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James Spann

James Spann

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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 Alabamawx.com 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…

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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.

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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…

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

Muggy Fourth Of July Weekend

| 3:12 pm July 3, 2015

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today… we are on a holiday schedule**

RADAR CHECK: As you might expect on a summer day, rain totals have varied greatly across the great state of Alabama. Some northern counties have been under clouds and in rain much of the day, while the southern part of Alabama has enjoyed a mostly sunny sky. New storms are forming in the region where there is a good temperature gradient from clouds and rain to the north, and sun to the south.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 3.01.20 PM

SPC maintains the standard “slight risk” of severe weather across North Central Alabama through tonight; storms that form could produce strong, gusty winds, some small hail, and lots of lightning. Hail below fell in Talladega around 1:30 this afternoon (photo from Joseph Swindall)…

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And, we should point out the National Weather Service in Huntsville has issued a flash flood watch for the counties in their County Warning Area (CWA) through tomorrow.

WatchWarning

REST OF THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND: Expect a few passing showers or thunderstorms tomorrow and Sunday as the moist air stays in place. While most of them will come during the afternoon and evening hours, we can’t rule out a late night or morning storm, much like today. And, where storms form they will be strong.

On the plus side, the sun will be out at times, and there will be some good breaks in the rain. And, heat levels not bad at all for July in Alabama with highs in the 80s.

FIREWORKS SHOWS: As you know in summer, storms tend to be very random and scattered, so there is no way to tell you exactly who will get rain at 9:00 tonight and tomorrow night when the shows start, but a majority of the venues should be dry with temperatures in the 70s.

AT THE BEACH: About 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day through much of next week with the risk of an occasional passing thunderstorm from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores. Highs will remain in the mid to upper 80s on the immediate coast, with low 90s inland. Sea water temperatures are mostly in the low to mid 80s.

TROPICS: Tropical storm formation is not expected across the Atlantic basin through next week; dry air covers much of the deep tropics.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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

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Twitter
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Look for my next Weather Xtreme video here by Monday morning at 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Wet Morning For North Alabama

| 6:39 am July 3, 2015

RADAR CHECK: A large mass of rain and storms is parked over North Alabama at daybreak. The rain has been heavy in spots, and parts of Marion and Cherokee Counties are under flash flood warnings. Radar is suggesting parts of Marion County has seen over three inches of rain as of 6:30 a.m.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 6.24.30 AM

Showers and storms are sagging southward, so needless to say we will be wet at times today. And, SPC maintains a “slight risk” of severe storms over North Alabama today.

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The rain won’t last all day, and the sun could break out at times later. The high today will be in the mid 80s.

REST OF THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND: Not much change in the overall pattern; moist, unstable air remains in place with a northwest flow aloft. We will deal with scattered showers and storms tomorrow and Sunday… they are most likely during the afternoon and evening hours, but like today we can’t rule out a late night or morning storm. Remember, summer storms are random and scattered, and there isn’t a way of giving specific start/stop times for the rain at any given location. Just be ready for a passing storm at any time.

On the positive side, there will be some good breaks in the rain and the sun will be out occasionally. And, heat levels not bad at all for early July with highs remaining in the 80s.

NEXT WEEK: Scattered showers and storms remain possible through the week, but they should be fewer in number Wednesday through Friday as an upper ridge begins to slowly build across the Deep South. And, afternoons will be hotter with low 90s possible over the latter half of the week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

AT THE BEACH: About 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day along the Central Gulf Coast (Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores) through early next week with 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 early this morning at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 83 degrees.

TROPICS: All is quiet across the vast Atlantic basin, and tropical storm formation is not expected through next week. Very dry air covers the Deep Tropics.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

We are on a holiday schedule, so just one video today, but we will have updates throughout the day, and I will have another forecast discussion here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Humid Holiday Weekend; Scattered Storms

| 3:28 pm July 2, 2015

RADAR CHECK: The radar is strangely quiet this afternoon; storms have formed all around us today, including a few severe storms over the northeast corner of the state during the lunch hour.

In this type of environment we will need to maintain the chance of developing showers and storms through tonight, and SPC maintains a “marginal” risk of severe weather over the northern half of the state, so where thunderstorms do form, they could pack a punch.

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FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY WEEKEND: The synoptic scale won’t change much; a broad upper trough over the eastern U.S. will keep a northwest flow aloft over the state, and at the surface a warm, moist airmass will stay in place. Expect a mix of sun and clouds tomorrow through Sunday with the daily risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms. While the best chance of them will come during the afternoon and evening hours, we can’t rule out a late night or morning storm in this kind of setup.

There will be some good breaks in the rain all three days, and the sun will be out at times… just be ready for the occasional passing thunderstorm. And, where the storms form, they could be strong as SPC keeps the “marginal” severe weather risk in place through Saturday.

NEXT WEEK: No major changes… partly sunny days with the risk of scattered showers and storms, but they should be a little fewer in number by the middle of the week as an upper high builds slowly. Highs should reach the low 90s by Wednesday and Thursday… 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 along the coast from Panama City Beach west to Gulf Shores with 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 afternoon at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is 83 degrees.

TROPICS: No risk of a tropical storm or hurricane across the Atlantic basin through the weekend.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

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