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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Rain/Storms Tonight; More Storms Saturday

| January 19, 2017 @ 4:11 pm

**No Weather Xtreme video this afternoon due to travel; I am writing this from the Tampa Airport… will be back later tonight**

RADAR CHECK: A large mass of rain and storms continues to move across Alabama; some of the heaviest rain late this afternoon is close to I-65…

The lack of instability should prevent any severe weather issues across North Alabama tonight, but severe storms are possible over the southern half of Alabama…

An isolated tornado is not totally out of the question this evening.

Some flooding is possible in low lying areas tonight, and rain amounts of 1-2″ are likely. The rain tapers off soon after midnight.

TOMORROW: A decent part of the day tomorrow will be dry; morning clouds should give way to some afternoon sun, and the high will be in the 70-73 degree range.

WEEKEND SEVERE STORMS: A complex pattern will set up across the Deep South with a deep upper trough just to the west with strong wind fields working with unstable air and deep layer shear. The first batch of storms seems likely Saturday morning… sometime between 5:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon… based on the high resolution NAM model.

SPC has the standard “slight risk” of severe weather defined for the southern two-thirds of the state Saturday.

The air becomes very unstable Saturday afternoon, and another round of strong to severe storms is possible during the late afternoon and nighttime hours, but model output is not consistent, and it remains to be seen if the best severe weather parameters will align at that point. We need to get past tonight’s storms to see the state of the atmosphere, and we will be able to give you specific details on the timing and magnitude of the weekend severe weather threat. It is simply too early to call on the potential event Saturday afternoon and Saturday night.

Storms could very well linger into Sunday morning, but the best risk of storms will shift east of Alabama by mid to late afternoon.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be cloudy, breezy, and much cooler with some light rain at times; the high will be in the low to mid 50s. Then, even colder air should arrive toward the end of the week.

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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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Snapchat: spannwx

I will be back in Alabama late tonight, and the next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Stormy Weather Pattern Through The Weekend

| January 19, 2017 @ 5:25 am

ACTIVE JANUARY WEATHER: We will be dealing with multiple rounds of rain and storms across Alabama through the weekend, with some potential for severe weather along the way.

TODAY/TONIGHT: SPC has parts of Central and South Alabama in a “marginal” risk for severe storms over the next 24 hours…

Rain is already falling over parts of the state this morning, and as an upper trough gets closer, rain and storms will be more widespread this afternoon and tonight. With this widespread rain, instability values will be limited, and with forecast soundings looking rather saturated, the overall severe weather threat seems pretty limited.

TIMING: Main window for the stronger storms will come from 3:00 this afternoon through about 12:00 midnight.

THREATS: Some of the heavier storms could produce gusty winds and small hail. The chance of a small tornado is pretty small, but not zero.

RAIN: Data from the RPM model suggests we could very well see some spots getting over 2 inches of rain over the next 24 hours, and if this verifies we could very well have some localized flash flooding problems. This looks to be more of a heavy rain event as opposed to a severe weather event.

Be sure you can hear severe weather warnings in the event they are needed later today and tonight.

TOMORROW AND THE WEEKEND: A complex severe weather pattern is setting up for Alabama, and we really need to get past the round of storms today and tonight before we can really be confident on forecasting timing of the various rounds of storms, and the overall magnitude of the event.

A deep upper trough with strong wind fields will approach from the west, and with high instability values, deep layer shear, and steep lapse rates, we will all have to pay close attention to the weather late tomorrow through Sunday morning. This is the current thinking on the timing…

ROUND ONE: The first round of severe storms is possible from about 9:00 p.m. tomorrow through 9:00 a.m. Saturday, generally over the southern half of the state. SPC has Southwest Alabama in the standard “slight risk”, with a “marginal risk” up to Tuscaloosa and Birmingham…

ROUND TWO: The air becomes very unstable by Saturday afternoon, and a few scattered severe storms are possible from about 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Saturday over the state, including North Alabama. This round is a little “iffy” with the best dynamics a little to the west; much will depend on how the “round one” event impacts the airmass over the state.

ROUND THREE: A final round is likely from about 12:00 midnight Saturday night through 9:00 a.m. Sunday; this is when the best dynamic forcing will be in place.

SPC has most of Alabama in the standard “slight risk” for Saturday, Saturday night, and early Sunday morning (the Day 3 outlook runs from 6:00 a.m. Saturday to 6:00 a.m. Sunday)…

All modes of severe weather will be possible with the weekend storms, including damaging straight line winds, hail, and tornadoes. We will be much more specific about the threat tomorrow morning, but just understand you will need to pay close attention to the weather over the weekend.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be windy and cooler with clouds and some lingering light rain; the high will drop into the 50s. And, even colder air arrives later in the week with highs dropping into the 40s. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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
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Snapchat: spannwx

I am in Tampa this morning for a company meeting, but will return later today. Most likely I won’t be able to produce a video this afternoon, but we will have forecast notes and running updates on the thunderstorm situation. Keep a close eye on the blog during this active weather, and enjoy the day!

Several Stormy Periods Ahead

| January 18, 2017 @ 2:44 pm

COOLER DAY: The sky is generally cloudy across North/Central Alabama this afternoon with temperatures in the mid 60s, about ten degrees cooler than yesterday, but still above average for mid to late January. Some communities up in the Tennessee Valley are holding in the 50s. Very little rain on radar.

The surface front over Central Alabama will slowly move northward as a warm front tonight and tomorrow, and with an approaching upper trough the stage is set for some active weather. SPC maintains a “marginal” severe weather risk for much of the state tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night…

New model data suggests rain will move into the state around the midday hours tomorrow, with a fairly large rain mass over the state through the evening and into tomorrow night. This should limit the available instability and the overall severe weather threat despite good dynamic forcing.

TIMING: The primary chance of strong to severe storms will come from about 4:00 tomorrow afternoon through 2:00 a.m. Friday.

THREATS: The main issues will come from gusty thunderstorm winds and small hail. A brief tornado is possible, not not likely.

RAIN: Rain amounts of around one inch are likely; probably not enough for significant flooding issues.

Just be sure you are in a position to hear severe weather warnings in case they are needed. Hopefully we will get away with just a good rain event and not too many problems.

FRIDAY: Morning clouds will give way to a little afternoon sun, and temperatures should rise into the 70-75 degree range. Rain from the event tomorrow night should end during the pre-dawn hours Friday, with only isolated showers during the day.

MORE STORMS FOR THE WEEKEND: A complex storm system will impact Alabama over the weekend. Instability values will rise Saturday; surface based CAPE values could exceed 2,500 j/kg over Southwest Alabama, with values to 1,500 j/kg over the northern counties. While the main dynamics will be west of Alabama, with that much instability we could see a few strong to severe storms as early as Saturday afternoon. Seems like the higher severe weather coverage will come later Saturday night or Sunday as the big upper trough gets closer. This one will have strong wind fields, and it will need to be monitored closely in coming days.

But, understand it is simply too early to determine the timing and magnitude of the weekend severe weather threat. Once we get past the storms tomorrow night we will have a much better idea of what the atmosphere will look like Saturday and Sunday.

Additional rain amounts of 1-2 inches sure look likely over the weekend, bringing the storm totals to 3-4″ in spots across Alabama by Monday. Very beneficial for the drought stricken areas of North Alabama.

Just keep an eye on the blog for updates on the weekend situation over the next few days and we will be much more specific.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be cloudy, windy, and much cooler with highs in the 50s and some lingering light rain at times. Then, late in the week, even colder air arrives with highs dropping into the 40s.

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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
Snapchat: spannwx

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

Stormy Pattern For Alabama Through The Weekend

| January 18, 2017 @ 6:30 am

ACTIVE JANUARY WEATHER: We will have two different opportunities for strong to severe storms across Alabama over the next five days, but today will be relatively quiet. The sky will be mostly cloudy, and a little light rain is possible in spots, but most of the day will be dry and the high will be in the mid 60s, about ten degrees cooler than yesterday thanks to a weak surface front that slipped through last night.

TOMORROW: We have a “marginal” risk of severe storms for a decent part of Alabama tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night as defined by SPC…

An upper trough will approach from the west tomorrow; the current surface front over Central Alabama will lift northward during the day, putting the state in an unstable airmass. Forecast soundings are fairly saturated; you usually need dry air in the mid levels for a big severe weather threat (the best convective instability occurs when dry mid-level air advects over warm and moist air in the lower troposphere).

Here are the details..

TIMING: The main window for strong to severe storms will come from about 4:00 p.m. tomorrow through 2:00 a.m. Friday.

THREATS: The main threats will come from damaging straight line winds and small hail, although an isolated, brief tornado can’t be ruled out.

RAIN: Rain amounts of around one inch are likely; some minor flooding issues are possible, but major flash flooding is not expected.

As always, be sure you have a way of getting severe weather warnings in the event they are needed tomorrow night.

FRIDAY: Rain moves out during the pre-dawn hours, and the sky should become partly sunny during the day with a high in the low 70s.

WEEKEND SEVERE WEATHER THREAT: A robust system will impact Alabama over the weekend. A deep upper low will set up west of the state with strong wind fields, and unstable air will build across the Deep South.

On Saturday, surface based CAPE values will rise to nearly 2,000 j/kg, very high for January, and during the afternoon and evening hours a few severe storms are possible. However the “main event” will most likely come late Saturday night into Sunday as the best dynamic support arrives. A deepening surface low will be over Arkansas, supported by a strong upper trough. Alabama will be in the “warm sector” of the storm with unstable air and severe storm potential.

Understand it is simply too early to be specific concerning timing and the magnitude of this event; we need to get past the round of storms tomorrow night before we can do this. We will get a good look at the state of the atmosphere Friday morning and give you some detailed forecast information then. For now, just understand we will have the risk of strong to severe storms over the weekend… no need to be alarmed, just be aware of the potential.

BENEFICIAL RAIN: Rain amounts could easily exceed three inches over much of the state by early next week from the multiple rounds of storms…. more good drought relief.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be cloudy and much cooler with periods of light rain; the high will be in the 50-55 degree range. And, toward the end of the week, even colder air arrives with highs dropping into the 40s.

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

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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
Snapchat: spannwx

I will be traveling today; hopefully I will be able to post an afternoon Weather Xtreme video; if not I will write new forecast notes by 4:00. Enjoy the day!

Several Stormy Periods Ahead For Alabama

| January 17, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

RADAR CHECK: We have a few scattered showers in progress across North Alabama this afternoon, but so far, as expected, rain amounts have been light and spotty…

We will maintain the chance of a few scattered showers tonight and tomorrow with a mostly cloudy sky. Slightly cooler air will filter in from the north tomorrow; the high will drop into the mid 60s, about ten degrees cooler than today.

STRONG STORMS THURSDAY/THURSDAY NIGHT: SPC has identified a “marginal” risk of severe storms for Southwest Alabama, roughly from Livingston and Eutaw south to Mobile…

A strong upper trough will approach, and rain and storms should be widespread across the state Thursday afternoon into Thursday night. There will be sufficient shear and instability for strong storms, with the main threat coming from gusty winds and small hail; core severe weather threat will likely stay over the southern half of the state, where instability values will be higher. The rain will be heavy at times, with amounts over one inch likely.

FRIDAY: Rain ends during the pre-dawn hours; the sky becomes partly sunny during the day. And, it stays rather warm for January with a high exceeding 70 degrees once again.

STORMY WEEKEND: Another vigorous weather system will approach the state over the weekend. Showers are possible Saturday, but it won’t be a “wash out” with some sun possible. The main event should hold off until Sunday, when we will have some risk of strong to severe storms. Wind fields look strong, instability values high, and lapse rates fairly steep. This could be a significant severe weather setup, but understand there is no way this early to be very specific about the timing and the magnitude of the threat. We need to get past the Thursday night event before we can see the state of the atmosphere and focus on the weekend situation. Stay tuned.

NEXT WEEK: Colder air returns early next week with highs dropping in the 50s Monday along with clouds and a chance of some lingering light rain. By the end of next week highs should drop into the 40s, and lows in the 20s.

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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
Snapchat: spannwx

I had a great time today visiting with the students at Southview Elementary School in Tuscaloosa… 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…

Unsettled Weather; Stormy Periods

| January 17, 2017 @ 6:18 am

A FEW SHOWERS TODAY: A surface front will approach Alabama from the west today, and we expect showers to move into the state this afternoon and tonight. There is little upper support for the front, so there is no risk of severe weather, and we probably won’t have much thunder. Rain amounts should be under 1/2 inch. Otherwise, expect a mostly cloudy sky with a high in the low 70s again this afternoon, a good 20 degrees above average for mid to late January.

The front will wash out tomorrow; the day will be mostly cloudy with only widely scattered showers. Tomorrow’s high will be in the mid to upper 60s.

SOAKER THURSDAY/THURSDAY NIGHT: An upper trough will approach from the west Thursday, and it looks like widespread rain and thunderstorms will move over the state by afternoon, into Thursday night. SPC has defined a “marginal” risk of severe storms for the southwest part of the state…

This looks more like a heavy rain event for the northern half of the state with limited instability; any severe storms should be confined to the southern counties of Alabama, and even there it is certainly a “marginal” threat, as SPC suggests. Rain amounts of 1-2 inches are likely, and some minor flooding issues are possible by Thursday night.

FRIDAY: Rain should end during the pre-dawn hours, and most of the day will be dry and warm with a high in the low 70s along with a mix of sun and clouds.

STORMY WEEKEND: A vigorous weather system will approach Alabama over the weekend, and set the stage for a chance of strong to severe thunderstorms, mainly on Sunday. For now Saturday looks fairly quiet, with a mostly cloudy sky and a few scattered showers… the high will be close to 70 degrees. Then, on Sunday, a complex system will bring rain and storms to the state. Instability values will be fairly impressive for January, with surface based CAPE values over 1,500 j/kg during the day. Combined with a steep lapse rate and strong wind fields, this certainly suggests the potential for severe storms. But, 5-6 days in advance it is simply too early to define timing and the magnitude of the threat.

On the positive side, this pattern is very favorable for drought relief; rain amounts could exceed 4 inches over the next seven days.

NEXT WEEK: Monday will be cloudy and sharply colder with a chance of some lingering light rain… parts of North Alabama could hold in the 40s all day. And, toward the end of the week it looks like we will see highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s as cold air settles in. Winter is very young.

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

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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
Snapchat: spannwx

I will have a weather program this morning at Southview Elementary School in Tuscaloosa… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon.. .enjoy the day!

Unsettled Weather For The Rest Of The Week

| January 16, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

THIS AFTERNOON: Another warm January day with temperatures mostly in the upper 60s and low 70s; just a few isolated showers are over North Alabama. Clouds will thicken tonight with a weakening surface front approaching from the west.

MID-WEEK: We will mention a chance of showers tomorrow and tomorrow night as the front gets close, but there will be little upper support, and rain amounts should be on the light side, generally 1/4″ or less for the places that do see rain. Otherwise, the sky will remain mostly cloudy and tomorrow’s high will be in the low 70s.

The front will wash out Wednesday, and while we will still mention a chance of widely scattered showers, a decent part of the day should be dry. The high Wednesday will be in the 65-70 degree range, and the sky will feature more clouds than sun.

The next wave from the west will bring rain into the state Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. This one will have better dynamics, and we could see some strong thunderstorms Thursday night. But, at the moment it looks like the best instability will be a little west of Alabama, and for now the overall severe weather threat looks fairly low. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch look likely with this system.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Rain and storms should end early in the day Friday, and the sun should break out with temperatures rising back into the low to mid 70s as the warm January a pattern continues. Then, over the weekend, a rather robust weather system will approach from the west. We will mention a chance of showers during the day Saturday as the Gulf of Mexico will be “wide open”, but the main event will come Saturday night and Sunday with rain and thunderstorms. The latest GFS is trending a little slower, suggesting the main threat of strong storms will come Sunday. And, with much better instability, severe storms could certainly be a possibility. Still a little too early to be specific about timing and the overall magnitude of the threat.

On the positive side, rain amounts over the weekend could approach 2 inches… don’t forget the northern half of the state is still in a drought.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: Monday looks cloudy and much cooler with a chance of some light rain; the high will drop back into the low to mid 50s, where we should be in January. And, the pattern will favor even colder air toward the end of the month.

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

As always, watch me for the full weather story on ABC 33/40 News this evening at 4, 5, 6, and 10:00!

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…

Increasing Rain Chances Later This Week

| January 16, 2017 @ 5:19 am

STILL WARM FOR JANUARY: An upper low lifted out of the Southwest U.S. over the weekend, and brought severe storms to parts of Texas last night, but the main energy from that feature will remain well to the west and north of Alabama today, and accordingly our weather won’t change much. A mix of sun and clouds, and a high in the low 70s this afternoon, about 20 degrees above average for January. Very cold air continues over the northern U.S… but the upper air pattern won’t allow it to move southward in the short term.

MID-WEEK: A weakening surface front will bring the chance of showers to the state tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, but with little dynamic support rain amounts should be on the light side, and I doubt if we hear much thunder. Slightly drier air works into the state Wednesday with generally dry conditions and only a few scattered showers. The high will drop back slightly into the mid to upper 60s Wednesday.

The next wave approaching from the west will bring more rain to Alabama Thursday afternoon and especially Thursday night; we could deal with a few strong thunderstorms with some unstable air involved, but for now the overall severe weather threat looks low.

FRIDAY: Showers and storms should end Friday morning with drier air working into the state Friday afternoon. Still warm with a high in the 70s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A rather robust system will bring rain and storms back to the state, and it looks like we could very well have a risk of severe storms Saturday night. SPC has put the southern half of the state in a severe weather risk on the “Day 6” outlook, and that will probably be pulled northward later this week as a strong upper trough will support a deepening surface low to the west of Alabama. Too early to be really specific on the threat; just something to watch for now.

On the positive side, some beneficial rain is likely over the next seven days, with potential for over three inches in many places. Keep in mind the northern half of Alabama remains in a drought.

NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND: Cooler air returns to the state next week, and evidence highs will drop into the 40s, with lows below freezing by the end of the month as the pattern flips.

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…

Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Instagram

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