Friday, August 22, 2014

Hot Weekend/Rain Chances To Start New Week


Well, it's been a sunny day in Cullman with west-northwesterly winds. It didn't get as hot as expected, kind of like yesterday, hmmmmmm. We made it up to 93 for our High today, and our Low this morning was 69. So yeah, we've had a hot snap, but it hasn't been as bad as expected. Tomorrow is the last day it should be "really" hot and humid. They did make it up to 95 today in Huntsville, but they were expecting upper-90's. All of the Tennessee Valley remains under a heat advisory through tomorrow, as seen above.

Our heat index did make it up to 100 degrees today in Cullman, but that is below what was expected as well. Don't get me wrong: It's hot enough. Just taking it into account for the forecast for tomorrow.

Saturday: Sunny. Hot and humid. High 95, Low 70

Sunday: Mostly sunny. Slight chance of a thunderstorm in the evening/overnight. High 93, Low 71

Monday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Not quite as hot. High 92, Low 72

Reasoning:

The ridge stays firmly in place tomorrow. A few spots could see upper-90's, but I think we'll stay in mid-90's in and around Cullman. Temperatures have been trending cooler than what we've been forecasting. So I'm going with mid-90's. Factor in the humidity, though, and the "heat index" could get over 100, easily. And the whole point of having a heat index is to let people know when the heat is getting to the point it'll be hard on the body. So just fair warning there.



As our back-door "cold front" wedges in here Sunday and Monday, we'll see some thunderstorms, scattered, which will cool things down to temperatures more like we have been used to this summer, lower 90's. As is common in summer, some thunderstorms could pulse up and become strong due to the heat/humidity . . . but they tend to pulse back down/rain out quickly. The timing of this is looking like the main moisture will advect in here from the northeast on Sunday evening, though. So we might get more just beneficial rain showers overnight into Monday morning. Of course, still a chance for scattered showers/thunderstorms later in the day Monday. I think the overnight moisture will keep temperatures down a little bit.

All right, a quick note on the extended. I'm actually going to take any significant rain chances out for Tuesday and Wednesday. Technically you can have a thunderstorm any day in summer, somewhere on the map, but I'd say chances are 20% for any one spot, at most. Might bring them back a little Thursday as a cold front approaches.

Then on Friday, although that's at the end of the forecast period (and thus, dubious), looks like that front may actually make it in here and bring a risk for more organized thunderstorms. We're getting close to September . . . won't be long before the typical summer patterns start to shift slowly to fall patterns.

Temperatures in the extended period, thinking generally Highs in the lower-90's and Lows around 70.

Our tropical disturbance is developing nicely, with some tropical-storm force winds in spots, but there is no well-defined center as of yet. People in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Hispaniola, and especially the Bahamas will want to monitor this, because it could easily pulse up to tropical storm status with little advance notice. Hispaniola is probably going to deter its development for now, but over the weekend as it moves into the Bahamas, some further development is very likely. Once we actually have a tropical cyclone with a defined center, then I'll start paying attention to what the computer models say about the track and possible intensity. At the moment, it mainly looks like a threat to the Bahamas.

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Thank you for reading. Stay cool.

Heat Advisory

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
1242 PM CDT FRI AUG 22 2014

...VERY HOT CONDITIONS EXPECTED THROUGH SATURDAY...

.AFTERNOON HIGHS IN THE MID AND UPPER 90S THROUGH SATURDAY WILL
COMBINE WITH HIGH HUMIDITY TO PRODUCE HEAT INDEX VALUES AROUND 105
DEGREES ACROSS THE TENNESSEE VALLEY. THE HIGHER HEAT INDICES WILL
OCCUR WEST OF INTERSTATE 65.

ALZ001>010-016-TNZ076-096-097-231030-
/O.CON.KHUN.HT.Y.0001.000000T0000Z-140824T0200Z/
LAUDERDALE-COLBERT-FRANKLIN AL-LAWRENCE-LIMESTONE-MADISON-MORGAN-
MARSHALL-JACKSON-DEKALB-CULLMAN-MOORE-LINCOLN-FRANKLIN TN-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FLORENCE...MUSCLE SHOALS...
RUSSELLVILLE...MOULTON...ATHENS...HUNTSVILLE...DECATUR...
GUNTERSVILLE...SCOTTSBORO...FORT PAYNE...CULLMAN...LYNCHBURG...
FAYETTEVILLE...WINCHESTER
1242 PM CDT FRI AUG 22 2014

...HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CDT SATURDAY...

* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...ALL OF NORTH ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN
  MIDDLE TENNESSEE.

* TEMPERATURE...WILL RANGE BETWEEN 95 TO 98 DEGREES. HIGH HUMIDITY
  WILL PRODUCE HEAT INDEX VALUES AROUND 105 DEGREES...ESPECIALLY
  BETWEEN 1 PM CDT AND 7 PM CDT.

* IMPACTS...VERY HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS WILL RAISE THE RISK OF HEAT
  RELATED ILLNESSES SUCH AS HEAT EXHAUSTION OR HEAT STROKE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF VERY HOT TEMPERATURES IS
EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY
WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE
POSSIBLE.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND
NEIGHBORS. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS UNATTENDED IN
VEHICLES!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Heat Advisory





Yeah, we better take this somewhat seriously tomorrow and Saturday. We've had an easy summer, and our bodies will not be used to this combo of heat and humidity. It'll feel well over 100 degrees in spots, as the NWS notes below, taking the humidity into account.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
856 PM CDT THU AUG 21 2014

...VERY HOT CONDITIONS EXPECTED FRIDAY...

.TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE UPPER 90S FRIDAY AFTERNOON...WHICH
COMBINED WITH HIGH HUMIDITY...WILL TRANSLATE TO HEAT INDEX VALUES
RISING TO BETWEEN 104 TO 107 DEGREES ACROSS NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND THE
INTERSTATES 65 AND 565 CORRIDORS.

ALZ001>007-016-221100-
/O.NEW.KHUN.HT.Y.0001.140822T1600Z-140823T0000Z/
LAUDERDALE-COLBERT-FRANKLIN AL-LAWRENCE-LIMESTONE-MADISON-MORGAN-
CULLMAN-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FLORENCE...MUSCLE SHOALS...
RUSSELLVILLE...MOULTON...ATHENS...HUNTSVILLE...DECATUR...CULLMAN
856 PM CDT THU AUG 21 2014

...HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TO 7 PM CDT FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A HEAT
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM TO 7 PM CDT FRIDAY.

* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND THE INTERSTATES 65
  AND 565 CORRIDORS BETWEEN 11 AM TO 7 PM CDT FRIDAY.

* TEMPERATURE...WILL RANGE BETWEEN 96 TO 98 DEGREES. HIGH HUMIDITY
  WILL ALLOW HEAT INDEX VALUES TO RISE FROM 104 TO 107 DEGREES.

* IMPACTS...VERY HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS WILL RAISE THE RISK OF HEAT
  STRESS AND HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES SUCH AS HEAT EXHAUSTION OR HEAT
  STROKE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF VERY HOT TEMPERATURES IS
EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY
WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE
POSSIBLE.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND
NEIGHBORS. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS UNATTENDED IN
VEHICLES!

&&

$$

SL.77

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
615 PM CDT THU AUG 21 2014

...VERY HOT TEMPERATURES EXPECTED ACROSS ALL OF CENTRAL ALABAMA
FRIDAY THROUGH SATURDAY...

ALZ011>015-017>050-221200-
/O.CON.KBMX.HT.Y.0002.140822T1600Z-140824T0200Z/
MARION-LAMAR-FAYETTE-WINSTON-WALKER-BLOUNT-ETOWAH-CALHOUN-
CHEROKEE-CLEBURNE-PICKENS-TUSCALOOSA-JEFFERSON-SHELBY-ST. CLAIR-
TALLADEGA-CLAY-RANDOLPH-SUMTER-GREENE-HALE-PERRY-BIBB-CHILTON-
COOSA-TALLAPOOSA-CHAMBERS-MARENGO-DALLAS-AUTAUGA-LOWNDES-ELMORE-
MONTGOMERY-MACON-BULLOCK-LEE-RUSSELL-PIKE-BARBOUR-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HAMILTON...SULLIGENT...VERNON...
FAYETTE...DOUBLE SPRINGS...JASPER...ONEONTA...GADSDEN...
ANNISTON...CENTRE...HEFLIN...CARROLLTON...TUSCALOOSA...
BIRMINGHAM...HOOVER...COLUMBIANA...PELHAM...ALABASTER...
PELL CITY...MOODY...TALLADEGA...SYLACAUGA...ASHLAND...ROANOKE...
LIVINGSTON...EUTAW...GREENSBORO...MOUNDVILLE...MARION...
CENTREVILLE...CLANTON...ROCKFORD...ALEXANDER CITY...DADEVILLE...
VALLEY...LANETT...LAFAYETTE...DEMOPOLIS...LINDEN...SELMA...
PRATTVILLE...FORT DEPOSIT...HAYNEVILLE...WETUMPKA...TALLASSEE...
MONTGOMERY...TUSKEGEE...UNION SPRINGS...AUBURN...OPELIKA...
PHENIX CITY...TROY...EUFAULA
615 PM CDT THU AUG 21 2014

...HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM FRIDAY TO 9 PM CDT
SATURDAY...

* TEMPERATURES...WILL RANGE FROM THE MID 90S TO NEAR 100
  DEGREES. HIGHER HUMIDITY WILL ALLOW HEAT INDICES TO RANGE FROM
  102 TO 108 DEGREES.

* IMPACTS...HOT AND HUMID CONDITIONS WILL ELEVATE THE RISK OF
  HEAT STRESS AND HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES SUCH AS HEAT EXHAUSTION
  OR HEAT STROKE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS
EXPECTED. TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME
OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY
MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT
EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING
CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND
HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS
IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY
HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE
IS AN EMERGENCY...CALL 9 1 1.

And the Heat Goes On . . .

FORECAST:

Friday: Sunny. Hot and humid. High 95, Low 71

Saturday: Sunny. Quite hot and humid. High 96, Low 72

Sunday: Mostly sunny, and still hot/humid. Slight chance of a stray shower or thunderstorm in the evening/night hours, mainly over Northeast Alabama/adjacent Tennessee counties. High 95, Low 73

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Highs edging back down into the lower-90's. Lows in the lower-70's.

Thursday: Partly to mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 89, Low 70

BEACH FORECAST:

Fri: Mostly sunny. High 94, Low 78

Sat: Mostly sunny. High 91, Low 80

Sun: Partly cloudy. High 92, Low 80

(Local forecasts are mine, beach forecasts are paraphrased directly from the National Weather Service just to save time . . . and that will probably always be the case, just making a note since I haven't done this in a while, and some of you may be new readers. Ho hum.)

NOTES:

Just a few common-sense tips on "beating the heat".

And if you'd like to keep up with the tropics on your own, your best source is the National Hurricane Center. Check 'em out.

DISCUSSION:






So this evening we are at 89 degrees in Cullman. They're at 93 in Huntsville, still. They got up to 95 today. It actually wasn't as hot as expected. We had a mostly sunny day in Cullman with light westerly winds. Our High was 93, and our Low this morning was 68. Our dewpoints have been in the lower 70's today, and so our heat index topped out at 100 degrees. That's below advisory criteria, but some of our neighboring counties - Walker, Winston, Blount - have met their criteria and are under a heat advisory lasting through Saturday night.

We've seen a few clouds around today, and you can technically have a thunderstorm any summer day, but with this kind of pattern, the chances are so tiny you'd just about have to be one of those rain-dancers for it to even be worth taking into account.

The upper-level ridge is building firmly into the area and will lift even further north tomorrow and Saturday. We're not the only ones experiencing some heat; pretty toasty out in the Great Plains and Texas as well. The storms are staying well to our north, mainly in the Midwest and Ohio Valley, where they have actually had to look out for some severe thunderstorms today.


Tomorrow, just a sunny day, almost no chance of rain, hot and humid. Now, today wasn't as hot as expected, but check out that heat bubble . . . I think I'll go back to a High around 95 or 96 for tomorrow.


That ridge is looking even stronger on Saturday, and the least moisture around for even any mild cloud cover, so this may well be our hottest day out of this little hot snap. I might go 97 or 98 here. Lows should be in the lower 70's.


By Sunday, the eastern periphery of the ridge is starting to relax ever so slightly. And some moisture comes in here in the form of a back-door cold front. I don't think rain chances will be too high, but they'll probably max out over northeast portions of the Tennessee Valley. Maybe more of a chance of a shower or two going into the evening/night hours.


By Monday it looks like definitely chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms from this back-door front bringing a decent amount of moisture across the area. However, I don't know that our heat-ridge will give up without a fight. So probably going with 30% probabilities at most.


I think we'll get enough moisture/few thunderstorms to knock temperatures back down to more normal levels, though - or more normal for what we've had this summer. Here on Tuesday probably still a chance at isolated thunderstorms, maybe some leftover boundaries from Monday, as well as an actual cold front getting close to us as the ridge moves far north of here.


Basically the same deal on Wednesday. I think I'll keep pretty persistent chances of isolated-to-scattered showers and thunderstorms, because boundaries will be left over from the previous days . . . and we're not under a strong ridge that's blocking convection from developing anymore.


And by Thursday, end of this forecast period, we might finally start to feel the effects of that cold front. It's too soon to tell, but we might actually get a cold front passing through the area. It's hard to believe, but we're almost into September, when you have to start watching for that more and discard the trite old "summer pattern" mentality.

That tropical disturbance has been investigated this afternoon by Air Force Reserve aircraft, and it was found to be disorganized. There was a small portion on the northeast side that did have tropical-storm force winds. So the National Hurricane Center has upgraded the risk of this becoming a tropical cyclone into the "likely" category. Conditions will be favorable for development as it continues west-northwest at about 20 mph. It has some rough terrain to survive, including Hispaniola, but we'll probably have a decent idea about what it will do by Sunday evening. It's forecast to be over the Bahamas in some form by then.

Model guidance has been so inconsistent with the track/strength of this that I'm personally just disregarding it for now. I'll be watching this weekend and especially on Sunday. I think by then, the models will have a decent amount of data to even initialize with. For what it's worth, they are tending to just curve it back into the Atlantic and away from land. But just like I said in earlier posts not to jump the gun and declare this a "Gulf storm", I'm also going to say, don't bank on this thing moving away from land, or the Gulf, if it does survive well and strengthen. It's best to just admit that nobody has much idea what this is going to do, long-term, right now. By Sunday or Monday, those types of forecasts will start to be appropriate.

Somehow the thought of tropical rain is vaguely comforting during a hot snap.

On that note, as long as you follow a few common-sense ideas, I think everyone will be all right through this heat. This is nothing compared to what we had in the summer of 2012, for example. Yes, it can be dangerous, but only if you don't pay attention and overexpose to it, don't stay hydrated, et cetera. The main things I'd worry about are kids being left in cars (which doesn't need to happen at all), pets, and elderly/infirm people who are more susceptible, or people who can't afford decent air conditioning. Might check up on some of those people. This really isn't what I'd personally call a "heat wave", though. Just use good sense, and all will be well. I trust that my readers know how to do that.

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Well, thanks for reading, and wishing you a good weekend, even if it's staying cool inside and playing video games. See you in the funny papers.

Summertime Blues

FORECAST:

Today: Mostly sunny. Hot. High 95

Friday: Sunny. Hot. High 96, Low 73

Saturday: Sunny. Hot. High 97, Low 72

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High 96, Low 73

Monday: Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High 95, Low 74

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 93, Low 73

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High 94, Low 72

BEACH FORECAST:

Today: Mostly sunny. High 90

Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High 91, Low 80

Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 89, Low 81

NOTES:

As John Gordon coined the phrase, "Beat the heat - check the backseat!"

And here are some speculations as to whether we'll get a Gulf tropical cyclone at some point this season, largely related to statistics.

DISCUSSION:


So here at the midnight hour, we have dropped to 75 degrees in Cullman with mostly clear skies and calm winds. If you're still up, good sitting-out-on-the-porch weather. Or walking the dog. Or maybe walking the porch and sitting on the dog, if you're a bit eccentric, or just very sleepy.


We did have some more showers and thunderstorms in Northeast Alabama, and a few trying to form just east of I-65 earlier tonight . . . just an outflow boundary left over from the earlier convection that slowly moved to the southwest. That activity has fizzled now, but some clouds remain. Patchy fog is definitely possible tonight and into the morning hours - of course more likely near bodies of water.

That ridge of high pressure is already building in over the region though, and that's going to dominate our weather all the way through the weekend.


Today looks hot and humid . . . but dry. Thursday. Technically it's already Thursday. High will probably get up to 95 or 96. I don't know that we'll see enough cloud cover to keep the temperatures down at all. And with the humidity, it'll probably feel like about a hundred degrees in the afternoon hours.


Ridge firmly in place on Friday, of course. Parked well to our north, and a good portion of the country may be feeling "summer" fairly strongly. We've had a mild one so far, and it looks like our luck finally ran out. Going with sunny skies and similar temperatures, probably mid-90's. Some spots might be upper 90's, the bigger cities, forget what the technical term was, but the asphalt heats up, and that heat rises to warm the air as well. So the more out in the country you are, the less heat you'll probably get.


I'd had a hunch that Saturday might be our hottest day, and I may end up forecasting a High in the upper-90's then. Staying sunny, just hot and humid.

It's subtle on the images above, but going into Saturday and Sunday the ridge will probably start to weaken over our region as a "back-door" cold front tries to push in here. Those can't do a whole lot in a summer pattern like this, but they should bring some relief by Monday and through the rest of the forecast period in the form of isolated showers and thunderstorms.

This heat really isn't anything unusual, but our bodies aren't used to it this year, since summer has gone so easy on us thus far. For that reason I'd say, just keep it in mind, pace yourself when you're out in the heat, check on kids/old folks/pets, common-sense stuff. Stay hydrated, et cetera.

Our tropical disturbance east of the Windward Islands has begun to gradually look more organized, and within the next couple days it could develop into a tropical depression as it tracks west-northwest into the Caribbean. It's really the weekend we need to watch for any further development, see how it does when it interacts with land. We'll also know more after they've sent a Hurricane Hunter aircraft into it, probably tomorrow afternoon. That's if it stays organized or develops further. There is a decent chance of it hanging together. As far as people wondering if it will make it into the Gulf of Mexico eventually, simple answer: Too soon to tell. We need to see how it interacts with land over the weekend, and then, if it's still hanging together, we can look at modeling and such and try to figure out its track and strength. At this point, I've looked at model predictions and consider them to be useless. The models don't even have enough data to work with yet, to see if it will end up impacting the Gulf. So if you hear "hype" about this thing . . . my advice is to snicker and go about your business. Leave it to weather freaks to closely monitor it, as they do every tropical disturbance. If anything starts to look concerning, you'll hear about it. But nobody really can predict that until we see what it does this weekend, if it even hangs together.

And I'm writing more about it than the other weather simply because even the remote possibility of a tropical cyclone somewhere is a bit more exciting than just heat and humidity.

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Ah well, thanks for reading my weather ramblings. Stay cool; see you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Heat Arrives

FORECAST:

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Hot and humid. High 95, Low 73

Friday: Sunny. Hot and humid. High 96, Low 73

Saturday: Sunny. Hot and humid. High 97, Low 72

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High 96, Low 73

Monday: Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High 95, Low 74

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 93, Low 73

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High 92, Low 71

NOTES:

Here are a few very detailed, and very helpful notes about "beating the heat" from UAH's Dr. Tim Coleman.

And here is a nice write-up by the National Weather Service in Birmingham about statistical probabilities of a Gulf hurricane this season.

DISCUSSION:

So we are at 89 degrees this evening in Cullman. Most the surrounding area has similar temperatures. Huntsville is a bit warmer at 92, and it's downright cool as you head into Southern Middle Tennessee, even dipping into 70's in spots where they've had some severe thunderstorms earlier today, associated with that shortwave moving out of the Ohio Valley. Anyway, our High today in Cullman was 91, under mostly sunny skies, and our Low this morning was 71.


Here is a plot of the wind damage reports, mainly trees and power lines down like you'd expect from summer microburst activity. However, some was on the more significant side, saw a few reports in Central Tennessee of some minor structural damage (to porches, roofing) as well. Some of that activity just clipped the northeast corner of the Tennessee Valley today, mainly in our Tennessee counties.


The big story in this post is the heat, though. We've had a pretty mild summer this year, and we're finally going to be reminded what "summer" means around here. It's not a "heat wave", per se. Think back just two years ago: The summer of 2012 truly felt, at times, "hotter than forty hells", as one dear old man of my acquaintance is fond of phrasing it. This isn't looking nearly that bad, but that ridge of high pressure is already building over the area, and it looks plenty hot and humid through this weekend. Heat indices could easily get over 100 degrees, thanks to the humidity, but it probably won't be enough for even a "heat advisory" to be issued. Nothing to freak out over, but something to be mindful of, of course. And the main thing I want to emphasize is for nobody to leave their kids or pets in any cars, even for short periods, during this heat. It is a rather saddening statistics how many deaths result from this each year, and needlessly. In the words of meteorologist John Gordon, "Beat the heat . . . check the back seat!"

And quite frankly, I was going to post some model graphics, but I don't see much point in it. Yes, there might be tiny rain chances some of these days, but they probably aren't worth going into. Unless you know an effective rain dance, you probably aren't going to get any until Monday or later, and even that is dicey. And it's just going to be hot.

Will reintroduce just scattered rain chances for the extended, Monday through Wednesday, but it's hit or miss, low-end chances like you typically have in summer.


All right, we do have a disorganized tropical disturbance we're watching, several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands. It has become a little more organized, enough that the NHC is giving it a 50% shot at becoming a tropical depression within the next couple days. Development is expected to be slow. After it crosses the Caribbean and passes over some land, it may weaken or even fall apart. Or it may hang together and try to develop further. It's too soon to make that call, or really get into heavy speculation.

There has been some "buzz" on the interwebs about this possibly becoming a Gulf hurricane eventually, a week or so from now - but my advice would be to disregard that and to seriously question the credibility of any sources forecasting that. That idea has been on the board with some computer models, including the GFS and ECMWF at times, but truthfully, model guidance overall has been spread out pretty thin. And even those global models have not been consistently aiming the tropical cyclone in any one direction, if it does form. And that in itself, whether this disturbance can even hang together, is a big "if". Forecasting a hurricane in the Gulf, based on the information we have right now, would be like waking up with the symptoms of a minor head-cold and immediately diagnosing oneself with pneumonia. Any of those "forecasts" you may have seen are not only absurd, but they are also irresponsible.

What is responsible and sensible is to monitor the progress of this disturbance and see if it hangs together. If it does and gets into the Gulf, you better believe everybody will be doing their best to figure out where it'll go and how strong it will be. But we are just not there yet. Model guidance has been all over the place, in my opinion, and well it should be . . . this thing isn't organized enough. They're sending aircraft in to get a better look at this disturbance. So right now, don't worry about anything. Even if it does survive and become a tropical storm or hurricane, there is absolutely no way to know how strong it will be or where it will go. The Gulf waters are pretty warm right now, but this disturbance is a long way from being a Gulf storm.

And I'm not saying it's not going to happen . . . I'm just saying that I don't know, and neither does anyone else. Anybody who is forecasting a Gulf tropical storm or hurricane at this point is pulling your leg just to get more of your attention, and should be ashamed.

End of rant.

However, I'll just joke that some people may be praying for a hurricane after this period of heat and humidity. Eh, but variety is the spice of life. And summer heat is just part of it, I reckon.

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Everybody try to stay cool the next few days, might check up on any elderly relatives or people sensitive to the heat. Remember your kids and/or pets. It's not unusual to have this kind of heat in summer, but we've been spoiled so far this summer by it being unusually mild. So just use good common sense, maybe check out some of Dr. Coleman's suggestions I linked to in the "notes" section, and you should be just fine. See you in the funny papers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hot Days Ahead

FORECAST:

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Quite warm and humid . High 92, Low 72

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Somewhat hot and humid. High 93, Low 72

Friday: Sunny. Hot and humid. High 95, Low 73

EXTENDED OUTLOOK:

Saturday: Sunny. High 96, Low 72

Sunday: Mostly sunny. High 95, Low 73

Monday: Mostly sunny. High 95, Low 73

Tuesday: Partly cloudy - slight hope of an isolated thunderstorm. High 94, Low 74

* Please note that with the humidity, some of these days, especially over the weekend, are going to feel more like a hundred degrees or so. Just fair warning, for anyone not used to our muggy summers. *

NOTES:

Few people seem aware that the #1 weather killer is actually not tornadoes or lightning; it's heat. Since heat-related illness is easily preventable, here are a few common-sense reminders.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer weather observer, you might consider the CoCoRaHS program.

DISCUSSION:

So as of 9 p.m. we have temperatures in the lower 70's in Cullman, Albertville, and Fort Payne. From Huntsville back to Haleyville, still upper 70's. Some of those other places got a pretty good soaking today, especially Cullman, a few flash flooding issues earlier. Up in the Shoals, in between, at 76 degrees.

For the moment, just dragging this blog out of the muck and mire, I'm going to center it on Cullman (see Sara Evans's rationale for hosting Rock the South there every year, because she explains it better and is easier on the eyes than I am, to boot). But in time it will cover the entire Tennessee Valley, when we get into severe weather season and such, in November. Including the bordering counties of Tennessee. Might park the headquarters back in Huntsville eventually, but for now, going with Cullman. I've lived in or around those two places more than anywhere else, over the years, anyway. And I was born in Cullman, so hey . . .

So . . .

Skies ranged from partly to mostly cloudy in Cullman today, with variable winds. We had some early-morning rumbles of thunder, but the main event was this afternoon, when we had thunderstorms forming and training over the same spot, resulting in some flash flooding problems this evening.

By the way, for right now, I'm not going to do severe weather coverage on here . . . just not yet. Easing back into this. But warnings will show up on the iMap, of course. I sure appreciate those fine folks for partnering with me over the years.

So our High today was 87, and our Low this morning was 69.

We may still get some activity downstream from the storm system in the Ohio Valley. A shortwave trough may make its way into eastern Tennessee/Northeast Alabama overnight and into tomorrow morning. And that could kick off a few showers and thunderstorms across the TN Valley. I'd like to say the chances are greatest in northeast Alabama, but in summertime, it's usually more hit-and-miss. Very small details determine who gets wet and who doesn't, details that the science generally does not have a good handle on yet.

So yeah, tomorrow, we have a risk of scattered thunderstorms or maybe just showers for the first half of the day, mainly morning. And still some chance throughout the day, but barely enough to mention. We will still probably break 90 degrees, at least.

And after that . . . all through this coming weekend, it is pretty much just going to be hot and dry as an upper-level ridge parks firmly in place over our area.

There is some suggestion that we might get a shot at some rain by next Tuesday, but even those chances look low at the moment.


Just a "wild" card, for crazy speculation . . . the GFS model has a tropical cyclone, probably a hurricane, in the Gulf by next Wednesday. Even just getting back in the loop, I have caught wind that this has generated a "buzz" among people with more than the average interest in weather.

As you can see, though, both tropical disturbances have a long way to go before we need to start taking that idea too seriously. Both of these things may just plain peter out.

Having said that, this is the time of year for the tropics to become more active, and if a disturbance were to actually survive long enough to get into the Gulf of Mexico, the waters there are favorable for rapid development, i.e. "warm". Warm waters. For the moment, don't worry about it. And also remember that the GFS is only one of many forecast models. And it has not even been consistent with the track of this tropical cyclone, where it will end up if it does enter the Gulf and develop. We always have to watch tropical disturbances this time of year, but for the moment, I don't think there are any red flags indicating anything to worry about. Even on the chance it did make it into the Gulf and do something, that would be over a week away. Sometimes I just want people to get an antidote to the modern trend of "hype" when they read my posts.

So yeah, we'll watch it . . . and if things start to look worrisome in the next few days, you'll hear about it. But right now, nah . . . don't lose any sleep over it.

Actually, by the end of this forecast period, some people might (jokingly) be wishing for a hurricane to take aim at our area, because it sure is looking hot and dry. Should see an average of a quarter-inch of rainfall across the area at most. And we all know that's variable in the summer, hard to really pinpoint amounts due to the scattered nature of the rain. But just letting you know, we're staying pretty darn dry. And any rain we get will probably be either tonight into tomorrow, or at the end of the period along about say, Tuesday.

Thank you for reading. Please be patient with me while I try to restore this site to good working order. Giving it one more shot, why? Because I'm crazy, and I love meteorology. Two very good reasons. See you in the funny papers. Stay cool . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Very Sorry, But This Blog Has Kicked The Bucket . . .

Hey. I decided to leave his blog up on the interwebs, just so I have proof somewhere that I did sort of accomplish something in the field of meteorology, at one time . . . it's a vague sort of comforting feeling.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Somewhat Rainy Again Tomorrow and Saturday

FORECAST:

Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. High 85, Low 68

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of showers/thunderstorms. High 85, Low 69

Sunday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Hot and humid. High 89, Low 69

(Monday through Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of a passing thunderstorm. Highs in low-to-mid-90's and Lows around 70. 

Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High in the lower 90's and Low around 70.)

BEACH FORECAST:

Friday: Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms. High 85, Low 77

Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High 85, Low 79

Sunday: Partly cloudy. High 88, Low 79

NOTES:

This week is lightning awareness week. You'd be surprised how many people get zapped every year, or at least I am.

And if you're down at the beach, you might want to check out the information about rip currents. I don't think this covers the ones from those in the old Super Mario games, but since only the real-life ones can actually be fatal . . . and the video-games ones just result in screaming gamers and at worst, smashed controllers, slung against walls . . . I suppose this is the way it should be.

DISCUSSION:

So it was partly to mostly cloudy in Cullman today, with periods of rain and thunderstorms. Sometimes the rain got heavy; I recall us being under a flash flood warning at some point during the day. Some clouds lingering tonight, but it looks like the rain is gone. That's not to say we couldn't see a shower somewhere overnight. Temperatures have fallen to the mid-70's as I write this close to 10 p.m. We're at 71 degrees in Cullman. Skies are actually pretty clear at the moment. Our High today only got up to 77, thanks to the rain. Hey, that cooler air saves on the ole' power bill, eh? And our Low was 68 this morning.

Tentatively reviving this blog . . . although I'll probably have to wait just a bit to overcome some technical and other limitations to really have it going on again. Knock on wood, maybe it'll look all right by this fall, when we often have severe weather problems again. I mean yeah, we get thunderstorms around here in summer, and some can produce strong winds and hail . . . or like today, a few flooded areas. Just the luck of the draw there, and the problems are short-term. Usually we don't have organized severe weather over the summer unless we get a landfalling hurricane that hangs together really well.

So before even looking at any of our weather, quick check on the tropics . . .

Ah, nothing. How nice.

Moving right along . . .

Looks like more rain chances tomorrow, but I doubt it will match up to today, might mention a 40% shot at a shower or thunderstorm. Temperatures probably into the mid-80's due to some off-and-on shots at clouds/rain.

Saturday, probably crank up the thunderstorm chances a bit more. Should get more moisture from the trough that is affecting the Plains. Similar temperatures. There is variability in our summer weather, but it just ain't all that much . . . I guess would be a good way to say it.

And you know what? I just made a glaring error. I got my days confused. I was looking at Friday and calling it Saturday . . .

Okay, so yes, at least a 50% shot at thunderstorms tomorrow. Temperatures in mid-80's. Debating on whether to push rain chances into the "likely category". That same storm system that we'll get a little rain and thunderstorms from may cause some severe thunderstorms out in the Plains.

Saturday I think our rain chances actually go up slightly. So the good news is it won't be as hot this weekend, but of course the tradeoff is a few thunderstorms, maybe heavy rain at times. Typical summer. Looks like the best chance for severe thunderstorms for places like Wichita, Kansas stretching up through Nebraska, Iowa, the Midwest. Doesn't look like a storm chaser's dream or anything; I think even their season is winding down gradually now. But things might get interesting out there with this storm system, which won't affect us in any serious way.

By Sunday I think the upper-level pattern changes enough (via GFS guidance) that we can go back to climatology. I think I'll keep a 30% chance of showers/thunderstorms in there. Highs roughly around 90. Might not make it up to 90 in spots, depends on how slow the extra moisture is to clear the area, I guess. But that's a good ballpark estimate.

And really I don't see any reason to depart from climatology for the rest of the forecast period. Just the perfect balance of high pressure and moisture to keep us partly cloudy, seasonably hot/humid, with scattered hit-or-miss thunderstorms across the region . .  .about a 20-30% chance of any one spot getting wet.

Oddly enough, the GFS is showing our next chance of more-than-average rain to be on the 4th of July. but that's eight days out, so I don't put much stock in it yet.

Basically right now I'm reviving this blog in "training wheels" mode, to get a feel for it again. Hopefully as the summer goes along this will start to resemble a decent weather resource again.