Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Sunny Tomorrow, Storms Friday

FORECAST:

Thursday (High 84, Low 56): Sunny. Patchy fog possible in the morning. 

Friday (High 78, Low 63): Thunderstorms likely, perhaps lasting into the overnight hours. Some storms may become severe. 

Saturday (High 79, Low 65): Partly to mostly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms still possible, especially in the morning. Where storms form, they could still be strong, or even reach severe limits. 

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Sunday (High 83, Low 61): Mostly sunny. 

Monday (High 87, Low 60): Sunny. 

Tuesday (High 90, Low 63): Mostly sunny. 

Wednesday (High 89, Low 69): Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers/thunderstorms.

PRONÓSTICO:

Jueves (Máxima 84, Mínima 56): Soleado. Posible niebla irregular por la mañana.

Viernes (Máxima 78, Mínima 63): Es probable que haya tormentas eléctricas, que tal vez duren hasta altas horas de la noche. Algunas tormentas pueden volverse severas.

Sábado (Máxima 79, Mínima 65): Parcialmente a mayormente nublado con tormentas eléctricas dispersas aún posibles, especialmente en la mañana. Cuando se forman tormentas, aún podrían ser fuertes o incluso alcanzar límites severos.

PERSPECTIVA EXTENDIDA:

Domingo (Máxima 83, Mínima 61): Mayormente soleado.

Lunes (Máxima 87, Mínima 60): Soleado.

Martes (Máxima 90, Mínima 63): Mayormente soleado.

Miércoles (Máxima 89, Mínima 69): Parcialmente nublado con un 20 % de probabilidad de lluvias/tormentas eléctricas.

NOTES:

The National Weather Service in Huntsville has compiled a preliminary report on the May 8-9 severe weather event, though they are still working on the surveys and writing everything up. And the National Weather Service in Nashville has also put together a page about the event, which may also be tweaked over the next week or so. 

There have been some recent changes to National Weather Service web pages. Here is an explanation of those

And maybe the best news in weather in a while, Daryl Herzmann's "IEMBOT" accounts have been re-enabled on Twitter. He posted a picture of the Undertaker (from wrestling - pretty sure he finally retired, but had a long run) rising out of a coffin to celebrate having them back. If you would like to follow updates from the NWS Huntsville (which covers Cullman County), you can do so here

Some free advice: If you're not used to being outside for big chunks of the day, might want to pace yourself on some of the warmer days, or especially next week when we're going up to about 90. I learned this the hard way lately by taking a long walk during the warmest part of the day and going up some hills. And it was only about 80 degrees or upper 70's. I only got weirded out by it, but to be serious, some people could suffer heat exhaustion or even a heatstroke if they're not careful next week. I know some people see it as "alarmist" to talk about heat safety, but more people get heatstroke every year than get hit by tornadoes or even lightning. A little common sense goes a long way, and as long as you pace yourself and keep some water handy, you should be okay. I just got really hot and tired when I didn't expect it. But some people actually get sick just because they're not paying attention. Heatstroke is the worst-case scenario, but I've had what they call "heat exhaustion" before, and even that was pretty miserable, was after a concert many years ago - great festival though, Puddle of Mudd was even part of it, liked them best of anybody on the bill. If you're a lardbutt (like I unfortunately am these days . . . have lost some weight and am still working on it, as I find it shameful, even in this era where people are against "fat-shaming" . . . I used to look halfway decent at a swimming pool, and . . . hey, I miss that), the heat might get to you more. And all joking aside, there are other medical issues people can have that mean they need to take it easier. Because I could just see somebody getting excited when the weather finally clears up next week and going out to work on something . . . and you know . . . wouldn't want that guy to collapse because he was trying to do things the manly way. Of course that may be a moot point because if somebody is that tough (or thinks so), probably don't give a damn what I say anyway. They'll just tough it out. But I'm letting you know, spending a good half hour or more out there is different from just going out for shorter periods of time. If your body is not used to it this year, then even the low-80's might get you good and sweaty. But we're going up to about 90 next week when we haven't had that in a while. And after the temperatures have been up and down, up and down. So if you're finally working on something with the weather clearing up next week, might still want to take it a little easy until we have time to get used to the heat this year. 

I have gotten absolutely zero feedback on the Spanish versions of forecasts. But I mainly keep doing them because I had a knack for Spanish when I was a kid at a church one of my parents went to (that a lot of Hispanics attended . . . and somehow I thought since I loved tacos and Mexican food, I should be able to talk to 'em . . . perfect logic) and then later in high school. To the point that a lot of people called me by my Spanish name outside of class. And these days, I know it gets politically contentious, people arguing over how open or closed the Southern border should be with Mexico, but the fact is: A lot of people speaking that language are already with us. And especially these days, when people are so trigger-happy, I believe in trying to get along with people when I can. But I don't want anyone to think I'm virtue-signalling, because I am clearly not virtuous. I just still really like burritos and tacos and other Mexican food. That ties back into the lardbutt reference above. Totally sticking to scientific language here. In case you haven't heard, the new word for being fat is no longer "obese". It is "lardbutt". Lewis Grizzard came out of his grave to make them change it to that. So there ya' go. But seriously, I just use Google Translate and then fix all the mistakes it makes. Which is kind of tiring, but less so than trying to figure out how to type accent marks above letters on a keyboard designed for American English. 

If anybody was triggered by my use of the word "lardbutt", here is a music video that could potentially trigger you even more, or make you laugh, depending on your disposition. A now-deceased grandmother of mine (who read tea leaves for real, which I only joke about on here when doing 10-day-outlooks, so she might haunt me if I'm not kind here) who did have some serious weight problems, I mean really serious, laughed so hard at this song she nearly busted a gut. So that means you can too. I promise, it's okay. Even if you weigh like 500 pounds. A belly laugh can be a good thing. 

(Now with my strange luck, watch some really fat dude laugh so hard that he falls and busts his head, gets a concussion, and I get sued . . .) 

And if anybody was triggered by me talking about Spanish and Hispanic folks, then feel free to leave me a flame below (or by e-mail, but at the same time, here is a great old country song that makes Mexico sound really romantic. I don't feel like writing anything more serious tonight. 

Well, okay, just briefly, here is my statement on why I think immigration can be a good thing, and isn't always just lowlifes trying to smuggle in fentanyl or otherwise increase crime on the streets. Some issues are complex. 

And in case Friday gets complex, here is a look back at severe weather safety rules. 

All right, I'm outta' here, have a good night.  

DISCUSSION:

At 3 PM skies are partly cloudy in Cullman with a temperature of 77 degrees. The dewpoint is 64 degrees, making the relative humidity 65%. Winds are variable at 5 miles per hour, with higher gusts up to 14 mph. The pressure is 29.80 inches and steady. 

It is partly cloudy in Jasper, also at 77 degrees. The dewpoint is 68, making the relative humidity 74%. Winds are from the Northwest at 10 mph. The pressure is 29.80 inches and steady. 

Haleyville is overcast and 75 degrees. The dewpoint is 62, making the relative humidity 64%. Winds are variable at 6 mph. The pressure is 29.84 inches/1008.9 millibars and steady. 

Elsewhere around the area, Fort Payne is mostly cloudy and 75. Decatur is mostly sunny with a westerly breeze (15 mph) and 80 degrees. Huntsville also had a westerly wind, gusting to 24 mph at times there, they are partly cloudy and 80 degrees. Fayetteville is another breezy site, Northwest winds gusting to 18 mph there, partly cloudy and 75. Winchester has West winds gusting up to 18 mph, mostly cloudy skies and 75 degrees there. 







Rain today has been spotty across the region, and the showers have been so light it might be more apt to call them sprinkles. Still we had a shower this morning at my house that prompted the Salem cat to run back inside. He seemed to sense it before it started falling too. Overall I'd say we were mostly sunny today, but we did have some lingering light showers (even though I didn't believe the computer model guidance that tried to tell me so a few days ago). And there were times, mainly in the morning, when the clouds definitely took up more of the sky than the sunlight. So I would consider the forecast for today only so-so, not exactly busted, but not up to standards I'm aiming for when I do this thingamajig. 


I was off the grid for the most part yesterday, and the severe thunderstorms stayed to the North of home base (Cullman, Walker, Winston counties). But we did have some damaging winds, especially North of the Tennessee border. There was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect and several warnings. Lawrence County, TN seemed to get the worst of it, with some large trees down, damage to the roof of a house, and even some barns destroyed. Then over in Moore County, they had some trees down (at least one in the road) and a power line knocked down. And then even on the Alabama side, Huntsville had a tree come down on a home on the East/Southeast side of town. And now I see that Winston County did get quarter-sized hail near Needmore and Haleyville. That was at about 6:23 PM yesterday. So we did have some minor severe weather in the area yesterday. And if you're that person whose barn gets destroyed, or a tree comes down on you, it doesn't seem like a low-end event. 



Tomorrow we come under a ridge of high pressure just for one day. We could see a little patchy fog in the morning, but after that, skies should be sunny with a High making it up to about 83-84. The Low overnight should be down to about 57-56, really dry air for the latter half of May. 




Then Friday we get more rain and thunderstorms. We are really going to have to watch the track of this surface Low and how the parameters trend for any severe weather potential. The Storm Prediction Center has put us under a risk, even though it's a low one, and we'll talk about that a little later. 


If we end up getting that secondary Low down near the Gulf Coast like the GFS shows again here, this valid at 1 AM going into Saturday morning, then that would likely choke off our potential up here and produce severe weather chances more for South Alabama. It is a close call with this one. 

But thunderstorms are likely on Friday with a High in the upper 70's, about 76-78 range, the Low about 61-63 range. 



And on Saturday, it is looking more and more like we will at least deal with lingering showers. A lot of the rain and storms could come in Friday night, more than in the daylight hours. Depending on the timing of everything, we might even have to look out for thunderstorms becoming severe into Saturday. As of right now, I think the chance of that is low. But we don't have a clear idea of the timing of this system - Friday, Friday night, at least some rain lasting into Saturday. 


The European model only tries to clear the rain out of here slightly faster than the American one. They've both still got rain going on at 1 PM Saturday. 

For now going to cap the rain chance off at 40% for Saturday. The better timing for rain and storms seems to be Friday into Friday night. But some rain (maybe thunderstorms too) will likely last into at least the morning hours on Saturday. 

High/Low temperatures similar to Friday except the Low might be a degree or two warmer with the moist air overnight, could be more like mid-60's, still expecting a High in upper 70's. 



Then mostly sunny skies will quickly return on Sunday. We'll have strong Northwest wind flow aloft and high pressure down at the surface. The High should get into the lower 80's again, the Low about 60 or so. 




Similar morning temperatures for Monday, but with sunny skies, most of us will probably see upper 80's for the High. It's about to be summer after all. 



Then on Tuesday, we'll probably get up to about 90 degrees. This summer is going to be interesting. We've got record-warm ocean temperatures, so at least the tropics are likely to be very active. Remains to be seen if we get a heat wave early in the season, but if we do, we'll be glad we had all this rain to absorb into the ground beforehand. The Low on Tuesday should be in the lower 60's. 



For Wednesday the GFS shows another cold front coming at us but running into the strong ridge of high pressure that has built in by then. And the ECMWF doesn't show any rain at all. So keeping the probability of precipitation very low here, 20%, just isolated if we get anything, is how it looks right now. High should be in the upper 80's, the Low in the upper 60's or perhaps 70 for a few spots. 

After that, the model guidance gets messy. The GFS and ECMWF can't agree on the timing of some more disturbances. And it's questionable anyway how much they can overcome that ridge of high pressure. Looked at 10-day outlooks from two TV stations but don't agree with either one of them, except some of the temperature forecasts, think they've got the rain chances too high. Don't think it's worth doing a 10-day outlook here. I may not get paid for this, but the wonderful tradeoff of it being an amateur effort is that I don't have any corporate bigwigs cracking the whip and making me come up with absurdly long forecasts like that, that everybody knows are not all that reliable. I might start trying some 10-day forecasts again once we get into a summer pattern. But we are still in May. And there are already enough grey areas in this forecast out to seven days. 

In general if you're curious about Thursday through Saturday, I'd say there's a good chance Highs stay in the upper 80's and Lows get close to 70 or at least upper 60's. And the rain chance will probably stay about 20%. Might be more like 30% one of those days, but I don't know which. The guidance between the two global models is messy. And if I was forced to forecast it, I'd probably stick with 20% for all three days, because even in late May, those ridges can be hard to overcome for a bigger rain event. And it's a toss-up which model to believe about rain chances being higher than that, when. So that's the closest I could come to a good estimate. 


The latest run of the NAM looks alarming for severe weather potential around here. So I want to emphasize that it has gone back and forth on this a lot. Earlier today there was a run of the NAM that showed very limited instability up this way. But as of right now it's showing EHI values up to 6-7, which if it were to verify, would be very concerning for all modes of severe weather, of course including tornadoes. 


And then it's showing some chances for another round of severe weather (but parameters not nearly as high) on Saturday afternoon and evening. So that's something to keep an eye on. 



If you look at a forecast sounding from around Cullman and then up around Huntsville (where it looks even worse), there is more than enough unstable air to support severe weather, more than 3,000 joules/kilogram of CAPE. And then especially around Huntsville, the wind shear is more than enough too, the Helicity values very high especially as you go up toward Huntsville, more than 400 m2/s2. 

This would support a tornado threat similar to what we had last week. Except the focus would already be on North Alabama, where we thought we'd only get grazed by that one, then sort of got a surprise where we were in the hot zone for several hours. 

While this is definitely something to watch, we also need to remember that the NAM sometimes gets carried way painting really scary scenarios. And it was showing almost no CAPE to work with on an earlier run just today. Now it's showing crazy-high numbers. Which makes me think the truth is likely to be between those two extremes. 


If the NAM does verify, it would be an odd setup. Because it is showing more of a squall line/storm cluster radar look with this, instead of the isolated supercells like we had last week. Still, you can get a lot of damage from squall lines, including tornado damage, if the unstable air and wind shear are as strong as what the NAM is forecasting here. 





The SREF shows enough unstable air to work with and also enough wind shear/helicity to work with. But the values are not extra-alarming like they were with the NAM. 


The Significant Tornado Parameter is only about 1-2 via the SREF. The NAM was showing values more like 3-5. What the SREF is showing is more typical for this sort of setup this time of year. So I think it's closer to being right. 

We also have to consider that if we do have a secondary Low close to the coast, that may limit or completely cut off our chances for severe thunderstorms up this way. And that is probably a reason the models are struggling with it. The track of the Low is not clear yet. And there may be more than one Low. 



The Storm Prediction Center has gone ahead and outlooked us for a Marginal 5% risk for severe thunderstorms Friday through Friday night, technically goes until 7 AM Saturday morning. They'll refine this at 1 AM tonight/tomorrow morning and then as needed when they do updates. As of when this was issued (early this morning), they expected the best chance of really organized and significant severe weather to stay focused down by the Gulf Coast, in Southern Mississippi and parts of Louisiana.


We'll also have to keep an eye out for heavy rainfall with this event, could lead to localized flooding issues, though that is looking likely in Central and South Alabama than in North Alabama. Again it depends on the track of the Low and whether we do end up with two centers of that low pressure. 


Overall our rainfall in the TN Valley for the next seven days should come out to about two inches. And almost all of that will be from the Friday/Friday night/maybe Saturday event, if not all of it. 

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