ABC 33/40 Weather Blog

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The latest information on Alabama weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, national weather headlines and the science of meteorology in general.
Updated: 24 min 41 sec ago

Mostly Cloudy Today

7 hours 37 min ago

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.

Not nearly as chilly this morning as temperatures were not allowed to drop as much due to increased clouds from the convection off to our west. No new records this morning as the morning lows were about 10 degrees warmer than Wednesday morning.

The upper level flow remains in a trough pattern across the eastern US. This trough is forecast to move westward a little or retrograde, so the trough axis should be just to our west into the weekend. This along with the moisture increase will allow for showers over the weekend with the best chances coming Saturday and Sunday, but there will still be some chance of showers into next week.

NHC continues to watch an area of disturbed weather approaching the Lesser Antilles. Conditions are still conducive for possible development, however, the chances for the formation of a tropical storm have dropped off a tad. So this continues to be watched.

While the trough retrogrades today and Friday, it will migrate back east over the weekend bringing up our rain chances for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday looks like a wetter day for now, but probably not an all day rain event.

The trough over the eastern US weakens as upper ridging strengthens across the southern tier of the US into the first of next week. With moisture in place, we should return to something more summer-ish with daily chances of showers driven primarily by the heat of the afternoon. Afternoon highs will climb back into the 89 to 92 range.

Beach goers will enjoy a good supply of sunshine today but clouds increase for Friday and into the weekend along with shower chances. Highs along the coast will be in the 85 to 88 range with morning lows in the lower and middle 70s. Temperatures will be a little warmer away from the coast.

The overall active pattern with a trough in the East continues into voodoo country or week two. Trough is not nearly as strong as the westerlies tend to move back toward the north. This should signal a warmer period of weather if this verifies, but still nothing in the way of extreme heat appears likely.

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)

We will be on a one-a-day Weather Xtreme Video through next week as I sub for the vacationing James Spann. Next Weather Xtreme Video by 7 am or so on Friday morning. Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Moisture Levels Begin To Rise Tomorrow

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 15:33

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.

FINE SUMMER DAY: After record lows this morning (as cool as 50 degrees at Black Creek, near Gadsden), temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 80s across North/Central Alabama this afternoon. The sky is mostly sunny, and humidity levels remain low.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: We are watching with interesting an MCV (mesoscale convective vortex) type feature on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border, moving southeast. The NAM has identified this feature, and moves rain into Northwest Alabama early tomorrow morning. The GFS model, however, remains rather dry and shows the rain mostly dissipating before reaching our state. Based on radar trends, I do think we will need to mention a chance of showers tomorrow, but the air over the state is relatively dry, so amounts should be mostly light and spotty. The high tomorrow will be in the mid 80s with a mix of sun and clouds.

Moisture levels will be deeper Friday, so scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: An axis of deeper moisture will be in place as the weekend begins, so for now Saturday looks like a day with more clouds than sun, and scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms along with a high in the low to mid 80s. Showers and storms are still possible Sunday, although they should thin out a bit with temperatures rising into the upper 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Confidence is low since there is not much consistency in model output; looks like we will need to continue to some of scattered showers and storms through at least the first half of the week, with daily highs between 87 and 90 degrees. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Mostly sunny weather tomorrow with only a small risk of a shower from Panama City west to Gulf Shores; the high will be in the upper 80s. Then, about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day Friday through Sunday with a daily possibility of scattered showers and storms.

TROPICAL WEATHER: The tropical wave in the Atlantic between Africa and the Lesser Antilles is still struggling; there is little deep convection this afternoon as it moves west/northwest. Seems like dry air surrounding the system, and wind shear is preventing it from becoming better organized. NHC has dropped the chance of development from 70 to 50 percent, and if anything can form in that region most likely it recurves before reaching the U.S. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps.

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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I will be taking a little vacation time… my next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here Friday morning, August 8 by 7:30. Brian Peters will handle the videos tomorrow through August 7…

Categories: Weather

Record Lows Shattered Across Alabama

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 06:16

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COOL JULY MORNING: Here is a look at observations at daybreak across Alabama…

Black Creek (just northeast of Gadsden) 50
Jamestown (Cherokee County) 51
Fort Payne 52
Valley Head (DeKalb County) 52
Cottondale 52
Cullman 53
Jasper 54
Demopolis 54
Haleyville 54
Gadsden 55
Anniston 56
Jemison 56
Pleasant Grove 57
Auburn 57
Tuscaloosa 58
Birmingham Airport 58
Montgomery 59

New record lows have been established at all climate reporting sites in our state, and in Montgomery, the record for July 30 that stood for 125 years was shattered (their old record low was 66 set in 1889).

Today will be another delightful day, with ample sunshine and low humidity along with a high in the mid 80s.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Looks like most of the state will stay dry tomorrow with only a small risk of an afternoon shower, but scattered showers and storms will more likely Friday as moisture levels rise. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s both days.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A pretty decent pool of moisture will be in place, and with an upper trough axis to the west we expect scattered, perhaps numerous showers and thunderstorms over the weekend. The sky will be occasionally cloudy with highs generally in the mid 80s. The sun will be out at times, but if you have something planned outdoors, just be aware that you will have to dodge occasional showers.

Then, early next week, the air becomes drier across the state and showers become hard to find by Tuesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Lots of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores today and tomorrow; then we will bring in the risk of a few scattered storms Friday through Sunday, but even then you will see 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Highs on the coast will remain in the mid to upper 80s. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

TROPICAL WEATHER UPDATE: The well organized wave in the Atlantic, about half way between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles, is expected to become a tropical depression later today or tonight as it moves west/northwest. A good chance it will be Tropical Storm Bertha by Friday, but models continue to show a path of recurvature over the open Atlantic before it gets close to the U.S. See the Weather Xtreme video for the 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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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Categories: Weather

Record Lows Early Tomorrow

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 15:48

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.

NICE PREVIEW OF AUTUMN: What a delightful afternoon across the great state of Alabama. Lots of sunshine, low humidity, and comfortable temperatures. Many communities north of Birmingham did not get out of the 70s with a fresh north breeze.

We are still look at a very cool night tonight for late July, with record lows likely early tomorrow…

Most communities will enjoy a low between 57 and 61 degrees, with a few low to mid 50s over the northeast counties. Interesting to note that Montgomery should easily break a 125 year old record low for July 30.

The weather will remain very pleasant tomorrow with ample sunshine and low humidity.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Low level moisture will slowly return on these days. We will mention just a small risk of a shower Thursday afternoon, with a better chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

THE WEEKEND: The pool of moisture stays in place, and the chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue Saturday and Sunday with a mix of sun and clouds both days. The rain won’t be continuous over the weekend, but a shower could come at just about any hour, so make outdoor plans accordingly. Highs will remain generally in the 86-89 degree range.

Some evidence more dry air could drop into Alabama around Tuesday of next week with lower humidity levels by then. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Look for sunny weather along the Gulf Coast tomorrow and Thursday from Panama City west to Gulf Shores with highs in the mid to upper 80s. A few scattered showers and storms are possible Friday through the weekend, but you will still enjoy about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the mid 80s.

TROPICAL UPDATE: A well organized wave over the Central Atlantic is expected to become a tropical depression tonight or tomorrow, and ultimately Tropical Storm Bertha. Late model data suggests Bertha will begin to weaken in 4-5 days as it begins to recurve into the open Atlantic, and for now this does not seem to be a threat to the U.S. mainland.

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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I had a great time today visiting with the kids at Covenant Classical School in Pelham… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Categories: Weather

More Like September

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 06:26

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.

FALL PREVIEW: Sure feels good this morning with cooler, drier air in place. Fort Payne, Valley Head, and Russellville have all dropped to 59 degrees right at daybreak, with low to mid 60s in most other communities. The sky is clear, and the humidity is low.

In the core of the cool air up north, Ann Arbor, Michigan has dropped to 44 degrees early this morning. Quite a chill for late July.

Delightful weather will continue through tomorrow with sunny days, low humidity, and a cool night tonight. We figure most places will enjoy a low between 57 and 61 degrees early tomorrow, and many new record lows are likely across Alabama. Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 degrees, set in 1994.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moisture begins to return on these two days. We will mention the chance of a shower Thursday afternoon, and showers and thunderstorms are likely at times on Friday. Highs remain in the 80s; in fact some North Alabama communities might not get out of the 70s Friday due to clouds and showers.

OUR WEEKEND: Moist air will stay in place, so a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue Saturday and Sunday. The sky will be occasionally cloudy both days with highs in the 80s. The rain won’t be continuous, but if you have something planned outdoors this weekend be ready for a passing shower at any time.

The risk of scattered showers and storms will continue into early next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Sunshine in full supply today and tomorrow from Panama City over to Gulf Shores with highs in the 80s. A few scattered showers and storms will return Thursday through the weekend with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. The sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 83 degrees.

TROPICAL UPDATE: A well organized tropical wave in the Atlantic, between and coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles, should become a tropical depression soon, and ultimately Tropical Storm Bertha. The persistent upper trough over the eastern U.S. should force Bertha northward before impacting the U.S. mainland, and it doesn’t look like a threat to the Gulf of Mexico.

Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for 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. Scroll down for the show notes on the new episode we recorded last night.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

I will be doing a weather program today for the kids at Covenant Classical School in Pelham… be looking for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 or so this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Categories: Weather

WeatherBrains 444: Holding Nate Back

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 05:15

WeatherBrains Episode 444 is now online (July 28, 2014). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Tonight’s Guest Panelist is the Morning and Midday Meteorologist at KFSN, the ABC O&O in Fresno, CA. She is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University. She is famous for her 3D weather cakes which have attracted a cult following.

When you look in the dictionary for the definition of the word climatologist, you see tonight’s picture next to it. She served in state climatology offices for nearly twenty years, serving in the position of State Climatologist for Wisconsin from 1989-1996 and Assistant State Climatologist for Georgia from 2001-11. She is a Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists and she is a CCM as well. She currently serves as the Agricultural Climatologist for the Crop and Soil Sciences Department at UGA. And she does all this while keeping one of our favorite guests, Dr. John Knox, straight. Dr. Pam Knox, welcome to WeatherBrains!

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 111 at Glendale, AZ, and 33 at Pahaska, WY and at Snake River Ranger Station, WY
  • Atlantic quiet but a wave moving through South Central Atlantic may become second named storm
  • Bill eating Indian food in Calgary, Alberta
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: Sometimes there are terms which just don’t seem to fit the meaning that they have. We’re not making fun of this word, but when put in context of other things in life, it seems to be contrary in meaning. So see how this applies to extratropical.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of July 28th.

    Listener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Web Sites from Episode 444:

    ABC 30 Fresno, Shelby’s station

    On the Case – Knox Blog

    John Christy/Kerry Immanuel Climate Discussion

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – KickStarter Project – Forecasting toolkit for iPad

    Bill Murray – Experimental

    Brian Peters – Gets the Fog Horn!

    James Spann – Atlantic Wind Shear

    Aubrey Urbanowicz – Blog on El Nino Status

    SkyDavers Blog – The Fog Bank

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

    Categories: Weather

    Turning Cooler Tonight

    Mon, 07/28/2014 - 15:53

    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.

    COOLER AIR MOVING INTO NORTH ALABAMA: Temperatures are only in the low 80s over the northeast corner of Alabama this afternoon, and the dew point has dropped to 55 at Fort Payne, where they have a fresh north breeze gusting to 21 mph.

    This cooler, drier air will keep moving southward tonight. And, to the south, along the cold front, strong to severe showers and thunderstorms have formed over South Alabama. A number of severe thunderstorm warnings have been posted for counties between Mobile and Montgomery… the main threat is from strong, gusty winds.

    TOMORROW AND WEDNESDAY: What a nice fall preview. Low humidity levels, sunny days, cool nights. Highs in the mid 80s, and the low early Wednesday will be close to 60, with 50s for the cooler pockets. A number of new record lows are likely Wednesday (Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 set in 1994). It will feel more like late September instead of late July.

    THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Moisture returns, and we will mention the risk of an afternoon shower or thunderstorm Thursday. Scattered showers and storms are possible Friday with a mix of sun and clouds; highs will be in the mid to upper 80s.

    THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A pool of low level moisture will be in place, so there will be a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday. Not a continuous kind of rain, but if you have something planned outdoors just understand a passing shower or storm is possible at just about anytime. The sky will be occasionally cloudy, and highs will hold in the mid to upper 80s.

    Expect similar weather early next week… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and details.

    TROPICS: A well organized tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic should become Tropical Storm Bertha later this week; most models recurve this into the open Atlantic before impacting the U.S. mainland.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: A strong storm is likely in a number of spots along the coast tonight from Panama City to Gulf Shores… then beautiful weather tomorrow and Wednesday with sunny days and fair nights. Then, Thursday through the weekend, about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day with a few scattered showers and storms. Highs will remain mostly in the mid to upper 80s along the coast, and sea water temperatures are in the mid 80s in most places.

    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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google Plus
    Instagram

    I enjoyed seeing the kids in the Alabaster City Schools summer program today at Meadow View Elementary… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow….

    Categories: Weather

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning Barbour/Pike until 3:45 PM

    Mon, 07/28/2014 - 15:08

    A severe storm is racing off towards the southeast and is impacting portions of U.S. 231. Hail and damaging winds are possible with this storm. It will not be impacting the city of Troy, but is off to the south and east and will be impacting Clio and Brundidge.

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

    * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…
    SOUTHWESTERN BARBOUR COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST ALABAMA…
    SOUTHEASTERN PIKE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST ALABAMA…

    * UNTIL 345 PM CDT

    * AT 306 PM CDT…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDICATED A SEVERE
    THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL…AND DAMAGING
    WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR
    BRUNDIDGE…AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

    * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
    CLIO…DOSTER…HAMILTON CROSSROADS AND TENNILLE.

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

    FOR YOUR PROTECTION…MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF
    YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.

    TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER…
    CALL 1-800-856-0758 OR TWEET YOUR REPORT USING HASHTAG ALWX

    Categories: Weather

    Heat Relief On The Way

    Mon, 07/28/2014 - 06:12

    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.

    RADAR CHECK: A few isolated showers are in progress across Alabama early this morning at daybreak from Tuscaloosa to Calera… these are moving southeast ahead of a push of cooler, drier air that is entering the far northern part of the state.

    The drier air will win the battle, and later today showers and storms will be confined to the southern half of Alabama, south of U.S. 80. In fact, SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather up for parts of South Alabama this afternoon and early tonight; strong winds will be the main threat.

    FALL PREVIEW: Our weather will be delightful tonight through Thursday, with sunny days, clear cool nights, and low humidity levels. Highs in the mid 80s, lows dropping into the 57-61 degree range by early Wednesday. Birmingham’s record low for Wednesday morning (July 30) is 61 set in 1994… a good chance that record falls.

    FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Moist air returns to the state. A few scattered showers could break out Friday, and we will have the risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday. Not to say it will be a totally wet weekend, but keep in mind a passing shower or storm will be possible, especially during the afternoon and evening hours. Highs will remain in the 80s as a broad upper trough persists over the eastern half of the nation.

    See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: A passing strong storm is possible late this afternoon or tonight along the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores, then beautiful weather tomorrow through Thursday with sunny days and fair nights. A few scattered storms will return late this weekend and over the weekend, but you will still get about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 86 degrees.

    TROPICS: A tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic has some chance of gradual development in coming days as it moves west/northwest. Most tropical models have the system near the Leeward Islands in about five days… out in the longer range the GFS model hints this will recurve before impacting the U.S. mainland. If this becomes a tropical storm, the name will be Bertha. Details on the Weather Xtreme video.

    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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30p CT… you can watch it on “James Spann 24/7″ on cable systems around the state, or on the web here.

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

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google Plus
    Instagram

    I will be speaking to students in the summer program at Meadow View Elementary in Alabaster this morning (and also to the teachers after the kid program)… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

    Categories: Weather

    An Important Anniversary in Hurricane Forecasting

    Sun, 07/27/2014 - 15:30

    In July 1943, tracking hurricanes was a difficult business. Fewer ships were at sea because of the threat of German U-boats. Those that were at sea maintained radio silence. Britain suffered mightily from the lack of weather reports from over the Atlantic. The Brits were forced to use precious aircraft to fly weather observation missions. The U.S. feared that the West Indies would become a major theater of war if the Germans decided to attack through Central and South America.

    In Bryan, Texas, Col. James P. Duckworh was in charge of the Instrument Flying Instruction School. Before the 1930s, there wasn’t any such thing as instrument flying. Everything was visual. Duckworth had been a pilot for Eastern Air Transport, the precursor to Eastern Airlines. He had resigned to go to active duty with the Army Air Corps Reserve. Duckworth said that he knew that the war wasn’t going to stop because of weather.

    Weather map from the morning of July 27, 1943.

    On the morning of Sunday, July 27th, Col. Duckworth made his way to the base to have breakfast. As he ate, he learned that there was a hurricane making landfall near Galveston. Hard to believe, since it was a beautiful morning at Bryan, about 100 miles from Galveston. The storm was expected to pass near Houston during the afternoon. Duckworth saw it as the perfect opportunity to do what no one had done intentionally up to that time: fly into a hurricane.

    Joe suggested to one of his breakfast companions, Lt. Ralph O’Hair that they take an single engine AT-6 trainer and fly into the storm for fun. There were four new B-25‘s at the base, but it would be hard to justify using one of them for this unsanctioned mission. As 100 mph winds were raking the coast. Duckworth and O’Hair took off for Galveston. Enroute, they called the tower at Houston and said they were flying Galveston. The incredulous operator asked them if they knew there was a hurricane. When they said yes, the controller asked for updates so he would be able to direct crews to the wreckage.

    As they flew toward the hurricane, they were in the weaker western semicircle of the storm. As they neared the eyewall, they experienced violent up and down turbulence that made them feel like a “bone in a dog’s mouth”. Suddenly, they broke into the clear air of the eye. They flew around for a few minutes and headed back to the base where they were met by the staff meteorological officer. The weatherman wanted to know why they had not included him in their historic flight. They responded by telling him to hop in, they would take him to the center. The meteorologist kept a very detailed diary of observations.

    Duckworth did not immediately realize the significance of his feat. Later that year, one of his superiors summoned him to tell the pilot that he had been recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross. The unassuming Colonel did receive the Air Medal for flying into a hurricane for the first time, twice in the same day.

    Realizing the benefit of more specific information on hurricanes, regular reconnaissance flights were started the next year. Weather Bureau meteorologists used the information about 1944’s Great Atlantic Hurricane to issue better warnings.

    Categories: Weather

    Tropics Quiet…For Now…

    Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:00

    Tropical Storm Bertha next Saturday evening?

    We are tracking a tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic on this last Sunday of July.

    Right now it doesn’t look like much, but several of the global models, including the American GFS and the UKMET are now on board with the idea that it will become tropical depression number 3 in the week ahead as it steams across the Atlantic. There is a chance it could even go on to become Tropical Storm Bertha.

    It is expected to move near the northern Lesser Antilles or Virgin Islands Friday night and could affect Puerto Rico as well. After that, the GFS currently projects it curving around the Bermuda High and flirting with the U.S. East Coast, but not making landfall.

    Another system will come off the African coast late in the week, but indications are that it will head toward weakness over the western Atlantic as the subtropical high shifts a little east temporarily.

    Categories: Weather

    Warmest Day of the Year?

    Sun, 07/27/2014 - 11:53

    An impressive cumulus field was blossoming across Central Alabama on this last Sunday in July. The healthy fair weather clouds have multiplied in the deeper moisture that is over the state today. Morning dewpoint levels are in the lower and middle 70s, some 6-7 degrees higher than those of the same time yesterday.

    The fair skies are the result of sprawling upper level high pressure over the southern tier of states, stretching from Utah to Alabama. This high should again put the kibosh on showers this afternoon.

    It will also allow the mercury to warm well into the middle and upper 90s across the area. It was already 91F at Tuscaloosa at 11 a.m. and 88F at Birmingham. The Birmingham reading is some three degrees ahead of the temperature at the same time yesterday.

    LATE NOTE: It had reached 91F at the Birmingham Airport at noon as temperatures continue to soar.

    This may allow today to be the warmest day of the year in the Magic City. The 95F yesterday is currently tie with two other July days for the warmest day of 2014.

    HEAT ADVISORY: With the combination of highs in the middle and upper 90s and high humidity, the National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for West Central and South Central Alabama. Places like Vernon, Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, Selma, Montgomery and Troy are in the Heat Advisory for heat index values pushing 105F degrees today. Elsewhere, in places like Birmingham, Hamilton, Cullman, Gadsden, Anniston, Alex City and Auburn, heat indices today will top out above 100F, but remain just below Advisory criteria.

    A line of showers and storms storms is expected to develop by mid-afternoon near the Ohio River and push southeastward this afternoon and evening. It will arrive at the Northwest Corner of Alabama around 9 p.m. and die out as it progresses. It should be completely gone by the time it gets to Birmingham and I-20.

    This activity is ahead of a cold front that has passed St. Louis this afternoon. It will arrive in Northwest Alabama afternoon midnight and clear the Birmingham area during the late morning.

    Much of North Central Alabama may miss out completely on the rain and storm, with the best chances tomorrow coming south of Clanton. We note that the SPC does have much of southern Alabama in a slight risk severe weather outlook, their standard forecast.

    Cooler and drier air will follow on the heels of the front, much like last week. Look for several 50s by Wednesday morning, which is record country for July 30th in Alabama

    Categories: Weather

    Second Driest July on Record?

    Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:18

    As we start to close this books on July this week, I thought it would be fun to take a peek back at the month that was in the climate department, especially since there have been several nice stretches of cool weather.

    So, at first glance, you would think that July 2014 was going to go down in the record books as one of the coolest in Birmingham history. But not so fast my friend.

    We have broken a few record lows, and more records are on the way, but as far as the month goes, there will have been 29 Julys in Magic City climate history that have been cooler.  

    The average high for the month should finish around 89.2F, which is 1.6 degrees below the 30 year average high of 90.8F. The average low for the month will finish at 68.7F, which is well below the 30 year average of 71.4F. That has really helped the month to feel a bit more comfortable. Warm lows in the middle and upper 70s really make it feel stifling.

    The overall mean temperature for the month will finish at 79.0F, which is two degrees cooler than the long term average of 81.1.

    We have only measured 0.92 inches of rain at the Birmingham Airport, and the prospects for more out of the approaching front or from the rest of the week are not good. In fact, it looks like we will be lucky to get to one inch of rain for the month.

    If we total less than 1.11 inches of rain for the month, it will be the second driest July on record, drier than the horrible drought year of 1952.

    We are now nearly four inches down to average for the year in the rainfall department at Birmingham.

    Categories: Weather

    Hot Again Today But a Change Coming

    Sun, 07/27/2014 - 06:52

    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.

    The upper ridge to our west forced itself eastward yesterday bringing Central Alabama one of the warmest days of the year. Today heat values will be up while we stay dry across the northern two-thirds of the state of Alabama. Highs will be in the 93 to 98 range today with heat indices climbing into the 100 to 105 range in the area generally south of Birmingham. The National Weather Service has posted a heat advisory for the southern portion of Central Alabama including places like Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa, Clanton, Troy, and Demopolis to name a few. But another major change is coming with yet another summer cold front promising to bring thunderstorms on Monday with much cooler and drier air to the Southeast US on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The upper ridge gets pushed back later today with the digging of a strong trough across the Great Lakes region and into the eastern US. This will force a cold front – the fourth one in July this year – into the Southeast US and bring a round of thunderstorms to the area Monday. With the front coming in just a tad faster than I thought yesterday, SPC has defined a specific slight risk area for the development of isolated severe storms capable of damaging wind and perhaps large hail with the front on Monday afternoon mainly in South Alabama and stretching eastward into South Georgia and the coastal area of the Carolinas.

    The trough sweeps in pushing the front well down into the Gulf of Mexico Monday evening setting us up for cooler and drier air once again. Wednesday morning we could see record lows set in Central Alabama. The current record for July 30th is 61 set in 1994 for Birmingham.

    The pattern remains unchanged with a trough over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week, so we’ll see a gradual warming trend as moisture levels slowly come back up. But with the trough pattern over the East I expect us to stay below seasonal averages with highs mainly in the 80s for the latter part of the week and only small chances for showers by the end of the week.

    Not quite as hot and dry at the coast for beach goers. There will be a good supply of sunshine for the coast today with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and Gulf water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s. Monday will be stormy at the beach especially for the afternoon hours, but the weather improves for the rest of the week.

    The tropical Atlantic basin remains generally quiet. NHC is keeping an eye on a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Islands. Tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend but this could change into next week as the wave moves into an area where conditions are expected to be more conducive for development.

    The first half of voodoo country as we head into August looks like a continuation of the eastern US trough pattern. The GFS does indicate a change to a more ridge like pattern with increased warmth as we get into the middle of August.

    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 expect James Spann to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted Monday morning as we watch yet another summertime front come into Alabama. Stay cool today and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather

    “Warnings” – A Review

    Sat, 07/26/2014 - 18:16

    Most of you know I work a pretty long day… up before 5 a.m… not home until around midnight. My passion for weather keeps me going and energized. Unfortunately the long hours prevents me from reading many books, but I was able to finish “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” by my friend Mike Smith this month.

    For those that love weather, this is one of those books that is hard to put down. Not only is it a history of the severe weather warning system in the United States, it also weaves in the personal story of Mike’s long career.

    Most of us in applied meteorology had some event in our childhood that triggered a deep interest in weather. For Mike, it was the Ruskin Heights tornado on May 20, 1957, just south of Kansas City, that was rated EF-5, and would kill 44 people that Monday evening. There were no tornado warnings in 1957; the U.S. Weather Bureau had a fear that that would set off a panic if they even mentioned the immediate threat of a tornado. Mike describes watching news cut-ins during “I Love Lucy” on WDAF as reports came into their newsroom.

    The book goes on to tell the story of the first operational tornado forecast had been issued by Air Force Officers E. J. Fawbush and R. C. Miller at Tinker Air Force Base in 1948. These men laid the foundation for the current watch and warning system in use today.

    There are many case studies in Mike’s book; one of great interest to me is the mircoburst of August 2, 1985 that downed Delta Flight 191, a regularly scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Florida to Los Angeles International Airport, California, by way of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The crash came on the ground of DFW Airport in Texas; I happened to be the chief meteorologist for the CBS station in Dallas at the time, KDFW-TV, Channel 4. The plane went down during the first few minutes of our 6:00 news that evening, and soon it become pretty clear the big thunderstorm near DFW was responsible for the crash, which would kill 137 people.

    Guess I can admit it now, but watching the live news coverage of the crash that night on our competing station, WFAA-TV, had a big impact on me, and inspired me to do long form coverage during tornadoes later in my career when it was allowed by management. Channel 8 did such a good job that night.

    Mike also look at the warning process for Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in deep detail… what went right, and what went wrong. It is especially interesting to read the chapter “Murder by Bureaucracy” concerning Katrina.

    I do believe you need to know where you have been to have a better understanding of where you are going. This history of severe weather warnings in this nation is a very important story for all of us, and Mike did a masterful job of telling it. I encourage all in the weather enterprise, and those interested in weather, to get a copy. It is a very good read.

    Categories: Weather

    Sunny and Hot Saturday

    Sat, 07/26/2014 - 12:53

    It is certainly feeling like July this weekend across the state. The entire state is basking under a sunny sky as a ridge has built in across the region. There are a few fair weather clouds out there, but no showers or storms are showing up anywhere across the state. It is a terrific Saturday, it is just hot and humid, but that is what we expect during the middle of summer.

    Under the sunny sky, our temps are hot this afternoon, as most locations are into the upper 80s and lower 90s. Over the next few hours, those temps will continue to increase, and most spots will see high ranging from 91-95 this afternoon. That is right at or just above seasonal averages for this time of year. For your Sunday, we can expect a near repeat of today, but temps could be a degree or two warmer. Don’t worry though, big changes are ahead, as a cold front will be arriving Monday.

    Categories: Weather

    Hot and Dry for the Weekend

    Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:52

    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.

    The dreaded upper ridge to our west will force itself eastward today and Sunday bringing heat values up while we stay mostly dry across the northern two-thirds of the state of Alabama. Highs will be in the 91 to 95 range today and Sunday with heat indices climbing on Sunday into the 100 to 105 range. But hold on for the weekend, because another major change is coming with yet another summer cold front promising to bring thunderstorms on Monday with much cooler and drier air to the Southeast US on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The upper ridge gets pushed back toward the west late Sunday and into Monday with the digging of a strong trough across the Great Lakes region. This will force a cold front – the fourth one in July this year – into the Southeast US and bring a round of thunderstorms to the area Monday. While no specific slight risk area is defined by SPC, we’ll need to watch for the development of isolated severe storms capable of damaging wind and perhaps large hail with the front on Monday.

    The trough sweeps in pushing the front well down into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday setting us up for cooler and drier air once again. Wednesday morning we could see near record lows for Central Alabama. The current record for July 30th is 61 set in 1994 for Birmingham.

    The pattern remains stuck with a trough over the eastern half of the country for the latter half of the week, so we’ll see a gradual warming trend as moisture levels slowly come back up. But with the trough pattern over the East I expect us to stay below seasonal averages with highs mainly in the 80s for the latter part of the week.

    Not quite as hot and dry at the coast for beach goers. There will be a good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Mobile through the weekend with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and Gulf water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

    The tropical Atlantic basin remains generally quiet. NHC is keeping an eye on a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Islands, but tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend and into early next week.

    The big news for voodoo country watchers is the continuation of the overall troughiness in the upper air pattern for the eastern half of the country. This will keep us out of any extreme heat and ever watchful for more of these anomalous summer-time cold fronts which seem to have become the new standard.

    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 expect to have the next Weather Xtreme Video posted Sunday morning. Stay cool and Godspeed.

    -Brian-

    Categories: Weather

    Hot Weekend; Much Cooler Next Week

    Fri, 07/25/2014 - 15:35

    **No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

    HEAT LEVELS RISING: Showers, as expected, are confined to the southern half of Alabama today. The northern counties are dry, with temperatures generally in the 88-92 degree range.

    The heat will crank up a notch over the weekend; we project highs in the 91-94 degree range both days with a partly sunny sky. Any showers will be few and far between, and mostly over the southern half of the state. The combination of heat and humidity will make it pretty uncomfortable.

    BUT… Another big change next week. A cold front moves through Monday with some risk of a passing shower or storm, followed by a cooler, drier airmass Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday look delightful with sunny days, clear cooler nights, and lower humidity levels. The low early Wednesday morning will be close to 60 degrees, right at record levels for late July in Alabama.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: A good supply of sunshine for the coast from Panama City over to Gulf Shores through early next week with only widely scattered storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s along the immediate coast, and sea water temperatures are generally in the low to mid 80s.

    TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

    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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    I enjoyed speaking at the ALAGASCO service center over in Anniston today… look for my next Weather Xtreme video here Monday morning by 7:00 a.m…. Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

    Categories: Weather

    Drier Air Settles Into North/Central Alabama

    Fri, 07/25/2014 - 06:22

    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.

    PLEASANT SUMMER MORNING: Feels pretty good over North Alabama morning… Fort Payne has dropped to 61 degrees… we also have low 60s at Haleyville, Cullman, and Valley Head. The sky is clear, and the air is dry in the wake of a front that passed through late Thursday.

    Today will feature sunshine in full supply with a high around 90 degrees.

    THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Afternoon heat levels rise; we project low 90s tomorrow and Sunday afternoon, and a few spots over North and West Alabama might even touch the mid 90s. The air will remain dry over the northern half of Alabama, so most communities will remain rain-free over the weekend. A few showers or storms could pop up over the southern counties of the state, but even there they will be widely spaced.

    COOLER NEXT WEEK: A cold front will push through Alabama Monday; still looks like it won’t be an especially big rain event, and the best chance of showers or storms will come during the morning hours. Then, a nice surge of cooler, drier air arrives Monday night.

    We will be very close to record low temperature levels by daybreak Wednesday, with low 60s likely (Birmingham’s record low for July 30 is 61 set in 1994). Humidity levels will be low for the middle of the week with sunny days and fair nights. Moisture levels rise slowly by Thursday and Friday, but widespread rain for now doesn’t look likely.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day along the coast from Panama City west to Gulf Shores through Sunday with only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s, and the sea water temperature early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 82 degrees.

    TROPICS: All remains quiet across the Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

    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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    I will be doing a severe weather program this morning at the ALAGASCO service center in Anniston… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

    Categories: Weather

    Drier Air Moving Into North Alabama

    Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:34

    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.

    RADAR CHECK: A band of showers and storms is over North/Central Alabama ahead of a surface front, which is near I-59…

    Showers are moving southeast, and drier air is entering North Alabama. The dry air will win the battle temporarily, at least for the northern half of the state as the sky becomes clear tonight.

    TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The weather will be mostly rain-free over North Alabama; the risk of a shower tomorrow and Saturday is only about one in ten, barely worth the mention in the forecast. Expect a good supply of hazy sunshine both days, and the high will be close to 90 degrees. A few showers or storms are possible over the southern counties of the state, but even there they should be widely scattered.

    Sunday still looks mostly dry with a high in the low 90s, but a cold front could trigger a few showers or storms Sunday night over North Alabama.

    NEXT WEEK: Showers and storms will end Monday morning, and cooler, drier, continental air will move into Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be very comfortable for a time when the summer heat is usually peaking; we expect lower humidity and cooler nights. We will drop down into the low 60s early Wednesday morning, very close to record low temperature levels for July 30 (Birmingham’s record low is 61 set in 1994). Moisture returns later in the week with scattered showers and storms possible by Thursday and Friday. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

    GULF COAST WEATHER: We project about 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day through Sunday from Panama City to Gulf Shores with only widely scattered thunderstorms. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, and sea water temperatures are in the low to mid 80s.

    TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet, and tropical storm formation is not expected through the weekend.

    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…

    Facebook
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    Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

    Categories: Weather