Sunday: Periods of rain throughout the day and night. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible, and some could become strong, especially at night. High 66, Low 55
Monday: Rain showers likely - thunderstorms possible. A few storms could be strong, or even reach severe limits, especially in Northeast Alabama. High 67, Low 56
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Turning seasonably cold again. High 55, Low 34
Wednesday: Sunny. High 60, Low 29
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 62, Low 33
Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy. High 60, Low 39
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of rain. High 51, Low 38
Domingo: Períodos de lluvia durante el día y la noche. También son posibles tormentas aisladas, algunas de las cuales podrían volverse fuertes, especialmente por la noche. Máxima 66, Mínima 55
Lunes: Lluvias probables - tormentas eléctricas posibles. Algunas tormentas podrían ser fuertes o incluso alcanzar límites severos, especialmente en el noreste de Alabama. Máxima 67, Mínima 56
Martes: Mayormente soleado. Volviendo a hacer un frío estacional. Máxima 55, Mínima 34
Miércoles: Soleado. Máxima 60, Mínima 29
Jueves: Mayormente soleado. Máxima 62, Mínima 33
Viernes: Parcialmente a mayormente nublado. Máxima 60, Mínima 39
Sábado: Mayormente nublado con un 40% de probabilidad de lluvia. Máxima 51, Mínima 38
The Paint Rock River at Woodville is expected to experience minor flooding this weekend.
This has been Severe Weather Awareness Week. It wouldn't hurt to click on that link and review the basics. Spring will be here before you know it, which is our main tornado season.
One of the ways I still keep up with the weather when I'm not blogging and analyzing the details is regular old radio, and one of the better stations in North Alabama, 101.5 FM WJLX in Jasper, recently suffered a theft so bizarre that it was featured as a news story on Coast to Coast AM. I guess because even in a tough town, the disappearance of a 200-foot radio tower is about as wild as a story of alien abduction. (This is the radio show founded by Art Bell, who died on Friday the 13th a few years ago, show now carried on by George Noory and Ian Punnett.) The main reason I'm posting about it is that this station has lost its permission to actually broadcast from the FCC until they can replace the tower, which will cost at least $60,000. They are streaming online, which is how I had to listen to them anyway. But it is really a terrible situation. Their FM tower is fine, but because their AM tower "mysteriously disappeared" (probably a group of drug addicts managed to pull off this stunt, though I have to say, it's a step or two beyond going around bashing mailboxes or grabbing bits of copper and such from abandoned old houses), they are currently prohibited from broadcasting on the airwaves with their FM tower by the FCC. So the station's owner has set up a GoFundMe page. I'm usually not a fan of those, but in this case, the need is genuine. And I was happy to see that they've already gotten nearly $4,000 in just a few days. I saw where a radio station owner from Cullman donated generously, and many others are donating anonymously. These folks need all the help they can get, and they've got a great radio station if you like classic rock from before the year 2000 at all. Which I do. It also has a lot more personal feel than a lot of radio stations do anymore. So for whoever reads this blog, wanted you all to know about this. And if you could even throw a dollar, or five dollars, their way, I bet they would appreciate it. If you're as broke as I've been lately (much of that my own fault, to be frank, but still the case), then if you like that kind of music, I'd still encourage you to lend them some moral support by tuning in online. They've been running a great show on Sunday nights of classic rock songs remastered, often deep cuts that were never big hits in their day, but sound great when remastered with modern technology like people take for granted in producing music now. For some reason, "Susie Q" by Credence Clearwater Revival and "Funeral For a Friend" by Elton John especially sound good on there. If you're more of a metal head, that DJ (Coyote J) never fails to play some Ozzy Osbourne at some point during the night. And you'll hear some stuff that is totally new to you, or at least I have. I hope this station will come out of this strong, and I hope the perps will face some consequences.
By the way, the station also has a cell phone app if you'd rather stream it that way. I just use a web browser. Maybe it is not that important in the scheme of things. But it sure seems like these days, the kinds of people who would do something as petty as steal a radio tower to get money for dope are the ones who get the free passes. And I get tired of seeing the people suffer who are trying to put something into the world that has more value. And having a good radio station where the DJ's really care about their jobs is almost a noble act of protest in the world right now.
I think I'm about to give up my quaint act of protest, duplicating the forecasts in Spanish, because in the many months I've tried it, I haven't heard from even one person getting any good out of it. The harsh truth is probably that the Hispanics who have immigrated here in an honest way, and are working hard, have probably taken more trouble to learn our language of American English than most of us ever will in learning Spanish, even when visiting Mexico. And there is probably little to no value in such things. I think I'll do it one more time here and then drop it in the future. Because I do not think any native speakers are reading this blog who actually need any help. If I want to practice my Spanish, that's why the Good Lord made Duolingo. Or the people I see at the store.
At 9:30 AM the latest observations show fog and mist in Cullman, limiting the visibility to only 2 miles. The temperature is 61 degrees. The dewpoint-temperature is also 61, so the relative humidity is 100%. Winds are out of the South at 12 miles per hour. The pressure is 30.05 inches and holding fairly steady, though it has waffled up and down some over the last several hours.
It is overcast and 63 degrees in Jasper. The temperature and dewpoint are 63, so 100% relative humidity. Winds are calm. Pressure is 30.04 inches and fairly steady. The visibility is down to 8 miles in Jasper.
Haleyville has fog and mist, 60 degrees, 100% relative humidity. Winds are South at 9 miles per hour. The pressure is 30.04 inches/1016.3 millibars and steady in the same sense as the other sites. The visibility in Haleyville is down to 2 miles.
So not to patronize anyone, but please be careful if you have to drive through any of these areas of poor visibility today. This is superbowl weekend, and even if the weather was bright and sunny, there would be a lot of crazy driving going on for that reason. A salute to our law enforcement who try to keep such things to a minimum instead of chilling at home watching TV and eating nachos. If they eat donuts on the job, they've earned it on a weekend like this. I love donuts myself, but am laying off them for the moment in hopes of becoming less of a lardbutt again. Of course I'm joking around here a little too, as I don't know how bad it is to watch the traffic and try to get drunks and hooligans off the roads on superbowl weekend. I am merely using my imagination. And it is just common sense that when you have heavy fog on the biggest football weekend of the year, the roads are not gonna' be the safest.
Fort Payne is overcast and 62 but fortunately has a perfect 10 miles of visibility. I'm only going to mention visibility while gandering around the region from now on if it's bad. It is also overcast and 62 in Gadsden. Decatur is overcast and 63. Huntsville is overcast and 63 also. Winchester is overcast and 61. Fayetteville is foggy and 61 degrees, and the visibility is down to 4 miles there. The observations from Savannah (in Hardin County, Tennessee) continue to only be from February the 1st, so obviously can't use that. Then in Northwest Alabama, Muscle Shoals is overcast and 64. Over in Mississippi, Tupelo is overcast and 63, visibility down to 8 miles. It is raining in Memphis with a temperature of 61. Winds are from the Southwest gusting up to 22 mph at times, sustained at 6 miles per hour. And the visibility in Memphis is down to 8 miles. Nashville has rain and fog with a temperature of 62, and visibility in the Music City is down to 5 miles at this time.
That front is finally into our region and causing widespread rain, the bulk of it currently stretching from Central Tennessee back through Northern Mississippi.
We'll have periods of rain the rest of today and through the night hours. Today's High probably only makes it to about 64. While the risk is low, we will have to look out for isolated flooding issues as this front moves very slowly through the region today through Monday.
Tomorrow the main risk for severe thunderstorms will stay well to the South and West of the Tennessee Valley. But we will need to keep an eye on things around here, at least in North Central Alabama, because a few isolated stronger storms could get organized even up this way, particularly if we have any periods of clearing tomorrow, enough for the air to destabilize a little. And that is dicey. Overall it is expected to be another rainy day with a High of about 65-67 and a Low near 55.
Again on Monday, the main threat for any thunderstorms becoming severe with this system will be well away from us, in Southeast Alabama over into much of Georgia. However, we could see something isolated in North Alabama that gets up to severe limits. It is one of those borderline situations that are almost not worth mentioning because the risk is very low. But the reason it is worth mentioning is that if even one town gets hit by a severe storm, those people need to be ready for it ahead of time.
Rain is likely areawide on Monday, and some thunderstorms possible in the mix. The risk of any of those becoming severe is very low, but it could happen somewhere in North Alabama, fairly confident in just general rain and thunderstorms along the North of the Tennessee border. High expected to be in the mid/upper 60's again, the Low in the mid-50's.
With the Low pressure system moving through the region, Sunday night into Monday might be the most likely time to see any of those stronger thunderstorms around here.
Tuesday through Thursday, High pressure moves back in with plenty of sunshine behind this front.
Skies should be mostly sunny on Tuesday with a High in about the mid-50's and Low in the mid-30's.
Then for Wednesday, sunny skies, High near 60 and Low down near 30. Better radiational cooling, very dry air overnight.
Then mostly sunny Thursday with the High in the lower 60's and the Low rebounding to lower, maybe mid-30's.
Then we have another front coming in next weekend with more rain chances.
Should see a High near 60, Low near 40 on Friday, increasing clouds but probably no rain unless it comes in late at night/early Saturday morning.
Saturday looks wet by both the GFS and ECMWF model guidance, but for now only including a 40% chance of showers, which means scattered. With that cold front dropping in here, our High on Saturday may only make it up to about 50 or so. So this thing next weekend looks like a cool rain, and it's not clear yet how widespread the rain will be. I'll chew on whether or not to do a 50% chance of rain instead of 40% as I finish up this discussion.
Now for tomorrow, the best chance of even isolated severe thunderstorms appears to have shifted to down around Birmingham and points South. So that is good news for us tomorrow, up in North Alabama (and Southern Middle Tennessee).
Most people trust the HRRR model these days, but I trust the NAM more for this situation because of the time-range, because I've seen it be fairly reliable over a long period of time, and because the HRRR sometimes gets things right but also displays some real wild-goose-chases at other times. When the severe weather threat is this marginal, I'm relying on the NAM. Besides, I glanced at the HRRR guidance. Its time range isn't even as long as the NAM, and nothing looks alarming other here. So I don't care if it's old-fashioned, let's look at the NAM.
And it does show just enough combination of instability and wind shear to notice over some of the Southern counties of the Tennessee Valley tomorrow morning around daybreak.
Taking a forecast sounding from down around Smith Lake, the wind shear and helicity is ample, but the instability looks very weak. Usually you need at least about 500 j/kg of CAPE to support severe thunderstorms. So something could pulse up and produce some brief wind damage somewhere, but this potential looks very, very low.
However, by Noon on Monday, the instability and wind shear look a little more substantial, highest in Northeast Alabama.
I took this forecast sounding from about the county line where Marshall and Dekalb County meet. It shows better than 1,500 joules of CAPE combined with about 200 m^2/s^2 of 3 km Helicity, which is down in the 100's for the lowest kilometer of the atmosphere. So this would support a risk for thunderstorms capable of damaging winds, severe hail, or even an isolated tornado.
And that is reflected in the Monday outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. Please keep in mind though that even in Northeast Alabama, where the risk will be focused, the chance of a thunderstorm becoming severe is only about 5%.
So this is a very low-end threat for isolated severe thunderstorms, mainly on Monday, although it wouldn't be impossible to see something tomorrow or tomorrow night. I doubt Tennessee will have any problems, but all of North Alabama should stay aware just in case. Though it will probably be along and East of I-65 where anything tries to go severe.
The last few times we had setups like this, nothing really happened. But one thing that is different about this situation is that we don't have crazy-high gradient winds in place. Sometimes severe weather threats can "bust" because of too much wind shear. And that is not what we have this time. We have just enough wind shear to be concerned about. So to be on the safe side, I'd encourage everyone in North Alabama, but especially far Northeast Alabama, to be on the alert, mainly Monday, but wouldn't hurt to watch tomorrow too, especially tomorrow night. Just to be on the safe side.
You never need to use outdoor sirens as your primary source of warnings.
Best is a NOAA Weather Radio or a phone service like WeatherCall. So if you don't have either of those, and want to keep up with severe weather reliably, put that on the agenda for before we get into Spring. But at the minimum, you need to enable Wireless Emergency Alerts on a cell phone. You don't get Severe Thunderstorm Warnings from WEA unless it is marked a "Particularly Dangerous Situation", but they do give you Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings.
If you get a Severe Thunderstorm Warning (or Tornado Warning), you need to act fast and get into a small central room (or hallway) on the lowest floor of a sturdy house, away from windows. It is better if you can be in a house that is properly anchored to the ground, a site-built home, rather than a mobile home. And if it is a tornado trying to happen, I would not advise anybody to stay in a mobile home. In a tornado, you're probably safer lying in an unflooded culvert or ditch or even flat on the ground outside than staying in there.
This severe weather risk is very low, but as we get closer to March and then into April, we will probably see some days with more organized severe weather threats. And it's important to be prepared. Since this risk is so low, just giving you a bare-bones refresher on safety.
Most of us are not going to see any stronger storms though, just a lot of rain from this event. Rainfall amounts across the Tennessee Valley are expected to average between 2-3 inches over the next 7 Days. Keep in mind though, that does include next Saturday, whatever rain we get then.
The threat for flooding this weekend is not much higher than the threat for a few thunderstorms becoming severe. It is not enough to justify a Flood Watch, but some isolated problems could occur somewhere. If you see water covering a road, remember the old slogan: Turn around, don't drown.
Roads can be washed out under even minor flood waters. And if the flooding happens on a bridge, the danger is even greater. Driving into flood waters not only puts the driver at risk, but can be dangerous for workers trying to rescue the person. So I always try to discourage people from taking a gamble on that. But again, the risk is low with this event. Mentioning it just in case.
I don't really care about the superbowl, but the rest of you can have fun with it. I'm having some nachos anyway though. My lovably psychotic little cat, Salem, had his first helping of weekend wet food today. He ate it with gusto, but then he tried to eat some of my stew afterward anyway. I like to relax with classic sci-fi stories on a Sunday evening instead of watching the ball game. And have some good music going. To each their own. As I think it over though, I do wish now I'd bought some donuts for this weekend. They don't do that much extra harm. And the times I've gotten slim and trim didn't have a whole lot to do with diet anyway, more to do with being active and burning all that energy off. People look skeptical now if I ever mention having washboard abs in the past, so I won't claim that I ever did. But this is my whimsical, roundabout way of saying that when the weather turns nice next week, those of you who would rather actively engage in the world than be lardbutts ought to get out and take a good walk. Which I say mainly because it's so much easier to preach to other people than to do it myself.
12:22 PM Update - Looks like while I was finishing up this forecast package, the Storm Prediction Center updated the outlooks a little bit.
This still supports the idea that tomorrow night into at least about Noon or early afternoon Monday, North Alabama does have a risk for thunderstorms trying to become severe, even if the overall risk is a very low one. And the risk is expected to mainly stay on the Alabama side. If there are any issues in Tennessee, it'd be most likely in the Southeast counties of the state on Monday.
The more organized severe weather is still expected to stay to our South. Central and Southern Georgia may have a "fun" day Monday, and some of that may extend into the Florida Panhandle.
Tomorrow any organized severe weather is expected to be in East Texas, Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, and far Southwest Alabama.
We may not get anything at all up this way either day (or overnight between the two days), and if we do, it should stay pretty isolated. But it is still worth staying somewhat alert and having a safety plan just in case of anything. We'll need that some time in the Spring months anyway. So doesn't hurt to rehearse it now.
Jim Stefkovich wrote an excellent forecast for the Alabama EMA about this low-end severe thunderstorm potential as well as the flooding potential (also on the low side, but it does exist). He used to be in charge of the National Weather Service in Birmingham and is one of the best meteorologists out there. Great guy too, met him briefly one time when they had open house. He was as friendly as anyone else there, not always the case for a head honcho.