Saturday, February 18, 2023

Warm and Unsettled New Week


Sunday (High 60, Low 36): Mostly sunny. Milder temperatures.

Washington's Birthday (High 67, Low 46): Partly to mostly cloudy. Becoming breezy.

Tuesday (High 70, Low 57): Cloudy and breezy. Periods of scattered showers are possible, and perhaps an isolated thunderstorm.

(Extended Outlook)

Wednesday (High 76, Low 61): Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms - some could be strong. 

Thursday (High 79, Low 63): Partly to mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of lingering showers and thunderstorms.

Friday (High 66, Low 52): Partly cloudy. 

Saturday (High 69, Low 55): Partly to mostly cloudy. 


There is a SKYWARN class this Tuesday evening 6 P.M. at Cullman City Hall. Then on Thursday evening 6 P.M. there is another SKYWARN class at Gadsden High School. That one is being held by the Birmingham office, which is also doing a lot of online classes. These are some of the first physical classes in a while, because of how things have been the past two or three years. So if you've never taken storm spotter training especially, you're encouraged to come out and learn more about storms and the weather, and how you can help out with public safety when the weather does get ugly. As you probably know, the months of March, April, and May are our primary tornado season. We do have a secondary peak in November, and as we've seen lately, sometimes severe weather can even be a problem during the Winter months. Technically, hey, this is Alabama, we can have tornadoes any month of the year. If you go to one of these classes, they'll show you some charts and statistics. Actually they usually make it fun. 

There was a class scheduled in Haleyville, but the recent severe weather threat on the 16th caused it to be postponed. And it has not been rescheduled yet. 

One neat thing the Birmingham NWS office is doing is an advanced online class on March 23rd, so even if you take one of the in-person classes, you can still learn even more with that class if you like. These are a great starting point if you are considering a career in meteorology, but they are also fine if you just enjoy watching the weather or would like to be a helpful part of the community by volunteering as a storm spotter. 

And then our neighbors up in Tennessee are having Severe Weather Awareness Week this coming week, from tomorrow February 19th through Saturday February 25th. On Saturday (next Saturday), they will have Severe Weather Awareness Day, with talks by media personalities like Danielle Breezy and Lisa Spencer, as well as Sam Shamburger and Krissy Hurley from the National Weather Service. Ms. Krissy is the new Meteorologist-In-Charge of the Nashville office. And they even have Kathy O'Nan, the mayor of Mayfield, Kentucky, coming in to talk about their terrible tornado outbreak in December of 2021. This is an all-day event being held at the Boone Business Center on the campus of Trevecca Nazarene University. 

And it looks like the NWS Nashville is also holding several online classes about the basics of weather safety. Since public storm shelters are rare across Tennessee compared to Alabama, I think this is a great idea. I could not tell if they were already done with SKYWARN for this season or were waiting to schedule more classes, saw where they had one in early February. 


Here at midday, skies are sunny in Cullman with a temperature of 43 degrees. Dewpoint is 21, making the relative humidity 42%. Winds are variable from 6 miles per hour to higher gusts up to 13 mph. Making the wind chill value 39 degrees. Pressure is 30.48 inches and falling slowly. The Low this morning was 21. 

Haleyville is sunny and 43 degrees, North winds. Sunny with calm winds in Fort Payne, temperature of 44. 

High pressure has taken over the region after that storm system the other day. 

And while it might have felt like a bust for us, there were 15 tornadoes reported across Mississippi and Georgia mainly, one in Tennessee as well. One of those tornadoes was unusually significant in the damage, rated E/F-2 near Ripley, Mississippi and caused one person to be injured. As you can see, there were also some instances of damaging winds and large hail, mainly through Tennessee. 

Right now the weather is quiet across most of the country. They are having some snow up in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota along the Canadian border. And there is more snow and a little bit of an ice mix as you get back into Montana and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. 

Going into tomorrow, upper-level winds will shift more back to the Southwest. We'll see a High of about 60 tomorrow, compared to about 55 today. Should see a Low of about 35 tonight/tomorrow morning. So the really cold blast did not last long. We are almost to Spring time. Sometimes I ignore what the calendar says for that and just go by what the weather trends actually are. We're close enough to March to say we're starting to make that shift by now for this year. 

For Monday I think temperature should be in between the GFS and NAM guidance, so about 67 for the afternoon High, about 46 for the morning Low. Clouds should be increasing. And it will start to get breezy. This is President's Day, of course, George Washington's birthday. Anyone who is lucky enough to be off work that day should be able to go ahead with any plans outdoors. 

A low pressure system will be moving through Tennessee Monday night into Tuesday. 

The NAM is showing more moisture available on the Alabama side, and I think that's right. 

And there is a front associated with the Low of course, better seen on a traditional weather map than on raw model output. This is valid earlier in the day, sot he position of the Low is a bit back to the West of what the GFS and NAM models were showing. 

Tuesday looks like a cloudy, rainy day, but not necessarily an all-day rain. Looks more like scattered showers throughout the day and night, maybe some thunder in the mix. High near 70, Low in upper 50's.

Then on Wednesday, that front starts to look a lot more robust out to the West. As the upper-level trough really gets moving. 

And it's worth showing that the Storm Prediction Center has outlooked parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana for a basic risk of severe storms that day. 

Looks like around here the rain will die down enough that we can get into at least the mid-70's but probably upper 70's. Morning Low near 60. We'll have some gusty winds even outside of any showers or storms that do form. 

As for any potential for stronger storms becoming severe around here, we will need to keep an eye on it to be on the safe side. The GFS is showing enough combination of instability and wind shear Wednesday afternoon to support some supercell thunderstorms especially back over the Mississippi state line. Around here the most likely place to see severe weather would be Northwest Alabama, but if you live in adjacent parts of Tennessee, I'd keep an eye on it too. And really when it's such a messy, unsettled pattern, we all need to keep an eye on it. Common sense tells anyone that being in the upper 70's in February with storms going on around here means you have to watch for a few of them trying to get out of hand. But then our rain chances are only about 30% for Wednesday. So it is dicey. Nothing to get overly alarmed about, just something to watch. There are many factors that could lead to this just being general thunderstorms or even just some widely scattered rain, clouds, breezy day. 

Thursday the GFS has us dry.

And the ECMWF has rain still going on. I am leaning toward the European solution here. 

And the Canadian GEM makes the most sense, having some rain hanging around early in the day but mostly tapered off in the evening. 

So Thursday looks like another soupy airmass day, High actually near 80 and the Low in lower 60's, will include at least a 30% chance of thunderstorms. But I'll tweak the exact rain chances as I write the forecast above. It is unsettled between Tuesday and Thursday, and it is a tough call exactly how much of a rain chance each day should have. I'm thinking if we see any stronger storms or severe weather, that will probably happen between Wednesday afternoon and the overnight Wednesday into Thursday. But we are still in the long-range here, and we really need to see better model data as we get closer to that time. There is not enough evidence to outline a severe weather risk area for now, but it is something to watch. Any time it's 80 degrees in February around here, you have to keep your guard up and look at all the ingredients and how they come together for the rain and storms. We might not have any problems with severe weather, but it is worth keeping an eye on. 

Then by Friday looks like we have a frontal passage with high pressure ridging setting up at least in the short term over much of the country, at least East of the Rockies. The ECMWF does have a little lingering rain in our region, is not as fast as the GFS, which is the way it usually is, GFS usually faster. I think the trend is enough to justify taking the rain chance minimal for Friday and forecasting a High in mid-60's, Low in lower 50's. The American global model did get an upgrade recently, and I think it has a better handle on Friday here. 

The pattern stays active though, and that's why I was saying it feels like Spring is coming in a little early this year. May keep a minimal rain chance in here just to account for the uncertain/unsettled pattern. Looks like a High near 70, Low more toward mid-50's. 

Even with all these rain chances, it looks like average rainfall totals around here will be an inch or less. So these don't look like all-day rains. We'll have to watch any storms that get going, especially late Wednesday, in case some try to get on the strong side. Overall it is an unsettled pattern. 

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