Sunday, January 28, 2024

More Seasonable Weather This Week, Few Rain Chances Any Time Soon

Monday (High 50, Low 32): Partly to mostly sunny, with clouds gradually decreasing throughout the day. Lightly breezy, especially early in the day, and staying seasonably cold.

Tuesday (High 59, Low 28): Mostly sunny and breezy. An isolated shower is possible in the evening or at night.

Wednesday (High 51, Low 35): Mostly sunny. Breezy.

Thursday (High 54, Low 29): Sunny.

Friday (High 60, Low 34): Mostly sunny.

Saturday (High 55, Low 35): Mostly sunny.

Sunday (High 49, Low 36): Partly to mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers. 

At 7 PM this evening we have fog, mist, and some sort of precipitation. But my cat Salem has been running me crazy, I've slept crazy hours, and I don't feel like stepping outside, so I'm just going to trust the official observations on this one. Which says "unknown precipitation." It is currently 41 degrees in Cullman, so if we did have any flakes of snow or pellets of sleet, they would not accumulate. It's pretty common this time of year to have to wonder what kind of precipitation to call something when it's light on the back side of a cold front. Visibility is down to 6 miles. It is 41 degrees with a relative humidity of 100%, dewpoint also at 41 degrees. Winds are from the Northwest at 8 miles per hour with higher gusts up to 14 mph. The pressure is 30.19 inches and steady. Our High today was 45 with a Low pretty close to it, at 41. And overall we were overcast and breezy.

By the way, if you've never heard it, you should check out Coyote J's Cemetery of Rock on 101.5 FM out of Jasper. He plays some real gems from the 1970's, 80's, and 90's on actual discs, not just the digital version, which sound a lot better than when they first came out because of remaster technology. He opened up with an Elton John song tonight that I always forget the title of, don't think it was one of his bigger hits, but a great one. The show goes from 7 PM to Midnight every Sunday night. I'm glad that guy is back on the air, because it is refreshing to hear a DJ who truly loves music, and his sense of humor is the type that's mostly shunned by the modern world. Even folks like Dave Chappelle end up getting in trouble for it. Yet it's kept classy for a family-friendly radio station that plays classic rock. Don't think they play anything past the year 2000, and that's the only qualm I have about the station. Because I do like newer music too. But this is a great, great radio show. And there just aren't many people who put effort into good local radio stations anymore. Sometimes I've surfed around and listened to stations from other parts of the country to find the kind of radio I used to love hearing. So it is a breath of fresh air to have one so close to home. Another good one as far as choice of music is Live 95.5 in Cullman, but there, I haven't heard any DJ's that have the kind of passion for music or personality that the Coyote man does. He used to be on stations like 99.5 or 107.7 the X in Birmingham. And the kind of show he's doing is basically extinct. I think Alice Cooper still does a show like this, but you know, he's a national superstar, not a local personality. 

We do have some lingering light precipitation, mainly in far Northeast Alabama, there in Jackson County, stretching up into Franklin County, Tennessee. This looks like a mix of light rain and snow flurries, but no meaningful accumulation is expected. Always be careful for slick spots on roads in a situation like this though, especially elevated surfaces like bridges. Because even if it is only rain, as temperatures drop later in the night, and the next morning, that moisture can freeze on the roadways. Even fog can do that sometimes. It's usually not that big a deal, but it can become one if you are that unlucky person who's taking it too fast and happens to go slipping and sliding on that random spot. 

By the way, today was the anniversary of that winter storm that took us all by surprise in 2014. I actually had an uncle who had to sleep over at his workplace in Birmingham because of it. I'm linking to a recap of the event, but off the top of my head, nobody expected any impact because it was going to be less than an inch of snow. But then we had a flash freeze of some rain on the roads. And it was horrible. There were some people that even froze to death after getting stranded in their cars. That is why I'm extra careful these days, if I think there's even a mild chance for snow accumulation or any hazards from that sort of thing, I try to call it straight down the middle. And am hesitant to say "no impact." Unless I feel sure of that. That was one of the biggest forecast busts ever. Nobody took into account beforehand the scenario that happened, where things just froze before the snow started falling, when so many people were out driving. I have to give credit to the National Weather Service in Birmingham for putting together excellent pages on their past weather events, more than most NWS offices do. They have done this consistently even during the past few years, when circumstances were often challenging. I know Chris Darden is in charge there now, and he was always great at the Huntsville office. Of course, their other two head honchos I remember, Jim Stefkovich and Ken Graham, also brought out the best in their staff. I heard good things about them. Mr. Graham went on to be the head of the National Hurricane Center and is now the leader of the National Weather Service period. He is in charge of the whole operation on the national level. These days, the Birmingham office has more great workers than I can remember all at one time. Kevin Laws especially stands out in my mind, has done several interviews on the Weatherbrains podcast, cares a lot about what he's doing. And there's John De Block, who's been there a long time, cares about doing the job right. These days, I have major respect for Ken Graham though, because (and he's shared this publicly) he lost a lot of weight a few years back. Something I am failing to do. Yes, I'm afraid the rumors are true, I am still a lardbutt. Lewis Grizzard said that lardbutts need love too. But let me tell ya', I got treated better before I became a lardbutt. I don't recommend anybody buy into this "healthy at any weight" tripe that's being sold these days. If you're fat, admit it, and try to slim down. If you fail, like I have so far, then bless your heart. And it's not the end of the world if you're stuck with being a lardbutt. Sort of like it's not the end of the world if you have to squeeze by on unemployment or food stamps. But it sure feels better to have lots of money in the bank and be able to enjoy picking up your grub from the grocery store or your favorite burger or taco palace. And I sure liked being slender and buff better than I do being a lardbutt. So . . . props to Ken Graham on putting the lardbuttness behind him and being one of the best guys ever to work for the Weather Bureau, as it used to be called back in the days when people were smarter than their phones and computers. 

Three guesses why I never got offered a job in broadcast meteorology . . . 

We have Northwest wind flow and High pressure moving in from the Plains behind this latest cold front, the one that stalled out and brought us plenty of rain to help us out with the drought. 

Tomorrow that high pressure will continue to move into the Southeast, and we will see decreasing clouds, partly sunny skies, with a High near 50 and a Low tonight near freezing. Winds should be from the North, sometimes Northwest, and be dying down to about 5-10 mph range. The clouds have lingered behind this front a little more than was expected. 

On Tuesday a closed Low will bring wintry precipitation to the Great Lakes. Around here, the cold front associated with it will sweep down our way in the evening. And it looks like we will have some rain chances after all, mainly in Northeast Alabama up into Tennessee and Kentucky. Should start the day with cold, dry air Tuesday, about 30 degrees or perhaps even in the upper 20's, and then warm to nearly 60 degrees by afternoon with this brief shot of warm, moist air. Doubt we quite make it to the 60-degree mark, probably more like 58-59. These forecasts are for Cullman, by the way, even if I mention other places nearby. It will get breezy with this new system coming through. And while will keep the mention of mostly sunny skies, will introduce a 20% chance of rain to the forecast, which means just isolated showers possible. 

If we have any lingering isolated showers on Wednesday, should be early in the morning. Overall skies will be clearing with Northwest flow aloft and High pressure moving in at the surface again. Still expecting a light breeze behind the front. High temperature should be near 50 again with a morning Low in the mid-30's.

High pressure will be centered down along the Gulf Coast on Thursday, and we will be sunny with a High back in the lower 50's, maybe mid-50's for some spots, and the Low back down around 30 degrees again. This is pretty seasonal weather now, which we definitely have not had lately. 

For the rest of the forecast period, I'll just use the WPC graphics, since we have some disagreement long-range with the two major global models. And I can tell it's one of those things where you just have to watch trends over the next few days to figure out exactly what it's going to do. But here are the basic ideas. 

First we have a clipper system moving through New England on Friday, and the cold front with it should push through our region Saturday. For now it is looking like it will be dry and only bring a slight increase in clouds around here. The High on Friday is expecting to climb up close to 60 again, after a morning Low in the lower, possibly mid-30's. Then Saturday, that front doesn't look particularly strong, looking at mid-50's for the afternoon, mid-30's for the morning. 

Guess I'll show the raw model data for this after all. On Sunday, another low pressure system comes our way from Texas. Here is the more southerly track advertised by the GFS. 

The ECMWF brings it more up toward the North/Northeast, which would bring us more rain chances. 

Expecting a High near 50, Low in mid-30's. Will introduce a 30% chance of rain. 

And since the models are struggling at Day 7, no need to try to look out 10 Days this time. The data from doing that lately has been junk anyway. 

Rainfall amounts over the next week are expected to be very light, about a tenth of an inch or less. 

P.S. I made a serious mistake above, in saying that people froze to death during the winter storm of January 28, 2014. Upon reading the summary of the event again, I see that nine people died, but it was from plain old wrecks. I think I made the mistake because when the event happened, I was thinking about how the people stranded could run out of gas and freeze to death. But as far as I can tell, nobody actually did. I remember that James Spann had to abandon his car and jog about the last mile to work. He said it was no problem, he needed the exercise. So see, there we are back to the lardbutt theme. I've got to get back in that mindset, that I need the exercise. And let my cat be the one to get fat. He just got some Sheba chicken flavor as part of his weekend. Because he has been relatively well-behaved lately, and charming even when he's running me crazier. It is a weird stage in knowing how to feed him, currently trying to slowly wean him off his old kitten chow and onto adult cat food. He is not always too thrilled with that. 

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