“Once In A Blue Moon”

I guess you all have heard the saying “once in a blue moon.” Well tonight you have your chance to witness a blue moon! A blue moon occurs anytime you have two full moons in one calendar month. Most blue moons occur in the months where there are 31 days in the month. May has 31 days so May is a favorable month to see a blue moon. The moon is not really blue, but if there are ice crystals or smoke particles in the air, those particulates might give the moon a bluish tint. The next blue moon is predicted to occur in May 2008.

For More On The Blue Moon Click Here To See A Detailed Report By NASA

(Image Source: NASA) 

Michael Hill

Thursday Afternoon Update-“Watching The Tropics”

According to the latest radar trends I believe its safe to say at this point that May 2007 will go down as the driest Tuscaloosa May on record. It will be known as the month where smoky air plagued the state and thankfully, at-least in the immediate WVUA coverage area, today we’ve experienced the best air quality we’ve had in quite a while.

All eyes are to the south and with hurricane season arriving tomorrow, things are right on track. During the early hurricane season months, such as June, the Caribbean and southern Gulf of Mexico are common breeding grounds for tropical systems. As we first mentioned Monday, the models have been hinting at a tropical disturbance developing in the southern Gulf. Today that scenario is starting to play out as low pressure has developed near Cozumel, Mexico. Today it is easy to see better organization with the system, but the question is the upper air trough northwest of the system. Even though the low-pressure system may show tropical characteristics, it may have a tough time developing into a classic tropical system. That is good however, because it would keep the system from rapidly strengthening. This is exactly what the Deep South has been looking for because the feature will still spread some good tropical moisture into parts of the region.

Where the low moves on shore is the big question because the models are all over the place. The most consistent scenario as painted by the Global Forecast Model still takes the system across Florida and today we’re going to lean in that direction. With that said, even if the disturbance passes to our east we will still have a cold front drop in late Sunday and that will increase our chance for a passing shower or thunderstorm. Temperatures over the next few days will be ranging between 84-88 degrees, with lows in the mild 60s.

Be sure to join us tonight for more details on our local forecast!

Hurricane Season Arrives Tomorrow: Click Here For A Printable-Blank Hurricane Tracking Chart Provided By NHC(.PDF)

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

Wednesday Afternoon Forecast Discussion Update

There is finally going to be some interesting weather features to talk about over the coming days. First, we finally have showers scattered about much of West Alabama this afternoon. A quick check of the radar, at the time of this posting, shows widely scattered showers drifting northwest across parts of Tuscaloosa, Hale, and Marengo Counties. Even our very own Robert Stevenson reported a few raindrops…and yes we are that desperate for rain. The weather won’t change much through tomorrow as a trough digging into the northern Gulf of Mexico helps throw clouds and moisture in our direction. Look for cloudy skies through tonight and tomorrow, with spotty showers possible. Tonight’s low will be near 63-degrees and with the clouds in place, it won’t be too warm tomorrow. Today the clouds have kept us near 80-degrees, much lower than yesterdays high. Tomorrow as temperatures warm there may be a couple of stray thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon and early evening hours.

Friday I do believe we will have some sunshine breaking through the clouds, at times. Therefore, the chance will be greater for scattered showers and the development of thunderstorms. At this time low pressure will be deepening near the central Gulf of Mexico and this feature won’t have the favorable upper air influences to promote rapid development into a tropical system. However, this system may resemble the hybrid type low such as what we witnessed with the first named subtropical storm of the year. The trough will guide this system towards the bend of Florida and the good news is that this could bring much needed rain to our friends dealing with the wildfires over South Georgia and North Florida. That would help us out by dampening the smoke potential. Also, the overall flow over Alabama will help improve our air quality.

As the low pressure passes to our northeast, the flow on the backside of the system will help pull a cold front into our state. This means by Sunday and Monday the opportunity for a passing shower or thunderstorm will increase. The details are a little sketchy beyond that point, but there will be a massive high-pressure ridge to our southwest. That means we will be under a northwest flow aloft. During this time of the year it’s not uncommon to have thunderstorm complexes develop in this type of setup and journey towards Alabama. We’ll keep you posted!

Hurricane Season Arrives On Friday: Click Here For A Printable-Blank Hurricane Tracking Chart Provided By NHC(.PDF)

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

Tuesday Afternoon Discussion Update

I want to thank all of the fine folks at Prebyterian Apartments in Northport for their hospitality today. We visited this afternoon and spoke about our weather department at WVUA-TV. They sent me some wonderful-homemade peanut brittle and a cookbook. This cookbook is full of recipes and it’s been put together by their residents. If you would like to order a copy you can email manager Sue Powell at: presbynp@bellsouth.net

A report was issued by The National Weather Service Today and it highlighted this year, so far, as being the driest on record. We’ve measured 8.42” of rain since January 1st and the runner-up dry years, with totals from January through May, are 9.35” in 1986, and 13.57” in 1967. Many folks have been talking about the dry summer of the year 2000, but that year we went into the month of June with a total of 22.87.” Basically if we were to compare the year 2000 with this year, by the end of August we would need to pick-up over 20” of rain to even tie the reported yearly rain total for August of 2000. As we mentioned yesterday, very isolated thundershowers have popped up over parts of the area, mainly southwest of Tuscaloosa. This activity will continue through the early evening hours and then dissipate. There will be a lot of clouds in place through tonight, with lows dropping into the 60s.

Tomorrow we will deal with more of the same. You can expect a mix of haze, sun, and clouds, with highs in the middle to upper 80s tomorrow. The chance for isolated thunderstorms will continue for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The new data is supporting a trough digging into the eastern U.S. and this will send a front into the region by Sunday. This will bring a good coverage of scattered thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and evening. The long range data is also hinting at a disturbance lifting into Florida from the southern Gulf. This will be an interesting feature to watch, but I don’t expect it to pose any threat to our region. Be sure to join us tonight at five, six, and ten for more details!

Hurricane Season Arrives On Friday: Click Here For A Printable-Blank Hurricane Tracking Chart Provided By NHC(.PDF) 

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

Here We Go: Tropical Depression #1

The Pacific Hurricane Season starts earlier than the Atlantic Season, which starts Friday. Even though it will pose no threat to the U.S., this newly formed tropical depression serves as a sobering reminder that we will need to keep a close eye on the tropics in the weeks ahead. 

Wes

Monday Afternoon Forecast Discussion Update-Memorial Day

Good Afternoon and Happy Memorial Day! I would like to personally thank all of our fine servicemen and women for what they do for our great nation. I would like to thank those who have served and to all of the families, I salute you!

I get the feeling we won’t have to worry about any weather surprises this month. It appears we will end this month much like it started. I got a kick out of the following email sent in today by our Northport Weather Watcher:

Wes,

I just thought of a couple of ways to make it rain. 1.) On one particular day, everyone in Alabama should wash their car, hang their laundry out to dry, BBQ, and water their yards. 2.) This is one that worked in Louisiana: In 2001 Governor Mike Foster asked all of the citizens of Louisiana to pray for rain to end a 3 year long drought. One week later, Tropical Storm Alison hit. Okay, maybe he should have asked only 1/2 the people in Louisiana to pray for rain. In any case, maybe Bob Riley should do the same?

I guess if it works we can give it a shot and if you have done any of the above it may have worked because rain will finally return to parts of the area this week. Tonight not a whole lot will change. Look for another hazy sunset, with temperatures falling to a low of 60-degrees by daybreak tomorrow. Tomorrow we will rebound into the upper 80s, with some clouds popping up during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm can’t be ruled out.

Wednesday and Thursday we will have partly cloudy skies, with highs in the upper 80s. The ridge of high pressure will be weak enough to allow for isolated afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. This trend will continue into the weekend and the good news is that the east coast ridge doesn’t re-strengthen according to the new data. In fact, if the long range data holds true we will have a major pattern shift, with ridging in the central U.S. and a trough in the east next week. This could help spin-up a nice rain maker over the Deep South towards the mid-portion of next week. I will need to see some consistency in the data before I officially add this to our long range forecast. Stay tuned!

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

(Image Source: NOAA 48 HR Forecast Surface Map)

Governor Riley Announces Drought Warnings for 37 Alabama Counties

Happy Memorial Day…I just noticed this Press Release in my email box today. I will have a fresh forecast discussion posted shortly.

Governor Riley Announces Drought Warnings for 37 Alabama Counties

MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob Riley today announced drought warnings for 37 Alabama counties after the ADECA Office of Water Resources declared severe drought conditions for parts of the state. OWR activated the Alabama Drought Management Plan based on the current and anticipated hydrologic conditions, which show dangerously low water levels for the northern portions of the state.

The following counties are now under drought warning:

Bibb, Blount, Calhoon,
Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne,
Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene,
Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone,
Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St.
Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa and Walker.

“Prolonged droughts like we are seeing now can have devastating effects on our land and water resources,” said Governor Riley. “I hope everyone in the affected areas will heed these warnings and make the appropriate preparations. We can’t control the weather, but by activating the Alabama Drought Management Plan we will offer information and resources
to help our state endure a potential disaster.”

Wes