Friday, May 10, 2024

Cool and Pleasant Weekend, Some Rain Returns Next Week

FORECAST:

Friday (High 75, Low 60): Mostly sunny. Cool, breezy at times. 

Saturday (High 77, Low 50): Sunny. Mild. 

Sunday (High 79, Low 52): Mostly sunny. Mild. 

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Monday (High 76, Low 55): Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers.

Tuesday (High 75, Low 57): Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of showers. 

Wednesday (High 80, Low 60): Partly to mostly sunny. 

Thursday (High 78, Low 63): Thunderstorms likely - some could be strong. 

MEANINGLESS DRIVEL:

It was very stormy last night and early this morning over much of the Tennessee Valley, and the thunderstorms did appear to reach severe limits in and around Cullman County this morning. But after that, overall it was a mostly sunny day. Winds were light and variable. The High in Cullman was 84, and the Low this morning was 63. More of the clouds came back for Jasper this evening, and I see that they have been under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for potential for storms redeveloping this evening and tonight. The High there was 88, Low 66. Haleyville also stayed mostly clear today after the morning storms. Best I recall, they never went under a warning, just had a special weather statement out for potential of strong wind gusts, maybe a little small hail. 

And if I continue to do this blog at all, I think I'm going to scale it back to just Cullman, Walker, and Winston Counties for who I'm thinking about in the forecasts and any real-time severe weather updates. 


Even though I managed to sleep through the issuance of the Severe Thunderstorm Watch that included Walker County (it's rare to sleep through a NOAA Weather Radio going off, but it can be done, if one is exhausted and depressed enough), it's good to see that overall North Alabama is in the clear this evening/tonight. It is after 10 PM as I'm writing this. There is one isolated shower moving into Southern Cullman County around Bremen, Colony, Arkadelphia, the same areas that first got a severe thunderstorm this morning before those warnings were expanded through the rest of the county and to include other counties, as a last gasp of this annoying and malicious storm system around here. If we thought one crazy day and night of it was bad, imagine how folks in the Plains and Midwest must feel, dealing with multiple rounds of it lately while we enjoyed a ridge of high pressure out this way. A lot of the radar echoes here are probably virga, rain that isn't even making it to the ground. They do have some showers and thunderstorms around and South/Southeast of Birmingham. And it's South of Birmingham that the storms have mainly regenerated this evening, best I can tell. I think I did see a mention of a thunderstorm becoming severe in Lamar and Pickens counties with really large hail again today. 

But our flash flooding problems have ended in North Alabama and up across the Tennessee state line. Got some problems with that in Birmingham still, and down into Shelby County. It is nice to see things clearing out finally. 




The latest surface analysis shows the front working through about the Northern third of the state, and the severe thunderstorms now seem to be confined to the Southern third of the state. So not expecting any more big problems around here through the weekend. 

That severe thunderstorm watch that includes Walker County expires in about 30 minutes. I don't think it's going to do anything. 



The GFS is showing clear skies here tomorrow, maybe a few fair-weather clouds would linger in the morning, but we don't mind those, do we . . . High should get into the mid/upper 70's, about the 74-77 range, taking the guidance from NAM and GFS and common sense. Low tonight/in the morning near 60. 



High pressure from out West will stay in charge of our weather for Saturday, and we'll be sunny with a High again in the mid/upper 70's and the Low dropping back to about 50, great radiational cooling. 



Mostly sunshine will hold on Sunday, and we'll warm up into the upper 70's, Low in the lower 50's.



Anyway the models haven't come into agreement for Monday. The GFS is still ranting and raving about a bunch of rain coming in here really fast ahead of a closed Low over the Midwest. 


The ECMWF keeps the rain down along the Gulf Coast and just isn't in as big a hurry. 

For now I'm still keeping the forecast conservative with a 30% rain chance. Should see a High in the mid-70's, Low in mid-50's. 



Looks like that Low opens up into more of a trough as it moves into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday. But I don't agree with the GFS timing for the rain chances here. 


The ECMWF has a better handle on the timing of our rain down here I think, and between it and the GFS and again my own common sense, I think we'll have a 40%, maybe 50% chance of showers on Tuesday. Looks like a High in the mid-70's again, Low rebounding up to about 60. 



It does look like we will get a break in the action on Wednesday. The European model was in good agreement with the American model (shown above) on this. So I'm either keeping rain chances minimal (20%) for Wednesday or giving them a rest for one day completely. Expecting a High back near 80, Low near 60. 



Then at the end of the period next Thursday, a more potent storm system looks to organize, centered back out West, but bringing us more significant rain chances. And depending on the placement of certain features and how the mesoscale details trend, we'll have monitor this one for severe weather potential. Our main severe weather season does run through the end of May. 

For now will just push rain/thunderstorm chances into the likely category, about a 60% chance, and a High roughly near 80 again but probably upper 70's, the Low in the lower 60's. 


Rainfall amounts for this forecast period should be about 1-2 inches. 

So let's talk about this weird severe weather event we just had. 

First of all, I am not happy with the quality of my forecast for it. Even though I went into a ridiculous amount of detail trying to figure out what it was going to do, I mostly got it wrong. It is some small consolation that everyone else I saw forecasts from got it wrong too. That explosion of supercells focused in North and then Northeast Alabama right after sundown was not something I expected. Especially for them to produce multiple tornadoes with a lot of damage. 

But let's talk about what actually happened. 



It is surprising to me that the Henagar tornado only has an F-2 rating. A lot of people, including me, thought the Tornado Emergency was justified last night and that the damage would be more like an F-3 or higher. Seven people were injured, I see. 

And by the way, I don't have TV channels. I can only watch movies on my television screen. I tried three different antennas at different times, and I cannot get television service where I live. So if I seem like I'm in the dark about a lot of what's been on the news, that is why. Sometimes I watch TV with people I know who have cable. But they are up to speed on a lot of stuff I'm not. The reason I say this is that I streamed some news coverage this morning and remembered what it was like not to have to comb through online to find damage pictures and descriptions. 

Anyway, the tornado that hit Brigadoon in Limestone County was rated an F-3. And somehow nobody got hurt. 

They still have to survey the Huntsville stuff and the stuff in Jackson County. And really the first day of a survey doesn't necessarily show the final results. They might go back over some of this later. It's amazing the work that forecast office puts in. 


Then the Nashville office has only begun their surveys too but has already found three tornadoes. Not surprising that the Columbia one was the strongest. And it is so rare for NWS Nashville to issue a Tornado Emergency, or can't remember if they specifically used that tag, but I know they gave the Tornado Warning the highest possible damage tag, Catastrophic. 


For all the destruction they do, I still find them to be beautiful storms. I would have loved to have been there to see that, at that vantage point. I've seen tornadoes before and heard tornadoes before. But that is one of those that is awe-inspiring. And I love the waterfall sound it makes. 


 And this was a good laugh. 






Between yesterday and today, this turned out to be quite a severe weather outbreak, including some tornadoes that did significant damage and produced some injuries. Not sure of any confirmed deaths yet. 

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