Saturday, November 11, 2023

Cool and Unsettled Pattern


Sunday (High 64, Low 49): Partly to mostly cloudy. Cool.

Monday (High 68, Low 43): Mostly sunny and cool during the day. Isolated showers are possible at night.

Tuesday (High 60, Low 50): Partly cloudy with widely scattered showers possible during the day. Rain is likely at night, and becoming breezy.

(Extended Outlook)

Wednesday (High 55, Low 46): Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers. 

Thursday (High 63, Low 47): Gradual clearing. 

Friday (High 64, Low 51): Partly to mostly cloudy.

Saturday (High 65, Low 49): Mostly sunny.


We are in a Drought Emergency, and no one in Alabama is supposed to be burning things. 

While the weather is calm, November is a good month to make sure your severe weather safety plan is in order. 


It was an overcast, lightly breezy day in the Tennessee Valley with periods of light rain and some fog at times. The High in Cullman was 61 with a morning Low of 50. Jasper had a High of 61 and Low of 52. Haleyville saw a High of 61 and Low of 50 also today. Gadsden had a bit more rain today, so less temperature variation, High of 54, Low of 51. Fort Payne had a High of 56 and Low of 50. Not as much rain there, but higher elevation and plenty of clouds through the day. The sun broke out fairly often for Decatur, and they got up to 65 today, Low of 51. Huntsville got up to 66 despite being mostly overcast, Low of 52. And there was variety around the map. Muscle Shoals saw a good bit of sunshine and got up to 65, Low of 52. Memphis got up to 66 after a morning Low of 47. Chattanooga had a High of 61, Low of 52. Nashville was one of the breezier spots today, mostly cloudy day there, High of 65 and Low of 43 there. 

That front that brought us the rain late this week is now parked down in the Gulf of Mexico, moving very slowly when it does move. Sometimes I forget that a lot of readers may not know how to read weather maps, so this is what we call a stationary front. You can see on the radar and satellite imagery how clouds and some rain showers are spreading over our region even though the front has moved well to our South. And on the upper-air map, you can see that our winds are from the Southwest up at 500 millibars (about 18,000 feet). Meanwhile there is high pressure associated with dry weather parked over the Carolinas. And they are in the lower 50's today, you can see since I picked a map that has the official station observations on it. Those red numbers by each station are the temperatures. The green numbers underneath are the dewpoints. Around here you can see the dewpoints are very close to the actual temperature because the air is humid and we're having clouds and rain. 

And if all that is obvious to you, that's fine, but we might have a variety of people stopping by here, including kids who want to learn about the weather or remember that their cousin writes a weather blog. And a lot of adults don't understand much meteorology either. My understanding is far below what I'd like for it to be some day, if I live a long life and can try studying it in school again. But I'm sharing some of what I do know. 

The direction of the lines at each station show the direction of the wind, and those little notches on the end of those lines tell the wind speed in knots. Some day I guess I'll do a full lesson on that. If you have time to sit and study a weather map, it can be enjoyable. A lot goes into drawing them. 

Last time I posted a forecast, I tried a 10-Day-Outlook, and IMHO, it was a big mess. This time I'm going to focus in on a 7 Day Forecast and get it as accurate as possible. 

The GFS now shows us drying out tomorrow, which I think is reliable. 

Especially since the NAM is on board with it. 

Even the ECMWF at Noon tomorrow only shows a little bit of rain in the region. And as great a model as it is, I've seen it make mistakes. 

Most of us tomorrow will probably just see a mix of sun and clouds, maybe slightly more clouds, and any rain showers should be really isolated. If I thought it was even a 20% chance of rain I'd include in the forecast above, but I think it's closer to a 10% chance, which means, don't even worry about it. Expecting a High near 64, Low of about 49. Following model output statistics. Those are being phased out in favor of National Blend of Models data, but the transition is sloppy so far, so I tend to use the older products that I'm used to until the newer format is better organized. Winds should be pretty light tomorrow, East/Northeast.

The computer models are in good agreement that we will stay dry on Monday. Skies should be partly to mostly sunny, and the High should get into upper 60's, Low in the lower 40's. 

The GFS has finally gotten on board with the idea the ECMWF was advertising for days, of another system coming out the Gulf and bringing more rain chances. The timing has speeded up on both models though, with some rain possible as early as Tuesday. Actually wouldn't be out of the question to see something Monday night. I think during the day Tuesday, showers will be widely scattered, but then at night, rain becomes likely. Should have a High near 60, Low near 50. 

Then as the system moves through on Wednesday, this latest run of the GFS shows less of a washout than previous forecasts have. 

Even looking at the European model, I'd only want to increase the rain chance to 40% or maybe 50% for Wednesday. As this system moves through late Tuesday into Wednesday, we'll also have breezy conditions because of the tight pressure gradient between this system as it comes up against the Appalachian Mountains. Looks like a High in the 50's and Low in the 40's. 

Then Thursday looks like a day of gradual clearing behind this next system. Probably a lot of clouds hanging around, at least early in the day, can't rule out an isolated shower early, but some gradual clearing as the day goes on, and High getting up into the lower 60's again, Low more toward the upper 40's.

Then on Friday we have a cold front dropping into the region, but it looks like we'll be on the southern dry end of it. 

Here's a simpler look at it than the raw model data. 

For any newcomers, the cold front is the blue line with the spikes on it. The spikes point in the direction it is moving, which is toward us. That L along the Oklahoma/Texas border is for low pressure, associated usually with rain. Though this front looks like a dry one as you go South. The H for the Carolinas is high pressure associated with dry weather, and usually cooler temperatures this time of year. Those red lines with the smoother bumps are warm fronts. A cold front is where cold air is overtaking warm air by lifting it up. And a warm front is where the warmer air is overtaking the colder air. 

For Friday I'm thinking High temperature in lower 60's again, Low in lower 50's. Might be just enough moisture around to justify a 20% rain chance, but may take rain out of the forecast here after reviewing the pattern as a whole. Still expecting more clouds than sun overall. 

And I'm forecasting mostly sunny skies for Saturday. The European model does show a different look, where the front moves very slowly, but even if that were to happen, this front looks mostly dry this far South. So it's not worth keeping rain chances in with that little evidence behind it. 

We'll likely see a frontal passage Saturday into Sunday of the following week. So we'll watch trends to see how much this cools us down Sunday and beyond. But for now, just forecasting for Saturday, High near 65, Low near 50 looks reasonable. Should be later in the day and the night hours that the colder air starts to come in behind this front. The weather is dynamic this time of year, and you have to evaluate these systems one at a time. 

Most of us will probably see an inch of rain or less for this forecast period, and as you get up into Tennessee, probably less than a half-inch. So this isn't going to get us out of the drought, but it is a good start in the right direction. It's typical for us to get dry during the Fall around here. Now over the Southern half of Alabama, they may be in for some higher rainfall totals, and they will probably welcome that. One great thing I'm gonna' point out is that droughts often end with something like flash flooding or a severe weather event. Especially have to watch for severe weather in the month of November around here. But this time, it looks like we are only getting beneficial rain and that the drought relief for now is coming in light-to-moderate amounts, just a peaceful whittling away at the drought conditions. We probably will not even have thunder with any of this rain this coming week. 

And of course, a salute to all our veterans today. Hope it was a good day for you. 

Though it wasn't so much for my cat, Salem, who was very disturbed by my cleaning and rearranging the house. He'll get over it, and his recuperation from the hip surgery seems to be going well. Though there are times he overdoes things and then gets a slight limp and has to rest. The vet's office says to just make him take it easy. 

I had a great-uncle (not sure how many "greats" go in there) who served in World War II, and I think about him today. Someone else in my family came back with terrible shellshock and made life pretty miserable for himself and his family unit, but this uncle (many "greats" in there) came back a sober but very peaceful man. I was lucky enough to know him at the end of his life some. I didn't really know the extent of what a strong man he was and how many adventures he had in and out of the war until after he was gone. And someone left me his writings about it all. It is good to remember once in a while that eve people who have seen the worst life has to offer can choose to cultivate more of the best that can be offered. Nobody's perfect, but the guy I called "uncle" was one of those. Who could have come back ranting and raving at everyone, but either caught a lucky break in the way his brain responded, or made a different choice. I tend to think there was a choice involved, and I am glad to have known him. He and his wife were distant family technically, but they lived so close to us and were such a part of our lives when I was a little kid that we never thought of them as distant at all. Once in a while I find myself wondering what he would say about things going on in the world today. Or there was a lady in my family who worked in the shipyards in Mobile in the great war. And she lived a very long life. She was the first person who ever told me about Hitler, before we even studied it in school or anything. So she would qualify as a veteran too. And things feel so complex now, the way we get news. It's hard to know what sources to trust sometimes. Sometimes even the best journalists have a hard time sorting out true from false. And tensions in the world are high, including a lot of unrest within our own country. So I sometimes wish I had the wisdom of those people to consult. The science-fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut was born on this day, which was Armistice Day for a long time. And he had a lot to say about serving in the second world war. He was not a fan of most of the later wars, and really, even if he was more whimsical and crude in the way he expressed it, he took the attitude that my uncle did. (We just called him Uncle Brac, seriously.) You can look up his books or short stories, essays if you want Kurt's version. My uncle's version, you can't find on Google, and he said that he thought he'd seen more men killed in one day than a coal miner sees in a lifetime. He was excited to go and fight, but after it was over, he quoted an old Indian chief, Chief Joseph of the Nez Pearce people, I believe, though the quote online is different from how I remember it hanging in my uncle and aunt's living room. The quote I remember was "From where the sun now stands, I will kill no more of God's creatures, not even the smallest animal, without absolute necessity." That kind of reverence for life, as Albert Schweitzer called it, can still have some value. So yeah, thanks, vets. 

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