There is a lot of interesting weather ahead this week as we deal first with a double-barrel storm system, followed by s sharp shot of much colder winter weather. The system bringing today’s rain across the area will be east of here tonight. Clouds will increase again on Tuesday and rain and thunderstorms will overspread the area tomorrow night and Wednesday. Rainfall with the second part of this storm system could be rather significant with several inches of rain possible in south Alabama.
Some strong to severe thunderstorms are possible, especially across south Alabama with this system. Right now, the Storm Prediction Center has outlined the best chance of severe weather across southeast Alabama on Wednesday. Here is the current Day 3 severe weather outlook.
Behind the storm system, look for much colder air to stream into Alabama! We could easily see lows in the 20’s by late in the week. Get ready for a real shot of winter weather during this first week of December.
The following is from our friends at the National Hurricane Center -
The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends today, marking the close of a season with the fewest named storms and hurricanes since 1997 thanks, in part, to El Niño.
Nine named storms formed this year, including three hurricanes, two of which were major hurricanes at Category 3 strength or higher. These numbers fall within the ranges predicted in NOAA’s mid-season outlook issued in August, which called for seven to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes, and one to two major hurricanes. An average season has 11 named storms and six hurricanes, including two major hurricanes.
“El Niño is expected to reach peak strength this winter, and will likely continue into the spring. It is far too early to say whether El Niño will be present next summer,” added Bell. NOAA will issue its initial 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook in May, prior to the official start of the season on June 1.
The rain was coming down this morning as expected. I just took my son to school and the visibility was fairly low due to heavy rain along highway 280. It appears the heaviest rain will continue at least through 9am. I'm still thinking we'll see some gradual clearing this afternoon. As my mom would say, this is great sleeping weather.
Here's big heads up: Wednesday will be windy. Whether or not we see severe weather here - expect winds upwards of 35mph. If you have Christmas decorations or lawn furniture that can easily be picked up by the wind - please make sure it's put away by Wednesday or it's likely to be in someone else's yard or destroyed. We'll see an incredibly tight pressure gradient along with a 120kt+ low level jet on Wednesday. Severe weather still looks likely in the Southeast. Again, the best chance will remain Montgomery southward. But, if the forecast models are underestimating instability even slightly it could get active in Central Alabama. We'll likely see rainfall in the 2-3" category. We'll keep you posted.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
Moderate to light showers are moving through our area today. Most of the rain north if I-20/59 should end by noon. The remainder of our showers should end by sunset. Skies are expected to rapidly clear tonight, with lows dropping into the mid-30s by tomorrow morning.
Tuesday should begin with sunshine. Tuesday night into Wednesday night a strong upper Low will be moving through our area from the southwest. That low will bring a chance of strong to severe thunderstorms mainly to southeast Alabama, but we won't rule out a chance of isolated strong storms to central or north central Alabama as well.
Clouds could linger through part of the day Thursday.
Dry weather is expected Friday through the weekend along with some of the coldest overnight temperatures so far this season.
A chance of showers returns to our forecast by Monday of next week.
The fall severe weather season has generally been quiet. We had the one tornado event just before that ushered my good friend Jason Kelley onto the FOX 6 StormWarn Team, but after that, things have really been quiet. I get the idea that may be changing. By Wednesday morning, an intense area of low pressure will be rapidly organizing at the surface near coastal areas of Louisiana, in response to a potent upper-level disturbance coming out of Texas. The surface low will lift to the northeast and rapidly deepen through the day as the upper-level disturbance takes on a negative tilt. Negatively tilted systems are often associated by very dynamic weather that changes very rapidly over short distances. From the looks of it now, 60-65+ dewpoints will come onshore south of a warm front that will lift northward with the surface low. Below is a plot from the 00Z NAM, that shows the CAPE and vertical wind shear at 6 pm Wednesday.
The NAM is projecting surface-based CAPE values to exceed 500 j/kg over west central Alabama by Wednesday evening, and this would progress eastward with time, as the storm system lifts off to the northeast and the cold front charges eastward. I think that 400-500 j/kg of CAPE is very doable up to near the warm front, in the warm sector of the storm system. The main question I have is the track of the surface low and how rapidly it lifts northeastward. This will determine whether any part of the FOX 6 viewing area breaks into the warm sector, or if the warm sector stays south and east of the coverage area. The NAM... and to a degree, the UKMET... lift the surface low across MS and west AL into TN Wednesday, and aren't as fast as some of the other models in doing so. This allows the warm sector to lift as far north as central portions of Alabama during the day. Other models, such as the GFS, Canadian, Euro, and previous UKMET runs actually lift the storm system northeastward more rapidly and are also a little further east with the surface low track, generally lifting it uo I-65. This would keep the warm sector from ever reaching the FOX 6 coverage area, and would keep any threat of severe weather south and east of our area. It bares monitoring because the UKMET did shift westward on Sunday's daytime run... and the GFS nudged slightly westward also. It's a really murky situation right now. The dynamics and shear are there, and actually favor a higher-end event. However, that cannot happen if the instability and low-level moisture aren't there also. I think that even in the worst-case scenario possible, there will NOT be enough instability and low-level moisture for a major severe weather event. Having said that, if a western and/or slower surface low track verifies, enough instability may creep into parts of central Alabama for a few warnings to occur.... possibly even a tornado warning or two. The track and speed of the surface low will be very crucial in determining what kind of threat, if any, the FOX 6 viewing area faces.
We urge you to be mindful of the weather situation as we approach midweek, and check back with FOX 6 and the weather blog here for updates as we get closer to this storm system. If you have a NOAA Weather Radio, check the batteries to make sure they're fresh.... and if you don't, think about buying one as you go out holiday shopping. You can get a great weather radio for around $35, and if your family is safe during a severe weather event because you were awakened for a weather warning during the overnight, it's the best $35 you'll ever spend.
There will be tornadic storms in the Southeast Wednesday and possibly early Thursday morning. The question is where. At this point, I'd say the best chances will be South Alabama, South Georgia, Florida's panhandle, and maybe even the Carolinas. However, if we get any instability across Central Alabama - the weather will get active very quickly. These high shear/low instability situations can sometimes catch you by surprise.
We will need to monitor Wednesday closely for the possibility of some quick spin-up tornadoes. I will say convection to the south of us should limit our severe weather threat. One of the purposes of this blog is to give you some insight and even a behind the scenes look at the forecast process. My experience as a meteorologist tells me when you have helicity this high - you can't let your guard down. I have included NAM model output displaying a shear bullseye over Alabama. The best chance for severe storms (if we're going to see something) would be Wednesday afternoon. We'll keep you posted.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
You may have noticed a strange ring around the moon tonight. We've already received a number of calls from viewers noticing the same thing. Here's the explanation. The ring is caused by the refraction of moonlight (which is reflected sunlight) from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The hexagonal shape of these crystals is focusing the light into a ring.
Here's a bit of weather folklore that relates directly with the ring around the moon. It's said the ring signifies bad weather is coming. There is a bit of truth to that. If you've been watching the forecast, you know rain is on the way. The approaching front typically creates more cirrus clouds which are made of ice crystals. So actually, the ring around the moon is a pretty good indicator of approaching rain.
Have a great week!
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist
After a Thanksgiving weekend that brought nothing but the finest late November weather to our area, things are about to change as we get set to head back to work and/or school. A one-two punch of rain systems could make things rather wet around Alabama and Georgia the first half of the week.
First up is a cold front coming in Monday. This front will have limited moisture to work with but expect to see some showers as the front moves in early in the day and passes steadily through the area by nighttime. We should wind up behind the front on Tuesday, which means we will be dry and might actually clear out a bit and with little change in temperatures.
Wednesday's rain looks like the big one, with low pressure developing in the Gulf and intensifying as it lifts northeast into Alabama, Georgia, and then tracks right up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. That likely puts the Chattahoochee Valley in line for quite a bit of rain - current forecasts max out at between 2 and 4 inches in portions of our area by Wednesday night. Rain could be accompanied by gusty winds due to the intense nature of the surface low.
This is potentially quite a storm for parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes region, featuring wind and maybe some heavy snow. What we will get behind the storm is a nice shot of cold air for Thursday and Friday, but nothing that will break any records. It may be the coldest weather we've seen so far this fall season, though, so keep an eye out for later forecasts.
In case you missed it, Columbus reached 32º on Saturday morning at the airport for the first official freezing temperature of the season.
Kurt Schmitz, Chief Meteorologist, WTVM-TV
Well, we were pretty much spoiled for Thanksgiving and into the weekend. As we head back to work, the rain comes along with it. Monday, just a few showers are expected for central and south Alabama. A line of showers will slowly decrease as it approaches Montgomery. So if you live more near Clanton or Marion, your chances for rain will be a lot higher than if you live in Dothan.
Tuesday will be somewhat of an inbetween day as we gear up for the main chance for rain of the week: Wednesday morning. A low pressure system will make its way from the Gulf and give somewhat of a soaker across south Alabama, spreading into central Alabama. Some thunderstorms will be possible on Wednesday as well.
I'm happy to report the sunshine is going to hold out for a bit longer. At the Dice house, we'll be taking advantage of the wonderful weather to put up Christmas decorations. It's time to get the tree out of the basement tomorrow too. The temperatures will remain chilly - especially the morning lows. Don't be suprised if the temperature is in the upper 20s at your house Saturday morning. For those heading to the UAB/UCF game at Legion field - the weather is going to be perfect. I'm predicting lots of sunshine with a kickoff temperature of 62. A gradual warm up is expected by the end of the weekend thanks to a southwestly wind. We can also expect the return of some moisture helping set the stage for rain. We will probably see rain across North Alabama as early as Sunday night with the widespread rain by early Monday morning. The good news - no severe weather is expected. But, the forecast will be fairly gloomy on Monday with rain, overcast skies, and chilly temperatures. We'll get a bit of a break in the rain on Tuesday with more showers expected Wednesday. The late week forecast look particularly cold with highs probably only reaching the upper 40s by Friday. Have a great weekend!