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Hotter Afternoons, Fewer Showers

| 1:08 pm July 6, 2015

CALMER WEATHER AHEAD: The persistent northwest flow aloft pattern that was over Alabama has broken down, and the weather will be calmer this week. The northwest flow brought a series of waves and boundaries down this way enhancing shower and thunderstorm formation, but now we have an upper ridge building in, and that will mean hotter afternoons and fewer showers and thunderstorms.

We have little showing up on radar this afternoon, but a “pop up” shower or storm will remain possible in random places through the evening hours.

REST OF THE WEEK: A decent chance we see a high at 90 degrees tomorrow, making it the first day with a 90 degree high since June 29. Going consecutive days under 90 in Alabama in late June and July is pretty remarkable. During the peak of the daytime heating process tomorrow, we might see a shower or two, but they should be very widely spaced.

Then, we expect very typical July weather Wednesday through Friday with partly sunny days, and the risk of “widely scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms”. Highs will be in the 90 to 93 degree range, and the chance of any one spot getting wet will be only in the 20 percent range.

THE WEEKEND: A 5940 meter 500 mb ridge will be on top of us, so most communities will be dry Saturday and Sunday, although, of course, one or two afternoon storms could fire up in the hot, humid environment.


We have plentiful soil moisture, and that will help to keep heat levels down a bit (part of the sun’s energy is used to evaporate soil moisture, instead of heating the ground, which heats the air).. still afternoon highs should be somewhere between 92 and 95 both days with a good supply of hazy sunshine through scattered cumulus clouds.

NEXT WEEK: The ridge breaks down, and a new upper trough forms over the eastern half of the nation, meaning temperatures should trend downward, with a better chance of scattered showers and storms by mid-week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: About 7 to 9 hours of sunshine each day through the weekend on the Central Gulf Coast from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores, and of course you will probably see a passing storm from time to time. Highs on the coast will be in the mid to upper 80s, with low 90s inland. Sea water temperatures are running mostly in the low 80s.

TROPICS: The Atlantic basin remains very quiet… all of the action is over the western Pacific. Typhoon Chan-Hom will make a run for China in 5 days or so.


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


Weather Apps And Other Things

| 7:04 am July 6, 2015

I think most of you know by now the “James Spann 24/7″ weather app is in the process of being replaced by a new app that will be offered by ABC 33/40; this will have all the functionality of the old app, along with our news and sports content. Basically a “one stop shop” so you don’t have to have multiple apps on your phone or tablet.

The new app is not available yet, but hopefully it will hit the app stores within the next 7 days. Of course, it will be free.

I was very excited to offer the “James Spann 24/7″ app since it was all human powered. Real weather discussion written by real meteorologists that explain the weather. It basically offered all of my products and services on one place. These blog posts, the Weather Xtreme video, WeatherBrains, and much more. All of these elements will be in the new app… thanks for your patience.

Some so many of you are asking about weather sources, apps, etc these days… here are some thoughts that might help.

WEATHER INFORMATION IS A COMMODITY: You can get a weather forecast anywhere these days. I have seen weather forecasts on everything from furniture store apps to political candidate web sites. Weather apps by the thousands are available on your “app store”, and most of them don’t cost a dime. While this sounds great, the problem is accuracy and dependability.

The stock weather app on your phone, and almost all other weather apps and web sites, generate automated forecasts using raw computer “model output statistics”. Not one professional meteorologist (and, in most cases, not one human) reviews the forecasts before they are made available. And, boy, can these automated forecasts steer you wrong.

Here is a screen grab from a weather app yesterday…


And, most of these “forecasts” show a nice little icon of the weather (sun, storm, clouds, etc), and three numbers. High, low, and “probability of precipitation”. While this works on some days, on really active weather days it is of no help. You have no idea if there is a severe weather threat, the amount of rain or precipitation expected, timing, and placement.

Many of you know our frustration, and we often call these “crap apps”. Trust me, I fully understand very few people wait on the television news to come on to get a weather update, and I am delighted to offer round the clock weather products at your convenience. No, I don’t get much sleep, but it is a delight to be able to offer weather products and services at all hours of the day and night since that is my passion in life.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: You need to get weather information from a source that offers content put together by a real meteorologist, that understands the people, culture, and geography of your home state. A written discussion that goes beyond the little cartoon pictures of weather, that is updated frequently. And, preferably a video that explains what to expect and doesn’t treat you like an idiot. If you app features videos that tell you to go into an air conditioned room during hot weather, you might look elsewhere.

RECOMMENDED SOURCES/APPS: So, what apps do I need? Which ones are reliable? Here are some suggestions…

THIS BLOG: If you are reading this, then we are preaching to the choir. The blog is unique, and a strong source for Alabama weather information. Yes, we get it wrong sometimes. But, our short term (48 hour) accuracy is in the 92-95 percent category. And, when I miss the big one, I am open and honest.

There are seven meteorologists who write here, with over 100 years combined weather experience in Alabama. The Weather Xtreme video is posted twice daily weekdays, and once daily weekends.

If you live outside Alabama…. do your best to find a similar source.

ABC 33/40 APP: When the new version is released, you should be able to get all of our human powered weather information there, including blog posts and the Weather Xtreme video. It will be free, and available on iOS and Android. I will let you know when it is released into the wild.

WARNING APPS: Getting severe weather warnings is extremely important. Yes, the built in “WEA”… or wireless emergency alert system seems to work well for flash flood and tornado warnings, but we really don’t know how that works, and we really don’t know the reliability. My favorite warnings apps are “WeatherRadio by WDT”, and “MyWarn”. I have no financial interest in either app, and they both work very well. Your generic, free weather app won’t do this well.

RADAR APP: RadarScope is the winner by far. They offer a version for iOS, Android, and OS X (Apple computers). And, you can get radar with this on your Apple Watch. And yes, I love it. And, over on the Windows side, the Gibson Ridge radar software is excellent.

LIGHTNING APP: I use BoltMeter, but for some reason that is not available now within the US app stores. I have purchased the lightning add-on within “WeatherRadio by WDT” which offers real time lightning data, and alerts are well. This is a critical function for outdoor events, especially on summer afternoons. RadarScope offers real time lightning data as well for a small price.

Have suggestions? List them in the comment section.

The one thing I try and do is be available to answer your weather questions. I don’t have a 15 minute chat session we advertise on TV… I am around most hours of the day and night. Best way of getting me is social media…

Google Plus

My personal email is here… and I respond quickly. The only thing I don’t do is a phone call; I have not answered my work phone since 1998. Too much time consumption.

Your pictures and reports are so helpful, and I thank all for engaging with me in the new digital world. And again, I will let you know the minute the new ABC 33/40 app is available…


Trending Hotter and Drier

| 6:17 am July 6, 2015

RADAR CHECK: The weather is pretty quiet at daybreak across Alabama; we note just a few small, isolated showers over the northeast counties of the state. Temperatures are mostly in the 67-72 degree range.

THE DAY AHEAD: We will still mention the risk of a few scattered showers or storms this afternoon and early tonight, but they will be fewer in number as an upper ridge begins to build across the Deep South. The high will be in the mid to upper 80s… it is very interesting to note that Birmingham has failed to reach 90 degrees so far during the month of July. The last time we had a high of 90 or higher was back on June 29, when the high was 91. This will be the the seventh consecutive day with a high only in the 80s.

We do note SPC has parts of West and South Alabama under a “marginal” risk of severe storms later today; where they do form the storms could be pretty strong in that part of the state.


RES OF THE WEEK: The upper ridge will continue to slowly build, meaning the northwest flow pattern that brought the enhanced rain coverage is gone for a while. Expect partly sunny days with a few isolated afternoon storms, but many places will have a chance to dry out. And, we heat up… a good chance we do see 90 degree heat tomorrow, with low 90s likely Wednesday through Friday.

The chance of any one spot getting wet each day will be in the 20-30 percent range, and most of the showers and storms will come during the afternoon and evening hours.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weekend looks very routine for mid-July in Alabama…. partly sunny, hot, humid days with the risk of “scattered, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the 91-94 degree range.

NEXT WEEK: The GFS suggests the upper trough over the eastern U.S. will become established again, with the heat ridge moving back to the west. This means next week should be wetter and not as hot… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Looks good this week with about 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores, and the usual risk of a passing storm from time to time. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the mid to upper 80s, with low 90s inland. The sea water temperature this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has dropped to 79 degrees.

TROPICS: Very quiet across the Atlantic basin with very dry air in many regions, and tropical storm formation is not expected this week. Most of the action is over in the western Pacific.

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…

Google Plus

Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!


More Storms Expected

| 6:59 am July 5, 2015

A quick look at the radar this morning showed much of the action occurring across South Alabama where the boundary sagged last night. The flash flood watch issued yesterday was allowed to expire this morning. Additional showers are expected to develop later today in the warmth of the afternoon.


At 500 millibars, the small upper low was located over the eastern half of Tennessee as it slowly migrates northeastward reducing its influence on our weather pattern. As the low gets absorbed into the primary westerly flow and moves into the Mid-Atlantic States, the pattern across the Southeast US will be replaced by gradual ridging as the Bermuda high builds across the southern US from the western Atlantic. This upper air pattern should favor a return to more diurnally driven showers and storms for the week ahead as temperatures also climb back into the lower 90s.

With the westerlies located along the northern tier of the US, another cold front will approach the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys at mid-week but is expected to wash out before we can see any kind of air mass change. This keep the moist air mass in place and keeps scattered showers and storms in the forecast for much of the week ahead.

The Atlantic Basin remains especially quiet as the South Atlantic remains covered by a large mass of dry Saharan air. There was a little more action in the Eastern Pacific where a tropical depression is likely to form early next week well out in the Pacific.

The SPC in Norman, OK, has continued a marginal risk of severe storms along the Gulf and Southeast US coasts for today with an enhanced risk of severe storms centered mainly on South Dakota later in the day. They have only a marginal risk area ahead of that front for Monday or Day 2.

Headed to the beach? About 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily for the Central Gulf Coast heading into next week, from Dauphin Island to Panama City Beach. Storms will be more numerous today, but each day in the week ahead there will be a decent chance for a passing storm from time to time, fairly typical with the daily sea breeze effect. Highs on the immediate coast will remain in the mid to upper 80s, with lower 90s inland. Sea water yesterday afternoon at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach was reported to be 81 degrees.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS continues to advertise the potential for the trough to stay a feature across the eastern US into Week 2. While the ridge builds and decays, the presence of the overall trough across the eastern third of the country is certainly a positive sign for keeping any extreme heat at bay.

James Spann will be back with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video first thing on Monday morning. Check back here often for updates on the Central Alabama weather.



Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Elmore and Tallapoosa County

| 5:24 pm July 4, 2015


Strong thunderstorms over the Montgomery area are moving east northeast.

Areas from Wetumpka to Eclectic to Tallassee are in the path of the storm. Parts of southern Lake will also be impacted.

Eastern Montgomery is also being impacted by very strong storms as well.










Afternoon Update

| 2:05 pm July 4, 2015

After the very active start to the day, we have see a lull in the action and actually have see some decent sunshine across portions of the state. The breaks in the cloud cover, as seen below, are allowing instability to build and we are once again seeing convection blossom across portions of the Southeast.

7-4-2015 1-48-19 PM

Under these puffy white clouds, we are seeing numerous showers and storms. These storms are producing a lot of lightning, gusty winds, intense rainfall, and possibly even some hail. A quick look at the radar shows a cluster of storms over West Alabama and they are tracking towards the east. It looks as though the bulk of the activity will be staying just to the south of Interstate 20 corridor.

7-4-2015 2-00-23 PM

Click image to enlarge.

For the rest of today we will continue to see showers and storms develop across Central Alabama and these could affect some of those fireworks shows, but hopefully we will see enough breaks in the action that will allow the shows to go on. Heading into Sunday, expect more of the same across the state. A stall frontal boundary to our north, and a warm and moist air mass will allow for numerous showers and storms to develop once again tomorrow. These storms will produce loads of lightning, but flooding could be the greatest concern. A reminder, much of Central Alabama remains under a flash flood watch through Sunday morning.

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