565 j/kg
0-1 km EHI: 0.35
0-3 km Helicity: 421
0-3 km shear: 41 knots
Significant tornado parameter (STP): 2.22
850 wind speed: 37 knots
Bottom line, great dynamics, marginal thermodynamics.
BOTTOM LINE: I think the greatest risk of severe weather today in Alabama will be along and south of a line from Eutaw to Clanton to Auburn. We can't rule out severe weather north of that line for sure, but the greatest amount of instability will remain over the southern half of the state. A few tornadoes will be possible in the warm sector; seems like the highest tornado threat is near U.S. 80 (Meridian to Demopolis to Uniontown to Selma to Montgomery).
REMEMBER: When it comes to thunderstorms, expect the unexpected. This is a challenging forecast, so watch the blog for potential changes today. Stay tuned!
REST OF THE WEEK: Forget any warm weather for a while. Highs mostly in the 50 to 55 degree range, lows in the 30 to 35 degree range. Colder spots will probably dip into the 20s late this week during the early morning hours. These values are 10 to 15 degrees below normal for late March.
An upper wave will pass through here on Thursday, but for now there doesn't seem to be enough moisture for any rain.
AT THE BEACH: After today, cool and dry weather for the Gulf coast with highs in the 60 to 65 degree range,and lows in the 39 to 44 degree range. BRRR...
LONG RANGE: GFS hints at rain or storms around March 28 and April 2. Not much time to study the longer range period this morning... will deal with that later....
I will try to crank out an afternoon video map discussion by 3:30 unless the weather becomes too active... stay tuned to the blog for updates through the day!
Today has been a rainy, chilly, cloudy, stay-at-home kind of day in which the temperature remained almost steady for much of the day. The morning raob, also known as the upper air sounding, showed a significant layer of northeasterly flow from the surface up to about 800 millibars or 6,000 feet. This northeasterly flow pattern came about because of a large and strong high pressure system (1043 millibars) centered over central Canada with the ridge nosing down across the Ohio Valley into South Carolina. This high set up a wedge-like pattern with cool air flowing toward the southwest along the eastern side of the Apalachian Mountains. But this is not the pattern I think of when I think of a wedge which typically involves a high pressure center over Pennsylvania/New York area. While not a classic wedge, it sure produced results much like a wedge.
But on the BMX sounding this evening, that 6,000-foot layer of flow out of the northeast is gone. There still remains a shallow layer of east-northeast wind to maybe a 1,000 feet, but above that the northeasterly flow has been replaced by a west to southwest flow. So the modification of the atmosphere to set the stage for the possibility of severe weather Monday afternoon and evening has already begun.
Now, I still have some doubts about just how much the atmosphere over Central Alabama can recover. Surface dewpoints remain in the 40s with some readings still in the 30s across the Tennessee Valley. But along the Gulf coast, we're already seeing upper 50s along the Florida Panhandle with low and mid 60s in southern Louisiana.
The NAM model numbers seem to be more agressive than the GFS with dewpoints into the lower 60s Monday afternoon, an LI of -2.3, and CAPEs around 500. Not stellar values, but values that could be just enough for some severe weather action. And the numbers from Meridian are even better, so it could be a very close call.
Like most meteorologists, I want more data. So I'll have to be patient for the next model run and the next sounding to see how much more change the atmosphere will undergo. I'll while away the time by polishing the crystal ball - or petting the dog.
Radar continued to show a band of light to moderate rain from an east-west line just north of Birmingham to another east-west line at Montgomery. From my earlier post, the band of rain has slowly drifted southward. And temperatures have been quite chilly. My air temperature has been hovering around 44 degrees for almost 6 hours today. Dewpoint temperature has come up to 40 degrees. Temperatures are about 8 degrees warmer north and south of the rain band with 70-degree readings along the coast.
Meanwhile, a lone tornado warning was in effect for two counties in the San Angelo, Texas, county warning area - Schleicher and Crockett counties. Spotters were reporting a strongly rotating cloud with the storm, and the radar presentation was quite impressive. Reflectivity values were at the top of the scale, so there is also a strong possibility there is large hail with that storm, too.
Flash flood warnings were in effect for heavy rains in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. And slightly further north in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri, winter storm warnings were in effect for tonight. And there was a string of winter storm watches eastward across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. So that strong storm system coming out of the Southern Rockies was wreaking havoc with a lot of territory.
A warm front appeared to stretch just offshore along the Gulf Coast with 60-degree dewpoints in southern Louisiana. Gulf coast region had seen some breaks in the clouds today with temperatures running around 70 in many coastal locations.
We'll be watching this storm system and especially the movement of the warm front to see what impact it will have for Central Alabama tomorrow.
Temperatures remained on the chilly side with readings in the mid 40s to lower 50s. South Alabama was in the lower 60s and a few coastal stations had reached 70.
The latest Storm Prediction Center outlook for Monday and Monday night still places all of Alabama with the exception of the northeast corner in a slight risk area. Dewpoint temperatures have climbed somewhat this morning, but we're still a long way from dewpoints in the 60s. Challenging situation to forecast because it seems difficult to believe the atmosphere can modify enough in the next 24 to 36 hours to become favorable for severe weather. So our watchful eyes will continue to monitor changes and bring you our latest thinking as the next couple of days unfold.
I've recorded a tenth of an inch at my house in Shelby County. But this is the kind of weather my dog, Dakota, hates. She's very finicky and just hates to get her paws wet, so it's tough getting her to go out on rainy days. So it means I have to get wet to motivate her. You know who the boss is here!
An overrunning pattern continued this morning across much of the Southeast US with a good northeast surface flow with moisture riding up and over the cool air. Much of the rain was occurring this morning across the northern third of Alabama but a number of rainy periods are expected today and tonight and into early Monday.
It's interesting to note that the dewpoint temperatures were in the upper 20s to lower 30s, so the atmosphere is going to have to get cracking to recover enough for severe weather Monday. No sign on the morning surface chart of the warm front that we expect to move northward tomorrow. But as we all know from experience, the atmosphere can do some rapid changing. I'm still not sure that the slight risk area from SPC is correct - it may be a little too far north. Severe weather does seem possible from south of the Birmingham area to the coast on Monday afternoon and evening. But the northward extent of severe weather will depend heavily on how much the surface dewpoints can recover. Model numbers are still marginal in the Birmingham area with lifted index of -2 or so and CAPEs around 750. So this is one to be watching to see how much sunshine we can get and how much dewpoint recovery we get on Monday. In the mean time, some periods of rain with some possible heavy rain overnight.
The surface low sweeps by on Tuesday but skies are likely to remain mostly cloudy with some linger rain in the wraparound pattern behind the low.
Northwesterly flow aloft with a couple of disturbances at mid week and the end of the week will keep us fairly cool with temperatures below normal. GFS was forecasting the 540 thickness liine to reach the Alabama-Florida line by Friday.
Off to church and ushering duties this morning. Hope you have a good Sunday. Be weather conscious on Monday with the possibility of severe weather.
* 63 inches fell at Poamoho on the island of Oahu in only three weeks.
* 1 is the number of chitlins that James Spann ate while on camera at the Winston County Chitlin Eating Association in Arley last night (you should have seen the extreme contorted look on his face as he swallowed it)
* 300 is the estimated number of chitlins I ate as a kid in rural West Alabama. (See denial at end of this paragraph) Chitlins were often mixed in with cornmeal to make cornbread more tasty. PS: I was WRONG. Thanks to Chloe's note below. It was CRACKLINS, not chitlins. So I have never had a chitlin in my life. That note made my day. Cheers...and I will never have one knowingly.
* 8 below zero was the lowest temperature in the lower 48 this morning at Cook, Minnesota.
* 28 below zero was the coldest in Alaska at Northway.
* 90 was the hottest yesterday at Laredo and McAllen in South Texas.
* 30 is what percentage Little Miss Molly looks smaller after getting her summer trim yesterday. She looks like a long narrow swamp rat.
* 29 was the low at Dalhart in the Texas Panhandle this morning. That should help in the fighting of those brushfires.
* 2 (or more) inches is how much rain may fall in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area today through Sunday and maybe through Monday. It is sorely needed.
* I am going to try to persuade James Spann to eat some more chitlins while I photograph him close up. Might even pay him a dollar a chitlin just to see the weird look on his face.