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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: 19 min 38 sec ago

New Model Data Rolling In

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 22:19

We are still working two winter weather events for Alabama… the first is tonight and tomorrow morning due to a “wintry mix”, especially freezing rain.

NEXT 15 HOURS: We still expect icy travel late tonight into tomorrow morning. The HRRR continues to show a mixed bag of snow, sleet, and freezing rain tomorrow (map below is valid at 7am CT)

Icy bridges and roads are possible across North and Central Alabama, as far south as a line from Demopolis to Marion to Clanton to Roanoke, through mid-morning when temperatures rise above freezing (9-10am). Be very careful if you have to drive tonight; Birmingham is down to 33 degrees at 9:00, and ice could begin to form on bridges in the metro area anytime after 10:00.

WEDNESDAY: The new 00Z NAM run is in, and suggests our forecast potential of 2-4″ of snow Wednesday is on target…

This is the forecast from the guys at WPC/NCEP…

TIMING: Still looks like the snow (perhaps mixed with some rain/sleet at the onset) will begin in the 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. time frame Wednesday; the snow becomes heavier Wednesday afternoon before ending Wednesday night.

IMPACT: This could be a high impact event with very significant travel issues Wednesday and Wednesday night, and most likely into Thursday morning as well. Where very heavy, wet snow falls a few scattered power outages are possible as well.

PLACEMENT: One of the hardest part of this forecast is defining the southern extent of the snow, and the northern extent of the rain. This rain/snow line will most likely be south of I-20.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change. Be sure and check for new updates later tonight and early tomorrow.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Evening Update

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 19:45

A winter weather advisory is in effect tonight for much of North/Central Alabama for the potential for light freezing rain/sleet.

TEMPERATURES: They are below freezing now over parts of North and Northwest Alabama…

Counties like Marion, Winston, Franklin, Lawrence, Cullman, Fayette, and Lamar can expect icy travel anytime tonight and early tomorrow morning.

The freeze line should reach Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston, and Gadsden in the 10:00 to 12:00 midnight time frame; after that icy patches will likely develop on bridges and some roads.

TOMORROW MORNING: Interesting to note the high resolution HRRR model shows precipitation changing to snow over East Alabama before ending tomorrow morning…

So, some of you might have a bit of snow early tomorrow. Temperatures should rise above freezing by 10:00 a.m. and roads should be fine tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night.

ROUND TWO: Models still suggest potential for a significant winter snow event for North/Central Alabama Wednesday. We are using an average potential of 2-4″ with isolated amounts to 8″ where the heavier snow band sets up (that is usually a very narrow zone).

The snow should begin Wednesday morning sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m.

MAIN CHALLENGES IN WEDNESDAY’S FORECAST: The southern extent of the snow. For now, we figure most of the snow will be north of a line from Eutaw to Brent to Jemison to Roanoke. Could there be some snow south of that line? Yes.

Understand this forecast can, and will change. Stay tuned…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Icy Travel Tonight; Snow Wednesday

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 16:45

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.

COMPLEX WINTER WEATHER PATTERN: With two events coming up over the next 3 days, including a possible high impact event Wednesday, I again encourage you first to read the things you need to understand about winter weather forecasts. All 10 points are very important.

TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING: A winter weather advisory is up for tonight and tomorrow morning as freezing rain threatens to bring some icy travel. Sleet and snow is now falling over parts of Northwest Alabama…

This will precipitation will continue to expand and move east. We have heard of some icing already on bridges in Marion County near the Mississippi state line, and icy travel is a possibility over Northwest Alabama from now through the night, where temperatures are already below freezing.

The freeze line will slowly drop south tonight, and will be down to the I-20 corridor by 12:00 midnight-3:00 a.m. Then, by daybreak tomorrow, the freeze line will be as far south as Demopolis, Marion, Clanton, Rockford, and Roanoke.

Along and north of the freeze line icy travel is very possible, if not likely tonight. Most school systems have delayed their opening tomorrow; temperatures should rise above freezing by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

We see no weather related issues tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow night.

SNOW POTENTIAL WEDNESDAY: The latest model runs are still on board, the using a conservative ensemble approach, snow amounts of 2 to 4 inches look likely across North/Central Alabama Wednesday, with isolated amounts to 8 inches.

TIMING: The snow should begin sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 Wednesday morning, and continue through the day into Wednesday evening.

PLACEMENT: The greatest chance of snow Wednesday is along and north of a line from Eutaw to Brent to Jemison to Roanoke. Some snow is possible south of this line, but amounts should be small. Precipitation will be rain over the southern half of Alabama. There should be a strip of heavier snow within a deformation axis that is about 30 to 40 miles wide, but there is no way we can resolve that at this point. Within that small strip, some 8 inch totals are possible.

IMPACT: This will impact travel in a big way, and icy/dangerous travel is likely Wednesday, Wednesday night, and into Thursday morning. Scattered power outages are possible where heavier, wet snow develops.

Remember, this forecast can, and most likely will change as we get closer to the event.

THURSDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND: For now the weather looks dry with a slow warming trend; we should reach the 50s by Saturday and Sunday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Pigott about their commitment to their customers.

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.

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I had a great time today visiting with the kids at Northington Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Eden Elementary in Pell City. Be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! More updates to come later tonight… stay tuned…

Categories: Weather

Late Morning Update

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:58

Understand we have TWO winter weather issues ahead… one tonight and tomorrow morning, and another on Wednesday. Both will have an impact…

TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING:

A band of precipitation will move into Alabama tonight. Cold air is now in place…

Initially, freezing rain and maybe some light snow will bring the risk of icy travel to areas north of a line from Reform to Gardendale to Gadsden this evening. Travel issues could begin in this zone as early as 6:00 p.m.

The freeze line will drop south during the night, and by daybreak tomorrow it will be along a line from Livingston to Calera to Wedowee. This means light freezing rain and drizzle overnight could bring icy travel to the larger cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden. A new winter weather advisory has been issued for much of north and central Alabama for this event by the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

Temperatures rise above freezing by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and icy travel issues will fade.

WEDNESDAY:

Morning model runs continue to show a significant snow event for North/Central Alabama. The NAM is the most aggressive short term model… below is potential accumulation from the NAM model. NOT a forecast, just model output.

This model is putting down 4-8 inches of snow around here, which seems too aggressive, but certainly not impossible. Using a more sensible ensemble approach, a 2-3 inch snow forecast looks more reasonable for now.

With classic Gulf low systems like this, there will be a strip of heavier snow, usually 30-40 miles wide, and there is no to determine where this happens now.

Concerning timing, it looks like the snow will begin sometime between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, then continuing through the day.

This could be a high impact event; I will have deeper details on the afternoon discussion.

REMEMBER: The forecast for tonight’s event, and the event Thursday, can, and probably will change. Check the blog often for updates so you won’t be working with old information!

Categories: Weather

Significant Snow Event Wednesday?

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 07:11

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.

NO DULL DAYS IN THE WEATHER OFFICE: We have three issues on the plate this week, and the third one (on Wednesday) will be the big one, most likely. I always encourage you to watch the Weather Xtreme video for all of the graphics that go along with the discussion along with more details. Let’s take all three in chronological order…

1. THIS MORNING: As the HRRR predicted last night, the freeze line has indeed stayed north of Birmingham. Temperatures are in the mid 30s at Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston; any ice issues are confined to areas along and north of U.S. 278, or north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden, where winter advisories remain in effect.

Seems like ice issues are very limited over the northern third of Alabama, and any ice patches will melt away by mid-morning when temperatures go above freezing. Otherwise, today will be cloudy and cold with a high in the low 40s.

2. TONIGHT/TOMORROW MORNING: Yet another wave in the southern branch of the jet stream will bring precipitation to Alabama. The airmass will be colder tonight, and the HRRR suggests a mix of light snow and rain will enter the northwest counties late this afternoon. If you live in Hamilton, Haleyville, or Vernon you might see a snow flake or two, but temperatures at the surface won’t go below freezing until around 10 p.m… so no travel impact early tonight.

Temperatures will be below freezing from around 10:00 tonight through 9:00 tomorrow morning, and it is likely that we see some light freezing rain during this 11 hour window, and there is a very real chance we will have icy travel. I don’t want people to miss this since so many people are talking about Wednesday. Winter weather advisories will most likely be required for parts of North/Central Alabama… they will be issued at midday today for this time frame.

3. WEDNESDAY: We have a classic snow setup for North Alabama, assuming thermal profiles are cold enough for snow. Models do indicate saturation and good lift in the dendritic growth zone, and most are getting on board for a significant snow event. A low pressure center in the northern Gulf will move up into North Florida, a favored snow track for North Alabama.

This is the snow potential from WPC (75 percentile)…

And, the Short Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) plume viewer shows a mean of about 3 inches for Birmingham (the black line is the mean), with some ensemble members going much higher…

It is very important to note that right now we can’t be specific with accumulation forecasts, placement, impact, or timing. That comes later today. For now, just be aware there is potential for a signifiant snow event somewhere across North/Central Alabama Wednesday that COULD be a high impact event. Please read the “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts” if you haven’t already.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: These two days look just cold and dry with a partly sunny sky; the high Thursday will be near 40, with mid 40s Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The warming trend continues. Expect mostly sunny weather both days; we reach 50 degrees Saturday afternoon, with mid 50s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: The GFS shows a strong surface low moving through the Southern Plains, and much warmer air moving into Alabama (the GFS is printing a high of 67 for Birmingham Monday). This could set the stage for strong thunderstorms early in the week; keep in mind the spring tornado season kicks off Sunday (March 1). Again, see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and 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. 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…

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ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

I have weather programs today at Northington Elementary in Tuscaloosa, and Eden Elementary in Pell City. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day…

Categories: Weather

Pre-Dawn Monday Update

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 05:22

NWS Birmingham has dropped the winter advisories for Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, where temperatures remain above freezing…

And, precipitation is moving rapidly to the east, with just some freezing drizzle remaining over the northern third of the state, where the surface temperatures are below 32…

Just be aware icy patches are possible along and north of U.S. 278 early this morning (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden).

Now we can deal with tomorrow and Wednesday as more winter weather issues are ahead. A full discussion and new Weather Xtreme video are coming up shortly.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a

Late Night Look at Alabama’s Weather

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 01:48

Mixed precipitation is spreading across North and North Central Alabama tonight ahead of an approaching upper level disturbance even as colder air is slowly filtering into the state from the north.

North of a line from Russellville to Moulton to Athens, the precipitation is mixed freezing rain and rain. South of the line, the precip is all rain.

Temperatures are falling however, and through the overnight hours, Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, Winston, Colbert, Cullman, De Kalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall and Morgan Counties will see the best opportunities for the precip to produce accumulating ice. Icing amounts should be about 0.10 inches in the winter weather advisory area.

To the south, across Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker and Winston Counties, there will be mostly rain, but some patches of freezing rain will be mixed in.

Remember, it only takes a small amount of freezing rain to cause big travel problems. Please check the latest conditions early in the morning before venturing out. Most area school systems have delayed their openings.

The precip will quickly switch over to all rain in all areas by 9-10 a.m.

There is lots of uncertainty in the forecast moving forward, but there could be more wintry precip tonight and early Tuesday and don’t look now, but the NAM shows a decent accumulating snow for North Central Alabama Wednesday night.

Categories: Weather

Sunday Night Look

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 21:47

We continue to watch radar/temperature trends tonight. One of our better performing high resolution, short term models is the HRRR, and it is suggesting the freeze line will be north of Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston/Gadsden early tomorrow morning…

If this is indeed the case, most of the freezing rain issues will be north of U.S. 278 (north of a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden). However, even good, high resolution models often can be poor at thermal fields in a very shallow, cold airmass, so those down to I-59 still need to be ready for ice travel early tomorrow.

To the north, Nashville is getting close to freezing, and the 32 degree line should slip into North Alabama after midnight…

It is going to be the classic timing issue with cold air coming in from the north, as the deeper moisture begins to lift out early tomorrow morning.

NWS advisories have not changed.

BOTTOM LINE: Since icy travel is still possible down to I-59 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden) early tomorrow, but the higher probability of travel impact is a bit to the north. Get up extra early tomorrow and check on road conditions before you head out. I will have a full discussion and a new Weather Xtreme video posted early tomorrow.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Winter Weather Potential Update

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 17:23

Let me say up front this is a low confidence forecast, with bit questions involving the placement of the deepest moisture and the timing of the cold air moving in from the north. Some of you will simply have a cold rain tomorrow, while others will have freezing rain with icy travel. Defining the line is a big challenge, but for now we won’t make too many changes in our ongoing forecast.

No change in the NWS advisories…

This is a 15 hour loop of the HRRR model, which shows the wintry mix potential across the northern third of Alabama late tonight and early tomorrow…

We note the HRRR, which is generally a very reliable short term high resolution model, keeps the freeze line north of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston, hinting these cities could stay in the mid 30s with the freezing rain issues generally north of U.S. 278. But, this is a very shallow layer of cold air, and even high resolution models can struggle with low level thermal fields (as was the case last Friday).

But this is our ongoing forecast….

TIMING: Freezing rain/sleet/snow is possible over Northwest Alabama as early as 10:00 tonight. Main threat of the wintry mix, however, will come for most between midnight tonight and 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

PLACEMENT: The southern extent of the potential icy travel will be roughly along I-20. The northern extent will be close to the Tennessee River.

ACCUMULATION: There won’t be too much snow involved, but some spots in Northwest Alabama could see 1/4″. Most will see freezing rain; amounts to 0.10″ are possible. Precipitation will be light, but we all know it doesn’t take much to create icy travel.

IMPACT: Not enough ice for any power outages, but enough ice is certainly possible for travel difficulties.

Again we stress changes remain possible in this forecast. See our “ten things people need to know about winter weather forecasts”.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates through the night….

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Wide Disparity in Temperatures

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 17:08

Clouds are thick across Central Alabama this afternoon. You can see the precipitation over Arkansas and northern Texas ahead of the next disturbance that will bring a potential wintry mix to North and North Central Alabama late tonight and early Monday.

There is a wide disparity in temperatures across the state, ranging from the upper 30s over Northwest Alabama to the upper 40s in the I-59 corridor to near 70F at Montgomery.

Afternoon model data is pretty much on track and consistent, showing some scattered pockets of freezing rain embedded in a precipitation shield that will move across Alabama late tonight and early Monday. NO change in advisories or our official forecast. Scroll down for further details.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Sounding Comparison

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 15:26

In an earlier post, I noted that the big problem with winter weather in the Southeast US is the uncertainty and how much difference small changes can make in the weather and the impact of that weather. When the latest 12Z GFS model output started coming in, I grabbed two model soundings from the model grid points that were just north and just south of Birmingham. There is no grid point right on the city unfortunately. I’ve combined the two soundings into one image below (you can click for a larger view). The blue line highlighted with a blue arrow at the end of the line runs along the freezing line.

What the model sounding shows is a freezing rain sounding north of Birmingham where the warm layer is thinner and the cold air adjacent to the ground is thick than that of the warm layer for the grid point south of Birmingham where the cold air next to the ground is thinner. But you will also note that there is some separation between the red line (temperature) and green line (dew point), so there is some room for evaporation, a cooling process, to occur in both soundings. And that’s one of the big unknowns as to whether or not the model has accounted accurately for evaporative cooling.

So when you look at these two soundings, you can see why it is a “close call” and the “close” part happens to cut right through a major metropolitan area because weather doesn’t give a flip for political boundaries.

I simply implore everyone to be safe and don’t take any chances with winter weather.

-Brian-

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Early Afternoon Look at Model Data

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 13:57

We continue to carefully monitor the latest indications from models and synoptic data about the potential threat of wintry precipitations late tonight through early Monday morning and again early Tuesday morning.

Once again, these are low probability, low certainty but high impact events, so we have to take them very seriously. The high uncertainty means there is a high probability that the forecast will be wrong for many. It is the age old problem of forecasting winter weather in Central Alabama.

Snow is pushing across Oklahoma and northern Texas early this afternoon in association with a stronger upper level disturbance. This precipitation will continue southeastward through this afternoon and evening.

Further south and east, a mixed bag of precipitation will develop from west to east this afternoon into tonight. For Central and northern Arkansas, it will be snow. Across Northeast Texas, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, northern Mississippi and North and Central Alabama, a mix of freezing rain and sleet will fall.

For us in Central Alabama, the result will be a shield of mixed winter precipitation that will begin pushing across the area late tonight when temperatures are near or below freezing. This has triggered a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service for tonight into early Monday morning. The devil is in the details as they, so let’s dig into some details.

Here is the current forecast thinking: Scattered showers will persist through the day in areas generally along and south of I-59, but there will be a few over northern sections as well. This activity will begin to pick up by sunset as that Texas disturbance moves this way. By midnight, the freezing line will be somewhere near US-28 from Hamilton to Gadsden and it will try to edge southward through the night. Freezing rain will be possible in areas from Marion and Lamar Counties across Fayette, Walker and Winston Counties through the pre-dawn hours. As the disturbance passes to our east after midnight, the colder air will begin to flood southward, bringing the freezing line with it. The freezing line will be into the I-59 corridor by sunrise, leading to a threat for freezing rain further south across Pickens and Tuscaloosa Counties across Jefferson, Blount, St. Clair, Etowah and Cherokee Counties.

The real threat is that the models aren’t handling the shallow cold air correctly, so everything comes with a caveat that the model output could be biased against freezing precipitation in this situation.

The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker and Winston Counties until 9 a.m. Monday and a freezing rain advisory for Blount, Cherokee, Etowah, Jefferson, Pickens, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa Counties.

From the NWS Birmingham website…

A “Winter Weather Advisory” is issued for a winter weather situation that causes significant inconveniences, but does not meet warning (see above) criteria. The winter weather can still be life threatening if caution is not exercised. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued if more than one type of hazardous winter weather is expected, is occurring, or is imminent:
• Sleet (ice pellets) accumulations of less than 1/2″
• Freezing rain/drizzle (ice) accumulations less than 1/4″
• Snowfall accumulations of 1/4″ to 2″ (A dusting of snow does not require an advisory)

A Freezing Rain Advisory is issued as part of a Winter Weather Advisory (WSW), with specific headlines within the WSW when ice accumulations of less than ¼ inch are expected.

To the north, the NWS in Huntsville has issued a Winter Weather Advisory until 9 a.m. Monday for for Colbert, Cullman, De Kalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan [AL] till Feb 23, 9:00 AM CST

Now for the morning model data…

4 KM NAM
The 4 km NAM is on track with the forecast. It shows some freezing rain moving across the Tennessee Valley after midnight with the freezing line near US-278, dropping to a lie from Millport (Lamar County) to Moores Bridge (Tuscaloosa County) to Warrior and Clay (Jefferson County) to Gadsden and then along the DeKalb/Cherokee county line. Additional patches of freezing rain are embedded in the precipitation along and north of the freezing line, mainly across Lamar, Marion, Fayette, Walker and Winston Counties.

NAM
The NAM is a little more bullish on precipitation amounts and the intensity of freezing rain, especially across northern Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Cullman and northeastern Jefferson County.

GFS
The American global model is right in line too.

RPM
Basically in line as well.

MONDAY NIGHT
The GFS does not output much in the way of precipitation. Interestingly it does show a brief changeover to snow late Monday afternoon however. The 4km NAM shows a batch of precipitation moving across North Central Alabama late Monday afternoon and Monday night, with some embedded freezing rain, but no widespread problems. The NAM is much more bullish on freezing precip well down into the I-20 corridor during the evening and into the overnight.

BOTTOM LINE
This is a developing winter weather situation that will have to be monitored closely through the overnight and into Monday morning and again Monday evening and night. There will be travel problems in scattered areas it appears during the predawn hours up through 8-9 a.m. in parts of the advisory areas, most likely the winter weather advisory area, but folks in the freezing rain advisory area will have scattered problems.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Winter Weather Advisory Expanded

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 11:56

It now includes all of North Alabama…

Scroll down for complete details on what to expect…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Wintry Mix Late Tonight and Monday

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 10:42

A complex weather scenario is setting up for Central Alabama for tonight and the first part of Monday. The map just below is the National Weather Service map showing the advisories for the northern half of Alabama. The counties of Marion, Winston, Lamar, Fayette, and Walker are within a winter weather advisory from 10 pm tonight through 9 am Monday where a wintry mix could lead to a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation. The rest of Central Alabama along the Interstate 59 corridor is in a freezing rain advisory from 3 am Monday through 9 am Monday where ice accumulation is expected to be less than a tenth of an inch.

Please remember that an advisory means that conditions are likely to become hazardous and in this situation are likely to make travel difficult. An advisory is a warning of sorts for difficult conditions but it falls just short of a full fledged warning.

As is usually the case – and is for Monday morning – Central Alabama will be in that boundary where a wintry mix of precipitation is possible. That means that there is still some forecast uncertainty. If the atmosphere should warm just a degree or so more than we expect, we may end up with nothing to write about. But the problem comes in the other direction – should the atmosphere cool a degree or so more than expected, and we could have a major mess on our hands. There is no way to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN. But weather forecasters are doing their utmost best to provide good information to you for you to make decision using. Erring on the side of caution means erring on the side of safety, so be weather ready!

Another picture of what is expected appears in the blog posts below this one and will be updated as we see how the atmosphere is changing. Stay tuned.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Cold Air Returns

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 08:43

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 weather really warmed up nicely yesterday with most of Central Alabama topping out in the lower to middle 60s before the rain began moving in around sunset. With the rain temperatures fell to the lower and middle 50s and most locations saw an inch or more of rain. Temperatures have been steady this morning, and these values will be the highs for the day as cold air returns allowing temperatures to hold or fall this afternoon. We should dry out a little in that the widespread showers this morning should diminish for the late morning and afternoon. But precipitation is forecast to return this evening and into Monday morning and therein lies the problem.

Without any sun today and with cold advection underway, temperatures will not be going up and are actually expected to fall during the day. We should drop below freezing in the early morning hours of Monday, perhaps a little earlier with the onset of more precipitation. The NWS in Birmingham has issued winter weather advisories for much of Central Alabama along and north of the Interstate 59 corridor for a mixture of wintry precipitation that could include some ice accumulation resulting in travel issues Monday morning. At this writing, the NWS in Huntsville has issued only a special weather statement about the potential for a wintry mix.

Timing of the winter weather will be somewhat tricky, but the northwest counties of Central Alabama including Winston, Marion, Lamar, Fayette, and Walker can expect wintry precipitation to begin as early as about 9 or 10 pm and continuing until late morning Monday. For the rest of the counties along the Interstate 59 corridor, the wintry precipitation is expected to begin a little later, generally from about midnight through 4 am and continue until close to noon on Monday.

Precipitation should end or switch back to liquid as we gradually warm above freezing during the late morning and early afternoon hours of Monday. We’ve said it here numerous times, but it bears repeating. Winter weather situations are very fluid and only a degree or two here or there can make a dramatic change to the weather we experience. There is always some uncertainty in any weather forecast, so for your safety and peace of mind, stay informed on the latest information here or through radio and television stations.

There is another shot at a wintry mix of precipitation on Tuesday morning which has the potential for creating some travel issues again. There’s even more uncertainty this far out as the GFS has trended a bit drier in the latest run. With cold air pushing a bit further south on Tuesday morning, we could see a light wintry mix down into counties south of Interstate 20. But that’s definitely a stay tuned item!

The overall weather pattern remains busy with an active southern stream upper flow pattern. The overall long wave trough keeps the eastern half of the country cold, but it does look like we moderate enough across the southern tier of the US that we should see whatever precipitation that occurs to come in the form of rain without winter weather concerns. Lows will continue to drop to near 30 with highs mainly in the upper 40s and lower 50s through the end of the week. So it looks like February will come in as one of the colder ones on record.

Looking into voodoo country, a strong upper closed low is forecast to come out of the southern Rockies around March 3rd, and this has the potential for bringing strong to severe storms with it. And the southern stream remains active with yet another short wave trough around the 6th and again around the 9th. Sometimes there is just no rest when you are dealing with the weather.

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)

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Remember to keep checking back here for updates as this whole weather situation unfolds. James Spann will have the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning. Enjoy the day, be safe, and Godspeed.

-Brian-

Categories: Weather

Ice Issues Possible Tomorrow Morning

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 07:43

This discussion concerns potential travel issues for tomorrow morning; Brian will be along shortly with the regular discussion and a new Weather Xtreme video.

The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for freezing rain advisory for parts of North/Central Alabama for late tonight and tomorrow morning…

TIMING: As temperatures fall to freezing, a “wintry mix” of sleet and freezing rain could begin over Northwest Alabama as early as 10:00 p.m. However, the main threat of icy travel will come from roughly 3:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

ACCUMULATION: Precipitation should be light. Some snow is possible over Northwest Alabama, but amounts should be under 1/4″. Ice accumulation will be generally 0.10″ or less. But, understand takes very little ice for travel issues to develop, as we all know.

PLACEMENT: This is the challenging part; for now it looks like the greatest risk of significant wintry precipitation will come generally along and south of U.S. 278 (Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden), and north I-20 (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston).

IMPACT: Temperatures soared into the 60s yesterday, and while we should slowly fall through the 40s today, roads and infrastructure are not as cold, so it looks like the main concern here will be bridge icing, with only limited ice amounts on black top roads. But then again, we are meteorologists and not highway engineers, so we need to ready for ice just about anywhere.

REMEMBER: This forecast can, and probably will change later today. Check for later updates….

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather

Evening Radar Check

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 17:40

Rain is moving into Alabama this evening and will continue to overspread much of North-Central Alabama. There are even a few thunderstorms embedded within the rain shield. Through the evening and into the overnight hours, expect the rain to increase in coverage as we are all in store for a soaking.

With some of the storms, there will certainly be lightning, but gusty winds, very heavy rainfall, and even some small hail will be possible. We are not expecting any severe storms in Alabama, but certainly a few strong storms will be possible the next several hours.

As we zoom in on the radar, we do note at this time, the more intense activity is stretching from near Athens, back to the southwest towards Tupelo and back towards the Interstate 55 corridor in Central Mississippi. This main line continues to move off towards the southeast. Ahead of the main band of rain, temps are well into the 50s across North Alabama and 60s along the Interstate 20 corridor. Back behind this area, you will notice temps are in the 30s in Memphis. This colder air will arrive in Central Alabama on Sunday.

Click image to enlarge.

Categories: Weather

February Cold So Far

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 14:46

Central Alabama is certainly enjoying a break from the incessant cold we’ve been experiencing today, and I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy it. Just out of curiosity, I decided to explore our monthly temperatures to date. So far, with about a week of February to go, we are running about seven (7) degrees colder than our 30-year average monthly highs and lows. The actual values are below.

-Brian-

High Low 30-year Average 58.3 35.4 February, 2015 51.1 27.7
Categories: Weather

Midday Saturday Update

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 12:44

After a wild week of weather in the state, we are in a transition period today. Temps are finally above freezing across the entire state, and we are actually seeing quite the range in temperatures from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley today. Currently there is over a 30 degree temperature range. Locations across the North Alabama that saw the ice yesterday continue to see improving conditions as temps continue to climb well above freezing.

It remains a cloudy day, and though the cloud covers remains in place, we will remain under the influence of warm air advection and we will continue to see our temps warm today, as well as see our moisture levels increase. That means the clouds will hang around all day, and we will actually see them increase in coverage and thickness.

Underneath all those clouds we are seeing precipitation falling across much of the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys. This precip will be spreading into Central Alabama later today and into tonight. We will see periods of rain, and yes maybe even hear some rumbles of thunder later tonight. With temps above freezing there will be no issues with wintry precip the next 24 hours in Alabama. Just make sure you have the umbrella handy.

Categories: Weather

Concerning Monday

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 11:13

The new GFS run still shows good potential for yet another “wintry mix” across Central Alabama late tomorrow night into Monday morning.

Highest risk of ice accumulation will be near the I-20 corridor, and this could have a significant impact on travel Monday morning. We will have a more specific update later today, but this is just to give you a “heads up” on the situation.

Precipitation looks to be light, but we all know it doesn’t take much freezing rain to bring big travel headaches. Seems like the highest risk of sleet/freezing rain will come from about midnight Sunday night through 9:00 a.m. Monday.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Categories: Weather