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More Like September

| 6:26 am July 29, 2014

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.

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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…

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Twitter
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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!

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WeatherBrains 444: Holding Nate Back

| 5:15 am July 29, 2014

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 SurveyListener 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.

    Audible.com graphic

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    Turning Cooler Tonight

    | 3:53 pm July 28, 2014

    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.

    Temperatures

    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
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    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….

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    Severe Thunderstorm Warning Barbour/Pike until 3:45 PM

    | 3:08 pm July 28, 2014

    Aliant Bank is a proud sponsor of AlabamaWX.com!

    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.

    7-28-2014 3-10-42 PM

    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

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    Heat Relief On The Way

    | 6:12 am July 28, 2014

    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.

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    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!

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    An Important Anniversary in Hurricane Forecasting

    | 3:30 pm July 27, 2014

    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.

    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.

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    Tropics Quiet…For Now…

    | 2:00 pm July 27, 2014
    Tropical Storm Bertha next Saturday evening?

    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.

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    Warmest Day of the Year?

    | 11:53 am July 27, 2014

    2014-07-27_11-46-18

    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.

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    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

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