My great grandmother always told me stories about the tornado outbreak that happened on this date 1932. At the time she was living in Northport, Alabama. She said when the family heard the rumble of the tornado everybody moved to the center of the home. The picture you see here, courtesy of The Alabama Department of Archives & History, shows what Northport looked like after that tornado moved through. According to the Shelby County reporter, there were over 1,800 hundred injuries and over 250 fatalities. Significant damage occurred in southern Hale County and Columbiana in Shelby Counties. One of the hardest hit areas was Chilton County. According to the Clanton Advertiser, almost every home was destroyed in the town of Union Grove. The event began in the afternoon and continued through dusk on a Monday.
Fox6 Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
It's all about the scattering of light that causes a colorful sunrise or sunset. The key ingredients to see such beautiful colors is a lack of pollution, a few high clouds, and the sun angle.
In the morning and evening hours, sunlight has to take a longer path through the atmosphere due to the low angle of the sun. For this reason, fall and winter are ideal seasons to see such beautiful colors because the angle of the sun is lower.
High clouds such as cirrus and altocumulus can catch the light that did not suffer attenuation and/or color loss by passing through our atmosphere. In other words, when the sun rises or sets, sunlight has to pass through more air than in the daytime. When sunlight travels through more atmosphere, it provides more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from our eyes. If the path is long enough, we no longer see blue skies, but we’ll begin to see hues of red, orange, pink, yellow, and purple. Clouds can help scatter and reflect light, which can influence everything outside to have a red hue like color.
That's your science lesson for today! ;)
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
I spent the morning at Simmons Middle School in Hoover before the students were released for holiday break. I explained the technology within the Storm Tracker and how we go about tracking storms and reporting live while on the road. After the 6th graders, all 260 of them got a review and got to preview the vehicle we went into the gymnasium where I gave a presentation about storm chasing and what's involved. I even quizzed them on cloud types and they learned the difference between a wall cloud, a shelf cloud and scud clouds. They sure were an excited bunch which you can tell by my video of them! :) I think telling them that they'll be on tv was probably the reason.
Want to set up a time for me to visit your school? Teachers, feel free to contact me:
Fox 6 Meteorologist
Facebook: Jill Gilardi Meteorologist
The GFS, which is one of the long range computer models continues to hint at the possibility of snow though non-accumulating on the morning of Christmas Eve. So I wanted to know why the model was spitting out snow when typically it's hard to get snow when there is no moisture or lift in the snow growth zone and the answer could be icing!!! You can still get ice to form in clouds as long as the temperature within the cloud is not above -4° C and the temperature forecast at 10AM in Birmingham where moisture is 80% in the cloud is -4.2° C. I learned that frozen precipitation will be observed if the saturated cloud layer extends to the surface. In this case, it doesn't 100% so it may be tough for precipitation to reach the ground. Because there is no moisture or lift in the dendritic layer or snow growth layer it will be tough to get snowflakes and so snow grains might be possible if they even reach the ground. It's all about cloud physics!!!
What are snow grains? Precipitation of very small white and opaque grains of ice. The clouds that can produce this type of precipitation are stratus, stratocumulus and perhaps fog. They form in and fall from shallow clouds and are the cold weather equivalent to drizzle. Accumulation is usually light when it comes to snow grains because the lift in the atmosphere is usually weak. The clouds are usually made up of ice and water droplets with some supercooled droplets as well.
Here is a picture of what they look like:
CHRISTMAS EVE OVERVIEW
So with that said, I would say there is a slight chance for central and north Alabama to see some snow grains on the morning of Christmas eve. Obviously the higher elevations stand a better chance and perhaps a coating on elevated surfaces if the GFS model is correct this far out. Ground temperatures will be too warm for the snow to stick and roadways will be just wet for travelers. Not all long range models agree on this scenario. If the EURO model pans out then the chance for some wintry precipitation is pretty much zero. The EURO is slightly warmer and shows much less low level moisture than the GFS. So snow lovers, this is still a long shot for a few snow grains and don't get your hopes up for a white Christmas.
Over time, I'll be monitoring the moisture field closely and the duration of saturation. Also, if any bit of lift develops this could alter the forecast too. Overall, it will be almost impossible for dendrites aka snow flakes to form with this kind of sounding forecast but at a max drizzle or snow grains might develop where moisture extends all the way to the surface and for a long period of time.
SNOWFALL FORECAST VIA BOTH LONG RANGE MODELS:
That's the latest...
Let me know if you have any questions,
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
Tis' the season for color change!
I spent a week in Massachusetts and New Hampshire where fall color is in peak! Here are a couple pics I took while visiting Sunrise Lake in New Hampshire.
You can see these same vibrant colors in Tennessee and North Carolina!
October 10, 2014 Update: Fall color progression is all about altitude and latitude. So the northern, higher peaks have the best color now. Best color this next week will spread into the mid elevations, including much of the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially north of Asheville. Most of the Great Smoky Mountains will have best color during the next two weeks. Showers early in the week will cause some extra magical scenes on the Parkway as you drive through clouds. And colors can be more vibrant on overcast or rainy days. So don't let a few showers slow you down.
Great Smoky Mountains: Fall Color Report - October 14, 2014
Middle and low elevations are still predominantly green, but the progression of fall color is in full force down the mountain here and there. Patches of vibrant reds have developed on dogwoods, sourwoods, and a few maples throughout the park. We're also starting to see a bit of yellow developing, especially around water features. The vivid red leaves of Virginia creeper vine are very noticeable climbing tree trunks now. Overall however, there's not a great deal of fall color in the lower elevations yet -- the season here is still two or three weeks away.
After several days of wet weather and high winds, fall color in the high elevations of the park is beyond the best viewing time. However, views from Clingmans Dome Road and in the higher reaches of Newfound Gap Road are beautiful when looking at south facing sides of the higher peaks in the park. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm
This weekend looks perfect for taking a drive northward to check out the fall color! Sunshine will be abundant and temperatures will be in the 60s.
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
Be sure to share your fall foliage pics with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can always share your pics with me on twitter (@jillgilardi), facebook (Jill Gilardi Meteorologist) and or email (email@example.com) and I'll show them on Fox 6 News on the weekends or when I fill in for Mickey on Oct 22-24th. Be sure to include your name and where you took the pic.
That was the scene in some spots this morning in Oneonta! Also got a report of light frost on the hood of a car in Dogtown on Lookout Mountain. A viewer in Vigo, which is east of Piedmont also reported the first frost of the season with a low of 35°.
You can get frost to form even when the air temperature recorded is about freezing. Most weather stations are several feet off the ground and the air is actually a little warmer at that level than the temperature at the ground. So while it might be 35° at sensor level, it may be 31° right at the surface. If you have enough moisture at the surface and freezing temperatures then you'll get frost to form.
Our coolest weather watcher report as of 8:30AM was 33° in Oneonta!
So did we tie or break a new record low? The answer is no, but we sure came close in a few spots.
The high pressure system that allowed us to dip so low this morning slides eastward today and temperatures warm from here on out!
Hope you continue to enjoy the fall air!
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
No this is not an EKG, but rather a look at the dew point, temperature and heat index arrhythmia over time? ;)
The GFS BUFKIT OVERVIEW shows a lot of things and I'll point them out to you.
Let us start with the green dew point line on the bottom...
It shows dew point temperatures rising from the comfy 50s we have been enjoying into the uncomfortable 70s by the weekend.
The second line up which is the temperature line, shows a spike early on, them temperatures held back a bit over the weekend and then rising well into the middle and upper 90s next week. Yuck!
The line above that is the heat index or how hot it feels. At this time, despite the warm up next week, feels like temperatures won't be too extreme thanks to slightly lower dew point temperatures.
Since I brought up the heart, I wanted to share some information about how exerting your body on a hot and humid day can impact you:
How hot weather affects your physiology
When you exercise, your blood gets pumping to deliver adequate oxygen to your muscles. This leads to a rise in body temperature. When you're getting physical in above-average temperatures, this effect is more intense, because your heart sends large amounts of blood to the skin in an
attempt to cool it down and, in turn, leaves less blood in the muscles, further speeding the heart rate.
What's more, in humid weather, sweat is sometimes unable to do its job because it doesn't evaporate as efficiently as it does in a drier climate. This may drive body temperatures to dangerous extremes.
There are three basic levels of heat-related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. You should be familiar with the signs of each of these conditions so you can identify them when you or someone else may be in danger of overheating.
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
We've been busy tracking thunderstorms this afternoon. Some of the rain has resulted in street flooding in Downtown Birmingham. We also had heavy downpours in near West Blocton in Bibb County and around I-20 in the Pell City area. The storms have since disappeared. In some of the rain-soaked areas, we could see some patchy fog overnight.
The hour by hour forecast is indicating drier conditions tonight with partly cloudy skies. It looks like Tuesday morning will be mainly dry with showers and storms again during the afternoon.
With little in the way of upper-level winds, storms will move very little. A few heavy downpours are possible along with significant cloud to ground lightning.
The tropics are becoming active. We now have Tropical Depression number 2. This system could become Bertha if it continues to strengthen. Right now this area of low pressure is about 2500 miles from Miami. We'll continue to track in the coming days. Forecast models indicate a track toward Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
The extended forecast keeps us partly sunny with scattered storms through the rest of the week. Highs will reach the upper 80s to lower 90s. A late week front could bring some additional rain Thursday.
Have great evening!
Fox6 Chief Meteorologist
As Earth orbits the sun, it tilts 23.5 degrees on its axis. Our summer solstice occurs when Earth's northern hemisphere faces toward the sun most directly.
Why isn't the longest day of the year also the hottest you might wonder?
Even though Earth's oceans and atmosphere soak up the most rays on the summer solstice, it takes them several weeks to re-radiate that energy back to us.
Why does the solstice occur?
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), because it appears the sun stops at the solstice. The solstice happens twice annually due to the Earth’s axis of rotation.
How is the solstice celebrated?
The solstice marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means flip-flops, beach trips and barbecues. In southern England, thousands flock to Stonehenge to see the sun rise from the vantage point of the 4,000-year-old solar monument.
The summer solstice is also a time of celebration for Christians and Pagans. In Christianity, the first day of summer marks the festival of St. John the Baptist, and in Paganism followers celebrate what they call "midsummer" with bonfires and feasts.
After today, the days get shorter by about a minute each day.
FIRST DAY OF SUMMER FORECAST
Warming up quickly to the upper 80s and lower 90s. Scattered showers and storms develop this afternoon. Strongest of the storms will produce heavy downpours, frequent lightning and gusty winds.
Have a great day!
-Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist
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