Thursday, July 20, 2023

A Few Showers and Storms Tomorrow Into Early Saturday, Then Sunshine and Mild Temperatures Next Week


Friday (High 89, Low 73): Partly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible during the day - a few could be strong, or even reach severe limits, with potential for damaging winds and some hail. Rain will become likely at night, and a few thunderstorms are still possible in the mix. 

Saturday (High 83, Low 69): Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms are still possible, mainly in the morning. Overall a clearing trend throughout the day, becoming partly to mostly sunny with milder, drier air.

Sunday (High 86, Low 62): Sunny. Mild temperatures and low humidity levels. 

(Extended Outlook)

Monday (High 90, Low 64): Sunny.

Tuesday (High 92, Low 67): Mostly sunny.

Wednesday (High 93, Low 69): Mostly sunny.

Thursday (High 92, Low 70): Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers/thunderstorms. 

(Tea Leaves Territory)

Friday (High 93, Low 71): Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers/thunderstorms. 

Saturday (High 92, Low 72): Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers/thunderstorms.

Sunday (High 91, Low 71): Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms. 


There was actually a tornado Tuesday evening in Monrovia in Madison County along with all those damaging straight-line winds in thunderstorms. You can see those in summer here, but it is not all that often, unless a hurricane comes really far inland. It was given the minimal E/F-0 rating, winds estimated to have peaked at 80 miles per hour, and notice nobody got hurt. Since Elon Musk has goofed up Twitter, and Daryl Herzmann's accounts showing real-time updates from local National Weather Service offices no longer work, I don't feel like navigating the web long enough to find the official storm survey and post all the text of it. The NWS Huntsville has not provided a link to that on their web page, only this graphic, and I also noticed in looking at past severe weather events, they do not have anything archived on there past 2019. So I guess the pandemic really took its toll on everyone. There have been times they kept up an awesome website. 

On that note, the Weatherbrains Podcast recently interviewed Kevin Laws, from the National Weather Service in Birmingham (they cover Winston and Walker Counties, also Marion, Etowah, et cetera). I have not had a chance to hear the whole discussion yet, but I really liked what I heard. Mr. Laws was talking about challenges facing meteorologists in these times, and how they are still working hard to improve things, especially with regard to safety during the really bad storms, like in the Spring tornado season. I remember some discussion about mobile homes, which continues to be a problem. A lot of people are still not leaving them in advance of severe weather, and they simply are not built to withstand the winds of a tornado. Really the building codes don't play out all that great in site-built homes sometimes, but at least in a home anchored to the ground properly, people have a chance, and about nine times out of ten, are going to survive if they shelter in that lowest, most central part. In a mobile home, the chances are much greater that the wind will get up under it and the structure will go airborne. When that happens, all bets are off. I agree with what Tim Coleman said many years ago on that show, right before we had that April 27th, 2011 tornado outbreak. He said he thought every trailer park should be required to provide a storm shelter for its residents. And James Spann gave him the buzzer, for veering off into politics. Which was kind of interesting, because Dr. Coleman has always been very open about his politics being conservative. But in this case, he was the bleeding heart. And I still agree with what the man said. I recently saw an episode of Club Random with Bill Maher and John Waters, and will agree with them about my politics being somewhere in the middle these days. (Brad Paisley also did that show lately and had a great interview.) And I usually try to keep that stuff off a weather blog, or anything really public. But I remember that Tim was challenged by someone on that show, saying that it would cost a bit of money to install a shelter in every trailer park. And he said something to the effect that you couldn't put a price tag on people's lives. I really do wish more people around here had a storm shelter of some kind, or at least a sturdy house or apartment where they can shelter on the ground floor. Most of the tornado deaths around here still are happening in mobile homes. And I definitely felt Kevin's frustration with that on the recent podcast. It has been more than ten years since that generational tornado event, and I can see some progress, but it is really going to take some work to maintain that progress, much less get things closer to where we wish they were, those of us who give a rip about these things. And some people don't. Someone in my family told me that their only concern from that outbreak was missing television shows for about a week. And two people in my family went sightseeing after the morning round, only to have to run from one of the violent afternoon tornadoes in their car. So even though I'm doing this infrequent amateur thing here, there are times I still think there is some value in those of us who do share concern about this aspect of public safety to sorta' stick together. In a few months, it'll be November, and this will be a concern for us again. Sometimes we catch a break during the Winter months, but sometimes we have a few events then too. (Some people want to extend the tornado season to seven months out of the year, from November through May, but I think that's taking it a bit far, at least for Northern Alabama into Tennessee . . . maybe in Central and South Alabama, it makes more sense.) But we definitely have issues here most years in the month of November and of course in the main season during the Spring months. While things are quiet, maybe there is some value in posting these thoughts in a blog. I didn't finish school and become a real meteorologist, but maybe somebody will come upon this who is just starting college, and they'll follow some of these bread crumbs along with their other studies, and really move forward with some passion, and change some of this stuff for the better, in the long-term. 


We had a mostly sunny day in the Tennessee Valley with only isolated showers and thunderstorms. One storm up around Huntsville did become severe this evening. That's the random nature of summer convection. 

Most of the storms have been over in Georgia and up in the Carolinas, but some of the rain and storms have clipped Alabama and Tennessee, mainly Eastern parts, in this Northwest upper-level wind flow. We still have that front out in the Mid-South. 

The High in Cullman today was 91 with a Low of 73. And that is a lot less than was forecast, without even any rain to keep us cooler. That leaves me wondering if the observation is correct or what happened. The interesting thing is that even with that temperature, the Heat Index got up to 111 degrees at times, factoring in so much humidity. Which means it can make someone as sick as if it was really that air temperature. And that's getting into Texas kind of heat. Usually they don't have the humidity though. Jasper had a High of 93 and Low of 72. So yes, I guess with more than one station showing these lower numbers, they must be right. I was thinking upper 90's today or at least mid-90's. Haleyville had a High of 91 and Low of 73. 

Elsewhere around the region, Fort Payne had a High of 94 and a Low of 70. They had a severe thunderstorm this afternoon same as Huntsville did, bringing the temperature way down into the 70's, think there was some hail with that storm. Scottsboro made it up to 93 before the storms came in, Low this morning of 70 there too. In Huntsville the High was 93 after a morning Low of 73. I'm surprised to see that Decatur caught some of the storminess today too (I missed all the action apparently), but they had a High of 95 and Low of 73. Muscle Shoals is the hot spot so far, with a High of 97 after a Low of 73. 

So let's see if any of the cities that are generally toastier around the Southeast can top that. Well Birmingham had a High of 97 and a Low of 79. That is some oppressive heat and humidity. The humidity would probably make it feel even hotter than the Shoals did today, to have that little of radiational cooling happening at night. Atlanta also got up to 97, Low of 77. Nashville only had a High of 86, thanks to some rain and thunderstorm activity moving through there at times, Low of 73. Memphis had a High of 94 and Low of 81. Again that is some really humid air. It is late July, but I sort of feel for the folks who didn't see much rain today. Best I can figure for places like Cullman is that it was close enough to some of the storms to get some cloud cover and some breeze from a gust front out ahead of some storms that never quite made it to those locations. I just went to look up "outflow boundary" to make sure that wasn't the more proper term, and from what I can tell, they are the same thing. Some of these things, I have to jog my memory these days. And it looks like Tupelo, over in Mississippi, wins the heat contest today, with a High of 99, Low of 75. 

So while the temperature forecast was a bust locally, I think the general idea was right, regionally. 

The GFS shows that front drifting southward tomorrow. 

But the rain may hold off until the evening or even the night hours. 

I think a good overall estimate for the daylight hours tomorrow is a 40% chance of rain. 

Now some of the storms tomorrow, even into the evening and night, could produce some strong winds or some hail. This is not like the really organized severe weather we get in the Spring or late Fall, but sometimes in the heat and humidity, some of these storms can pack a decent punch before they rain themselves out. 

Estimating a High near 89 tomorrow, Low near 73. 

The GFS is showing rapid clearing on Saturday on the latest run. 

The NAM is on board with the idea but still has some rain hanging around Saturday morning. 

So I decided to peek at the ECMWF, which shows a more gradual progression of the rain through here, this graphic valid at 1 PM CDT Saturday. 

So I'm going to keep a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms in for Saturday, making mention that most of it will be in the morning. With a clearing trend throughout the day. 

Still looks like a High near 83 for Saturday, which is about as cool as you'll get in July around here. Low should dip into upper 60's from the rain and then a drier airmass behind that rain. 

Then on Sunday, with high pressure settling into the region, we should see sunny skies, starting the day actually down in the lower 60's and only warming into middle, maybe upper 80's. Humidity levels will be refreshingly low. 

As the high pressure gets more established on Monday, skies stay sunny, Highs should rebound to upper 80's, maybe approaching 90, Low hanging around the mid-60's.

And for Tuesday, guidance is now showing mostly sunny conditions continuing on Tuesday, with a High in the lower 90's and Low in the upper 60's. Humidity still looking low, and we probably won't even see many clouds around. 

Now please understand that technically on any summer day around here, you could get a stray shower or thunderstorm. But this is one of those periods where the chance of any rain is looking so low it's not worth worrying about, less than 20%, maybe even less than 10%. 

And now it is looking like Wednesday is about the same. 

On Thursday, we might be in a position to get enough Gulf moisture again to justify a 20% chance of rain. But even that is dicey. Still looking at a High in lower 90's, Low in upper 60's, guess it could reach 70 by this point. 

And a lot of TV stations now are trying 10-Day-Outlooks. Those are in fashion. So I do one as a joke about once a week, if I decide to do a really detailed discussion like this. So let's look into the land of almost like reading tea leaves, or consulting the Farmer's Almanac. 

And next weekend, it looks like that high pressure center will dance around a little bit, but basically more of the same battle between the heat of lower 90's temperatures and a few isolated showers and thunderstorms. There really is not much skill at this time range, even in the summer. The model guidance really is not showing anything that gives me much more of a clue than the usual climatology this time of year. 

We've got Tropical Storm Don on the board. And there is also an area of low pressure that has formed in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, interacting with that tropical wave further East. There is some dry air to the North of it that is preventing development in the short-term, but of course it will be watched as it moves West across the Central Tropical Atlantic. It could develop over the next week, but if so, that development is expected to be slow. 

Tropical Storm Don is expected to stay over the open water. And then dissipate on Monday. 

There is also a low pressure system producing showers and thunderstorms several hundred miles Southwest of the Baja California Peninsula. That activity is moving West/Northwest at 15 miles per hour. And it might briefly reach tropical depression strength. But by Saturday, it is headed into cooler (so less favorable) waters with stronger upper-level winds that could weaken it or even tear it apart. 

And then looking way out there, the remnants of Tropical Storm Calvin are getting ready to fizzle out. 

Rainfall totals in summer tend to be random, but as an average for North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee over the next week, about an inch is a good estimate for most places. 

All right, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy the nice weather heading into the new week. 

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