Author Archive: 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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Cool, Soaking Rain Begins Tomorrow

| December 2, 2016 @ 3:27 pm

VERY BENEFICIAL RAIN AHEAD: Clouds increase across Alabama tonight, and rain will move in from the west during the day. Rain should reach the I-65 corridor by midday, and on into East Alabama by mid-afternoon. Then, a soaking, chilly rain will fall tomorrow night and Sunday. The high tomorrow will be only in the 50-55 degree range, and many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 40s Sunday with the steady rain continuing to fall.

STRONG STORMS EARLY NEXT WEEK: On Monday a surface low over Louisiana will move northeast, to a position near Nashville by Tuesday morning. A warm front will be moving northward, and there is a chance the “warm sector” moves as far north as I-20 by Monday night, and this could set the stage for strong to severe thunderstorms over the southern two-thirds of Alabama. For now SPC has the severe weather threat confined to the far southwest corner of the state, but that will probably be pulled northward at some point. We will keep a close eye on forecast severe weather parameters over the weekend and we can be more specific about the threat, if one develops.

Rain and storms will end Tuesday morning as a slot of dry air rotates into the state.

Model guidance suggests 4-5 inches of rain is very possible, if not likely between tomorrow and Tuesday. This will take a big chunk out of rain deficiencies statewide; Birmingham still needs 11.51″ to get back to average values and end the drought.

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ARCTIC BLAST LATER NEXT WEEK: An Arctic front will blow in here Wednesday, and most likely it will come through in dry fashion. Then, the coldest air so far this season will settle in here Thursday, when the high will be only in the low 40s with a biting north wind of 15-30 mph. Then, on Friday, some places up in the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama will stay below freezing all day, with highs in the mid to upper 30s for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden. Early morning lows should reach the teens in the December 9-10 time frame.

NO BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT: We received this news release from the Alabama Forestry Commission this afternoon…

“The statewide Drought Emergency ‘No Burn’ Order declared by Governor Robert Bentley in early November will remain in effect until conditions change sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. Despite a nice coverage of rain across much of the state this week, the Governor and officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) remain cautious.

“We are grateful for the rainfall we’ve received, but because of the severe prolonged drought it is just too soon to lift the ‘No Burn’ Order,” explained Interim State Forester Gary Cole. “The winds and lower relative humidity accompanying the cooler temperatures we’re experiencing combine to quickly dry out vegetation, which will increase the probability of dangerous wildfire activity until the next rain event. We’re certainly hoping the weather forecast of additional rain through early next week is correct, and we will re-assess the situation at that time.”

“After seeing the recent devastation in our sister state of Tennessee, we cannot afford to take any risks,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The bottom line is that Alabama is still in an extreme drought. Until the threat of catastrophic wildfires is considerably reduced, we do not want to be too hasty in making a decision. Several recent wildfires across our state have threatened residential areas, and if not for the efforts of the Alabama Forestry Commission firefighters and volunteer fire departments, we would have lost homes. Their commitment to protecting life, property and wildlife is greatly appreciated.”

Year-to-date, a total of 3,644 wildfires have consumed almost 50,000 acres of land in Alabama, with 2,219 of those fires and 29,406 acres just since October 1. “This past Monday 108 active wildfires burned over 3,000 acres across the state, setting a record for one day. This situation was extremely alarming not only because of the unusually high number of fires but also because of their large size,” continued Cole. “It was a nightmarish day and night, stretching the men and women who make up our wildfire suppression resources beyond capacity.”

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.

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I enjoyed seeing all the third graders today at Oak Grove Elementary School… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! My next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here Monday morning by 7:00… Brian Peters will have the video updates tomorrow and Sunday. Enjoy the weekend!

Another Big Rain Event Begins Tomorrow

| December 2, 2016 @ 6:35 am

COLD MORNING: Temperatures are below freezing in most places across North/Central Alabama early this morning; we expect another sunny day ahead with a high in the low 60s this afternoon. We stay above freezing tonight as clouds return.

WET, VERY COOL WEEKEND: Models continue to trend faster with the next weather system, and we will need to bring in a chance of rain tomorrow, maybe even starting tomorrow morning over the western counties of the state. The rain will slowly spread eastward during the day, otherwise tomorrow will be cloudy and cool with a high in the 50s.

Widespread rain is likely tomorrow night and Sunday; a warm front will remain over far South Alabama, so we stay in cool air. In fact, many communities north of Birmingham won’t get out of the 40s Sunday with rain falling.

STRONG STORMS EARLY NEXT WEEK? The warm front over South Alabama will lift northward during the day Monday, and there is a chance North Alabama could be in the “warm sector” of the storm by Monday night as a surface low develops and passes just northwest of here. The latest GFS run in house (06Z) shows dew points into the mid 60s as far north as I-20, so we will have potential for strong, maybe severe storms late Monday, Monday night, and very early Tuesday morning.

Rain and storms will end by mid-morning Tuesday as we get into a dry slot; some clearing is possible Tuesday afternoon with a high in the 60s.

Rain totals from tomorrow through Tuesday morning are expected to be in the 3-4 inch range for much of Alabama; some spots could see even more. And, some flooding issues could crop up by Monday night. No, this won’t end the drought, but it will sure continue to put a dent in it. About a third of the state remains in an “exceptional” drought…

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ARCTIC AIR BLAST LATE NEXT WEEK: The “gates to the Yukon” will open up next week, and very cold, Arctic air will flood much of the continental U.S. by Thursday and Friday. Looks like the Arctic front will come through, most likely, in dry fashion Wednesday, and we will go into the deep freeze after its passage.

We won’t get past the low 40s Thursday, and a strong north wind will make it feel much colder. Then, on Friday, the high will only in the upper 30s, and by Saturday morning most places around here have a good chance of dropping into the teens. Birmingham’s record low for December 10 is 13 set in 1995… I don’t think it gets that cold, but we should be within 5 degrees or so.

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See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

STORM SURVEYS: NWS Birmingham has identified 11 tornadoes so far from the severe weather event Tuesday night and Wednesday… NWS Huntsville survey teams have reported 6 tornadoes, for a total so far statewide of 17. That number could still go higher.

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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I will be doing a weather program this morning at Oak Grove Elementary in Jefferson County… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

More Wet Weather By Saturday Night

| December 1, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

BLUE SKY: As advertised, this is a cool, dry day across the great state of Alabama with ample sunshine and temperatures generally in the mid to upper 50s this afternoon. The average high for December 1 (for Birmingham) is 60.

Tonight will be clear and cold; most communities will see a low near the freezing mark early tomorrow, with 20s for the colder spots. And, tomorrow will stay mostly sunny with a high in the low 60s.

RAIN RETURNS OVER THE WEEKEND: Clouds return to Alabama Saturday ahead of the next weather system to the west in this active pattern, and some rain could creep into West Alabama by afternoon. Then, expect periods of rain Saturday night and Sunday. A warm front will be to the south, so it will be a chilly rain with many North Alabama communities holding in the 40s Sunday.

NEXT WEEK: A deepening surface low will move from near Lake Charles to Memphis Monday and Monday night, and the warm front lifts northward, putting much of Alabama in the warm sector. Showers are likely during the day Monday, and then we will have the chance of strong thunderstorms late in the day, Monday night, and into early Tuesday morning. Pretty hard to be specific this far in advance, but for now it looks like severe storms could be an issue again for the state Monday night. We will keep a close eye on severe weather parameters as the event gets closer.

Rain and storms will end Tuesday morning as we get into a dry slot. On the positive side, rain amounts from Saturday night to Tuesday morning will be in the 2 to 4 inch range again for most of the state, very beneficial.

COLDEST AIR SO FAR: An Arctic front will move through Wednesday with a chance of some light rain, and then we will see a shot of very cold air dropping southward from the Yukon. I would expect by Thursday and Friday we will have a hard time getting out of the 30s, and lows could reach the upper teens by Friday or Saturday morning (December 9-10).

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HURRICANE SEASON IS OVER: The 2016 Atlantic basin hurricane season ended yesterday. Tthis was the first above-normal season since 2012. The Atlantic saw 15 named storms during 2016, including 7 hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole, and Otto), 3 of which were major hurricanes (Gaston, Matthew and Nicole). NOAA’s updated hurricane season outlook in August called for 12 to 17 named storms, including 5 to 8 hurricanes, with 2 to 4 of those predicted to become major hurricanes.

Five named storms made landfall in the United States during 2016, the most since 2008 when six storms struck. Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Matthew struck South Carolina. Tropical Storms Colin and Julia, as well as Hurricane Hermine, made landfall in Florida. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Several Atlantic storms made landfall outside of the United States during 2016: Tropical Storm Danielle in Mexico, Hurricane Earl in Belize, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas, and Hurricane Otto in Nicaragua.

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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I had a great time today visiting with kindergarten students at Striplin Elementary in Gadsden, and with 4th graders at Kitty Stone Elementary in Jacksonville… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 4:00 and 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Rain Returns This Weekend

| December 1, 2016 @ 6:20 am

COOL, DRY WEATHER: The sky is clear over the great state of Alabama this morning; temperatures are mostly in the 30s at sunrise. With sunshine in full supply, we expect a high in the upper 50s this afternoon. Tomorrow morning will bring a light freeze for most, and dry air means another sunny day with a high close to 60 tomorrow afternoon.

WEEKEND CHANGES: Clouds move back into Alabama Saturday ahead of a developing weather system to the west, and rain arrives Saturday night. In fact, rain could begin over West Alabama late Saturday afternoon. Sunday looks cool and wet with periods of rain through the day; some North Alabama communities could hold in the 40s all day with a warm front over far South Alabama.

NEXT WEEK: The warm front will lift northward Monday, with rain continuing. The latest GFS (06Z) shows a rapidly deepening surface low moving into western Kentucky by early Tuesday, and if this is correct the state gets into the warm sector, and we will have another chance of strong to severe storms Monday night into Tuesday. We will keep a close eye on the potential in coming days.

And, late next week, we are still seeing signals that the coldest air so far this season will blow into Alabama and much of the continental U.S…. by Friday some places could very well hold in the 30s all day. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details…

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STORM SURVEYS: A total of 8 tornadoes have been confirmed by NWS survey teams so far from the storms Tuesday night into Wednesday morning… The NWS in Huntsville has rated the Ider (DeKalb County) tornado as F-3… three EF-2 tornadoes were also identified, one from Franklin into Colbert Counties, another in Madison County, and a third in Jackson County at Rosalie, where three people were killed. The NWS in Birmingham has confirmed 4 tornadoes, one in Lamar County, one in Pickens County, one in the Helicon community (Winston County), and another near Ashridge (also in Winston County). Preliminary data suggests these will be rated EF-1.

Survey results are not complete, and more tracks will likely be identified. I would not be surprised if around 15 tornadoes will ultimately be identified…

RAIN AMOUNTS: Here are some storm totals from our team of Skywatchers this week…

Coker 4.02″
Helena 3.06″
Jemison 3.04″
Locust Fork 3.02″
Bessemer 2.96″
Heflin 2.84″
Cottondale 2.79″
Concord 2.68″
Black Creek (near Gadsden) 2.12″

At the Birmingham Airport, where the records are kept, the storm total was 2.07″, and the rain deficiency for the year is still 11.35″.

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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I have weather programs today at Striplin Elementary in Gadsden… and Kitty Stone Elementary in Jacksonville. Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Rain Returns By Sunday

| November 30, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

RADAR CHECK: The line of strong storms is pushing through the far southeast tip of Alabama this afternoon…

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Drier air is returning to North Alabama, and the sky is clearing.

STORM SURVEYS: A total of 7 tornadoes have been confirmed by NWS survey teams so far today… The NWS in Huntsville has identified three EF-2 tornadoes so far, one from Franklin into Colbert Counties, another in Madison County, and a third in Jackson County at Rosalie, where three people were killed. The NWS in Birmingham has confirmed 4 tornadoes (ratings not released yet), one in Lamar County, one in Pickens County, one in the Helicon community (Winston County), and another near Ashridge (also in Winston County).

Survey results are not complete, and more tracks will likely be identified, including one in Ider in DeKalb County.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: These two days will be cool and dry with sunny days and clear nights. The high tomorrow will be in the upper 50s, followed by low 60s Friday. Morning lows will be in the 30s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The weather stays dry Saturday, but clouds will increase during the day, and rain returns to the state Sunday; highs over the weekend will be in the 50s.

NEXT WEEK: Unsettled weather is the story for the first half of the week; there will be some risk of rain and possible storms daily Monday through Wednesday. Too early to know if severe weather will be an issue this time, but storms certainly seem possible by mid-week with a dynamic upper trough approaching from the west. And, late in the week, there is good evidence the coldest air so far this season will blow into the Deep South, with temperatures 15-20 degrees below average…

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Parts of North Alabama could see highs only in the 30s, with morning lows in the upper teens, toward the end of next week.

FLORIDA WATERSPOUT: A rather large waterspout moved over Choctawhatchee Bay, east of Destin this morning…

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Photo from Diana Gramling.

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

Morning Storms, Afternoon Clearing

| November 30, 2016 @ 6:19 am

RADAR CHECK: A long line of strong storms is pushing southward across Alabama early this morning…

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Flash flood warnings are in effect for Cullman, Morgan, and parts of Madison, Marshall, and Jackson counties, where rain amounts have exceeded two inches in many places.

The good news is that we have no active severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings (as of 6:15am), but a tornado watch remains in effect for parts of Northeast, Central, and Southwest Alabama until 10 a.m. CT. I would say the main threats this morning will come from flooding and gusty straight line winds, but an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out. In fact a storm moving into Bibb County is showing signs of rotation as I write this shortly after 6:00 a.m.

TRAGIC NIGHT: At least three people died in a tornado in the small Jackson County community of Rosalie last night, and four children were critically injured after a tornado struck a 24 hour daycare facility at Ider, in DeKalb County. Tornado damage was reported in parts of Pickens, Lamar, Marion, Winston, Jackson, Madison, and DeKalb counties. We will know much more later this morning after the sun comes up and NWS survey teams get into the field.

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THE DAY AHEAD: Rain and storms will end from northwest to southeast, and we will begin to see some clearing this afternoon as drier air works into the state. Temperatures will fall slowly during the day.

TOMORROW/FRIDAY: Cool, dry weather with sunny days and clear nights; highs from 57 to 60 tomorrow, followed by low 60s Friday. Lows will be in the 30s.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: For the 7A Alabama high school football championship game in Auburn tomnight (McGill-Toolen Catholic vs. Hoover)… the good news is that it now looks like most of the rain will be gone in time for the 7pm kickoff, just an outside chance of a lingering shower. Temperatures will fall into the 50s during the game. Auburn will be rain-free for the rest of the games tomorrow and Friday.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Clouds increase Saturday, and another round of rain is likely statewide Sunday. Highs for the weekend should be in the 50s; the air Sunday will be stable and no severe weather is expected (probably no thunder).

NEXT WEEK: Unsettled, potentially stormy weather is the story through Wednesday night with occasional showers and thunderstorms. Another setup for strong to severe storms is shaping up by Wednesday based on global model runs. Then, the coldest air so far this season invades the state by Thursday and Friday; the GFS is evening hinting at snow flurries Thursday (don’t count on it!). 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.

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

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Twitter
Google Plus
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon, and stay tuned to the blog for updates through the morning as the storms work south and east…