Pineapple Express Stays Active – Still Cold

| January 18, 2007 @ 3:22 pm | 34 Replies

The Thursday afternoon edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player below, and on iTunes:

What a winter weather pattern we have. The northern branch of the jet delivering Arctic air over most of the continental U.S., and the southern branch, the Pineapple Express, delivering moisture and a stream of waves moving across the southern part of the nation. This pattern has snow and ice all over it; and the worst may be yet to come. The Alabama snow lovers have to love this set-up; if we come away with no snow or ice here (North Alabama) during the next five weeks, it will be a minor miracle. Looks the southern winter storm machine stays locked and loaded for the foreseeable future.

SHORT TERM: Mostly cloudy and cold weather continues through Saturday. Ripples in the southern stream will mean the risk of a few ice pellets or areas of drizzle in a few spots, but the weather will be generally dry. Sunshine will be very limited due to the constant high altitude moisture feed from the west. Highs will remain in the 40s; the GFS MOS remains way too warm.

THE WEEKEND: A major winter storm will bring a big pile of snow to places like Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, and Oklahoma City tomorrow night into Saturday. Some significant snow is possible as far south as I-20, or a line from Abilene to Dallas. The might be measuring the snow in terms of feet instead of inches across parts of the Texas South Plains (around Lubbock). That storm will move into Alabama on Sunday; as discussed here in recent days we think there will be enough warm air advection with the system for a cold rain; any snow or ice should be confined to the Tennessee border and points north.

NEXT WEEK: Very complicated. Rain should diminish a bit, or maybe move south of here, on Monday. The next upper air shot wave in the southern jet will bring more snow into Texas and Oklahoma, and there is some potential that upper wave spins up a surface low in the Northwest Gulf of Mexico on Monday. This means the potential for wintry precipitation (snow, sleet, or freezing rain) for PARTS of the Deep South; no way to resolve details right now. This would be in the Tuesday-Tuesday night-early Wednesday time frame (January 23-24)… yeah, I know, the GFS keeps the precipitation with the wave south of us, but the GFS has not been good with specific events in this situation. Lets get the Sunday system on by us and we can focus on this.

LONG RANGE: Watch the video and see how the 12Z GFS offers opportunities for severely cold weather and occasional winter storm threats here for the next 16 days. I do believe this will be a winter to remember for some, if not most people across the Deep South. I know that makes lots of people mad when I make this statement, but I am not here to make anyone happy or angry; I am here to simply tell you what I think the weather will do based on the best science and the years of experience I have.

“THE WEATHER CHANNEL”: Lots of comments on my discussion with Rick and Bubba this morning about the woman on “The Weather Channel” who says those of us who believe the warming in recent years is natural should have our AMS seal revoked. This lady should have at least waited until the summer when the weather is a little warmer! I thought the man-made global warming crowd was all about tolerance and the First Amendment… guess not. They want tolerance unless you disagree with them. I will write a long blog post about this later… just too much going now.

WEATHER PARTY: Join the party and check out the latest weather news over on our sister site, Always some interesting reading over there. Remember, you can register and you can submit links and vote on them to determine what is published on the main page.

Running a little behind this afternoon… I enjoyed speaking to a big Bible study group this morning at Indian Springs Baptist Church… I will have the next Weather Xtreme video posted by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow!


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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

Comments (34)

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  1. Jake says:

    Alright, I just have to ask – where does this “Pineapple express” term come from? James, anybody?

  2. Greg says:

    It si due to the southern flow coming from Hawaii and they grow pineapples in Hawaii. At least that is what I have been told.

  3. Snow Dreamer AKA Michael Mills says:

    Hey Greg you are right on target that’s where that term comes from. Now as far as the weather channel from what that lady said I will not look at the weather channel again at one time my tv would be set on that channel but now I have it on 33/40, and it’s been there for years. I think we will see snow before winter is over so come on and let it snow.

  4. Satan says:

    4 inches of snow within 3 weeks. Watch.

  5. Kelly says:

    Where did this screen name come from? Satan? I don’t want anything from Satan! Not even snow!

  6. Sue says:

    IMHO… Everything is subject to interpretation… What I hear being said by James is that certain conditions are required in North Alabama to receive winter precip and it appears that those conditions are favorable. As in most professions experience matters. James has enough experience with our weather to have a competent opinion on the data. That is one reason why I don’t listen to tv weather persons that read the telepromp and wave hands over the maps, i.e. weather channel.

    I don’t read the blog for a forecast. I read the blog because most of us love weather and love to talk about weather.

    Let it snow! (And then when I hear James say we have several opportunities, I remember my Mother saying be careful what you wish for) So let it snow, no ice or damage, and everyone safe.

  7. Jake says:

    This question is for Satan (#4 post):

    So… just what is a snowballs chance in he**?

    – Come on – a little humor for a Thursday afternoon.

  8. Shadowfax says:

    Still, if I didn’t know better I’d think James Spann owns stock in Meritta Bread or Barber’s Dairy as often as he mentions snow and ice in his forecasts. Personally, I hope he’s wrong in his thoughts that this will be a winter for the south to remember for some time. It almost sounds as if he wishes for the worst. If he wants to be in a coverage area where snow is part of the annual forecast, move.

    I hate snow because none of the local governments can handle it. We loose power, the streets are impassible, and life is miserable. And it doesn’t take much to shut us down. Those who like snow, take a vacation and go to the Carolinas. Wade up to your waist in the stuff for as long as you like.

    And yes, I understand he’s forecasting the worst so everyone will be prepared. I guess he still has scars from 1995 where he said it was going to be a light dusting of snow. Regardless of the reasons, I think his forecasts should be done with a level of responsibility and not so heavily on the side of the “worst case scenerio”. I want to know what it’s likely to do, not what it could do.

    Heck, under that premise, why aren’t we having nightly earthquake reports? It could happpen you know.

  9. Kelly says:

    If you don’t like the way he forecasts, don’t read. Those of us who do will stay. I believe we’ve all heard your Merita Bread / Barber’s yada, yada,. There are other forecasters who have blogs– I’ve checked on one of them and he hasn’t had a comment in a while; Why don’t you help him out?

  10. Tagat says:

    James dose not do this video as a “Official” forecast,he save that for his weather segment on the news. He can say stuff here that he would not say then. He use this format to disscuss models and trend with out people with more than just a passing interest in the daily weather. I personal(and think most people who watch the video)appreate alot. At least he takes time out of his busy day to share his true feelings to all of us weather geeks.

  11. Rob says:

    Not a big deal but in the forecast it is mentioned that Alaska is the 50th state but Alaska was accepted to the Union before Hawaii making it the 49th, just something this history/weather geek noticed. I want snow too been far too long without it. The blog and videos are for trends and possibilities and if you want the true forecast watch the TV but I for one will wade through all the “worst case scenarios” if it saves just ONE life.

  12. Mikey says:

    Hey Satan…how’s Saddam?

  13. “Shadowfax Says: I want to know what it’s likely to do, not what it could do.”

    Then just listen to him on TV, or his 7 day web forecast and he will tell you what is is likely to do. He is usually correct on his 7 day forecast at least up to 5 days.

  14. Dave Jones says:

    Global warming: I’m no scientist, I don’t know if man is entirely responsible for global warming as the Al Gore liberal crowd would lead you to believe or, it is a natural earth weather cycle. I do know when you disagree with someone who I believe has a liberal agenda as Heidi Cullen, at The Weather Channel they try to shut you up. I try to avoid political discussions with people as this as my experience, they will shout you down, find a way to silence you or call you some obscene name.

  15. Kelly says:

    I still can’t believe that someone would think an occassional snow would make life miserable! It doesn’t stay long enough to make life miserable! You play in it and make memories for you and your children. We did go to Gatlinburg last year to see snow; but there is nothing like seeing your own surroundings in a brand new way. We’ve lived in our neighborhood for 10 years without snow and I’ve got my eye on some hills that I know would be perfect for sledding. I want to set up a hot cocoa stand instead of lemonade. I want to play until our fingers are painful, come in, change clothes, eat hot chili, rest and then wait for the next energy surge. If it doesn’t snow we will get over it, but it is so fun to talk about the chance that it could. If we do get mad about it, it won’t be at James! I’ll only get mad if he says it is 100% and it doesn’t. I think we can figure out that 40% means a 4 in 10 chance.

  16. Robbie says:

    Hi, Its been a long time since I’ve been on the site (sorry) but I really appreciate all the effort James puts into this blog. I enjoy reading his thoughts ( not forecast ). I think some people get the two confused. Also where did the old weather forum that the so called weekend forecasters would make their predictions/ forecast go to? It was fun reading everyone’s thoughts.

  17. Vic Bell says:

    Robbie, are you talking about ?

  18. Tom says:

    Kelly, Great post, no need to write, you have said it all..Thanks..

  19. Shadowfax says:

    Show of hands… how many of you “snow lovers” lived here in 1995 or the ice storm a few years later? Have you seen how this city shuts down when a slight dusting occurs?

    I’m sure I’ll see a few hands raised but my guess is few had to live without power for ten days because of the snow. Few watched the city and county sand trucks sit idle for days. Few watched Alabama Power sit on thier hands for days.

    I come to this site because, and here’s my positive, it has more weather information on it than most weather sites. I can look at the information provided and draw my own conclusions.

    I just don’t think it’s responsible for a weatherman, meteorologist, forecaster, crystal ball reader, etc. to predict that this winter will be one that we won’t forget for some time to come.

  20. Hoping for snow says:

    I’ll raise my hand! I’ve lived here all my life and I am a “snow lover”. It was my oldest daughter’s first snow and it was great. I was stuck for 4 days working as a nurse in a busy trauma center during the snow of 1992. I loved the snow, but not being stuck at work instead of home with my husband that just returned from the military. While I hope we don’t lose power, even if we do, I will be glad that my children had the experience of snow and all the fun it was to me as a child. Everyone has an opinion but I guess it is how you look at it. I also was without power for over a week in 1992 and a full week during the Katrina event. While it was a hardship on us, I felt we were blessed compared to our southern neighbors and didn’t feel that I had the right to complain.

  21. Tagat says:

    Shadowfax “Show of hands… how many of you “snow lovers” lived here in 1995 or the ice storm a few years later? Have you seen how this city shuts down when a slight dusting occurs?”

    I have lived in Talladega county since 1990.Sure we lost power in blizzard ’93. But we were somewhat prepared for the power outage we had a generator bought for the lose of power during spring weather(tonadoes hurricanes).When we lost power for a week it let us spend more time with family and talked and play games and such that we never did up till that point.Luckley we live in the south and weather changes very rapidily from cold to warm. power and life returned to normal. I don’t want ice but nothing is wrong with a little snow.

  22. Hoping for snow says:

    Also, if I want to know what the temperature might be today, whatever news I’m watching is okay, but April 8th tornadoes, I was watching James Spann. When Ivan was brewing, James Spann. Katrina, James Spann. He’s who I trust and I think he realizes there are times that what he says means life or death and he takes that mission very seriously. From what I can tell, he’s a pretty spiritual guy and I want to hear from someone that has talked to the Guy that creates the weather.

  23. Kelly says:

    Amen, Hoping for Snow! How could you believe that he’s in this for bribes from bread and milk co. when he asks us to follow the money trail about global warming? I know you are kidding about the milk and bread, but you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about something. Did you know that playing in the snow could help you relieve tension and stress?

  24. Tom says:

    I’ll raise my hand! I’ve lived here since 1976, and I am a “snow lover”. I moved here from Florida in ’76. I’ve been through the major ice storm of 1982 as a senior in high school, as well as all the other winter storms. My oldest son just has faint memories of ’93, and wishes for snow every winter.. as Kelly’s post above I’ve got my eye on a few hills by my house..(even a good piece of cardboard will do)..T

  25. John Talbot says:

    WOOOOOOOO! Gotta ’em’ coming out of the “wood works” now . Gonna be a looooong next couple of weeks or two isn’t it . LOL

  26. Chris says:

    I am going to post comments on the 18z GFS model..I am not going to give my forecast and I do not wish to stir up issues…This is just simply saying what the GFS is spitting out over the next few weeks…

    Heavy rain comes in Sunday and Monday…I agree with James that the GFS shows a low forming in the Gulf on Monday but only issue for snow lovers is the bulk of rain comes in after midnight Monday and Tuesday morning when the 540 snow line is in NW Tennessee and the 0 celcius freeze line is across southern Tennessee. So it will be a rain event “according to the GFS”. Now, on back side of system some very light snow could be on backside and there appears to be a changeover to snow between 6pm and midnight on Tuesday. It will be likely flurries to a dusting. Looks pretty cold for next week after the Sun-tues system. Another gulf storm tries to form around 1/30/07…looks to be a close call for extreme northern Alabama but at this time looks like mainly a cold rain for most of the state. Again, storm tries to pull some colder air southward and rain could briefly change to light snow before ending on Wednesday 1/31/07. Another major storm forms in gulf around 2/3/07 and looks like a warm air advection event with all rain and again, possibly a change over before ending….so, while I agree we will have cold and unsettled patterns over the next month or so in my opinion we always seem to warm up enough for all rain and as we all know..any snow on the backside of a system never gets us a good snowfall…I am hoping for snow and there will be some close calls and I do feel Tennessee has a great chance of seeing decent snows…we just need that cold air to be in place at the right time…and…in Alabama…that is always difficult.

  27. Tom says:

    Hey John, Cool, World Wide Wood Workers, that would be ‘wwww’ LOL.. T

  28. Chris M. says:

    The best memories I had as a child (and even as an adult) was tough extreme weather times. Power outages, ice storms, road closures and even hurricanes that brought the family together and brings life back the days to simpler times, playing board games, cards or even outdoors in the snow making a snowman as a family to make the best of it. That’s my biggest enjoyment of snows in Alabama and when it does close things down – value the family time as it brings out the best in families, fiends and neighbors!

  29. bryan says:

    I believe that there is not enough evidence for myself to make a decision on what causes globel warming.I do believe,however,that one should not assume anything,including God’s creation of this planet.Scientific facts is what I try to base many decisions on in my life.I respect all religion,including freedom of NO religion!-and as for Rick @ Bubba- They are a disgrace to this state.I love the WEATHER CHANNEL as well.

  30. Kelly says:

    Then you may not have a lot in common with the bloggers on this site-

  31. debby says:

    funny Kelly, he won’t stay around long..the big snow was ’93..the blizzard, the big ice storm was in ’82, been around a long time remember the all well. My youngest born in ’96 hasn’t got to play in a real snow and would be thrilled to do so. I agree with Chris I kinda like the extreme stuff, it does make for simpler life, and I’v had my share of power outs, loved ones stuck in a hospital, cows to feed no matter the conditions, etc so bring it on..I can’t wait!

  32. Jeff says:

    Chris not even James knows what will happen late next week or beyond. We will see if your opinion is right. Might be! might not!

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