Tuesday Afternoon Forecast Discussion Update

As I was driving into work today, I passed through a couple of showers along highway 69. As expected, the rain has been very isolated today and temperatures have been very warm. It’s hard to tell visually if we have a mostly cloudy sky or a partly cloudy sky due to all of the haze out there. We should end up with a high temperature for the day near 95-degrees.

We’ve had some interesting developments today as the data is now depicting an area of low pressure developing over the northern Gulf. This will be developing along the old trough that’s stretched over the southern half of the state. As low pressure develops, the big question will be what track will the system take, as it’s expected to drift northward over the weekend.

In the meantime, we will have hot, humid, and hazy conditions through Friday. Highs will be reaching the middle to upper 90s, with the heat index nearing 100-degrees. A stray shower or thunderstorm will be possible in the afternoon hours, with many spots staying dry. The system over the gulf may drift northeastward and bring an increasing chance for a shower or thunderstorm during the afternoon hours this weekend. The strength of the system will have a lot to do with our coverage of rain; however, at this point I’m expecting the rain threat to mainly be after lunchtime each day.

Tropical Storm Chantal developed north of Bermuda today and winds are now at 50 mph. This system will be no threat as it tracks towards the upper Atlantic. One feature we will have to watch with interest is a healthy tropical disturbance about 600 miles east of St. Lucia. Further development is possible with this system.

Be sure to join us tonight at five, six, and ten for more details!

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

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Tropical Depression 3 Becomes Chantal

avn1.jpgCHANTAL STRENGTHENS…BUT HEADED FOR COOLER WATERS…

AT 1100 AM EDT…1500Z…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM CHANTAL WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 40.2 NORTH…LONGITUDE 62.7 WEST OR ABOUT 305
MILES…495 KM…SOUTH OF HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA AND ABOUT 660 MILES…
1060 KM…SOUTHWEST OF CAPE RACE NEWFOUNDLAND.

CHANTAL IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 29 MPH…46 KM/HR
…AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE WITH SOME INCREASE IN
FORWARD SPEED TODAY AND TONIGHT.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 50 MPH…85
KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND CHANTAL COULD LOSE TROPICAL
CHARACTERISTICS TONIGHT OR ON WEDNESDAY.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES…280 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 999 MB…29.50 INCHES.

REPEATING THE 1100 AM EDT POSITION…40.2 N…62.7 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD…NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 29 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…50
MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…999 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
500 PM EDT.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Posted By: Richard Scott

New Tropical Depression

024535w_sm1.gifTROPICAL DEPRESSION…THIRD CYCLONE OF THE SEASON…FORMS BETWEEN BERMUDA AND CAPE COD…

AT 1100 PM EDT…0300Z…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION THREE WAS

LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 36.1 NORTH…LONGITUDE 66.0 WEST OR ABOUT 270
MILES…435 KM…NORTH-NORTHWEST OF BERMUDA AND ABOUT 445 MILES…
710 KM…SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF CHATHAM MASSACHUSETTS.

THE DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 16 MPH.  A TURN TO THE NORTHEAST WITH AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH…55 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  THE DEPRESSION COULD BECOME A TROPICAL STORM OVERNIGHT BEFORE BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL BY LATE TOMORROW.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1007 MB…29.74 INCHES.

REPEATING THE 1100 PM EDT POSITION…36.1 N…66.0 W.  MOVEMENT TOWARD…NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 16 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…35 MPH.  MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1007 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 500 AM EDT.

Source: National Hurricane Center 

Posted By: Richard Scott

Monday Forecast Discussion Update

As July comes to a close the weather won’t be changing much across West and Central Alabama. Hot weather will continue along with a small chance for rain. This past weekend you probably noticed that the clouds looked like they were going to produce rain, but we were not so lucky. A stationary front has been the primary rain maker and this weak feature is drifting slowly southward. I was quite disappointed in the front and timing had a lot to do with our lack of rain. Yesterday as the front was just north of Tuscaloosa, we had rain in places like Fayette. With the loss of heating last night the rain dissipated and now the redevelopment has taken place along the front, which is now to our south. Thunderstorms will continue to be a factor over Sumter, Marengo, and Perry Counties. Elsewhere, we will have gradual clearing, with lows in the 70s tonight.

Tomorrow we will have a big warm-up into the middle 90s, with spotty thunderstorms in the afternoon. The greatest clustering of thunderstorms tomorrow will be south of Tuscaloosa. We should end the month tomorrow with a rain total 4.14” and that will put us at finishing, 1.25” below average. That means we’re still in a major drought however, the rain this month has helped.

As far as the entire area is concerned, I’m afraid dry weather will be the story through much of the week. It’s also going to be very hot! Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be partly to mostly sunny days, with high temperatures warming into the middle to upper 90s. A stray afternoon storm can’t be ruled out however, a ridge building in from the east will keep the rain development quite minimal.

Tropics: An area of cloudiness just north of Bermuda could develop into Subtropical Storm or Tropical Storm Chantal this afternoon. Also, one feature that has really caught my eye is a tropical disturbance about 1,000 miles east of the southern Windward Islands. There is a nice broad cloud structure with this feature and we will have to monitor for deeper cloud development.

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

Saturday Afternoon Weather Discussion

Our rain chances begin to go up today as we have a surge of gulf moisture in place; that, along with daytime heating will spark off scattered, afternoon thunderstorms. The best chance of rain will likely be over East Alabama this afternoon. It’s going to be hot today, with highs topping our in the low 90s. 

Skies will remain partly cloudy tonight, with an isolated shower or thunderstorm during the overnight hours; especially over the northern counties of our viewing area. With a frontal boundary nearby, and a very moist air mass in place, there will be a possibility of a stray shower overnight. 

You can expect a good chance for showers and thunderstorms tomorrow; especially during the afternoon and evening hours. A weakening cold front will be slowly pushing into our area. The cold front, along with daytime heating and deep tropical moisture in place should help to give us a good coverage of showers and thunderstorms; in fact, some locations may pick up some heavy amounts of rainfall. This is some very good news because we still need the rain desperately. Some storms tomorrow may be on the strong side. Be sure to check out our weather blog tomorrow; if we have any warnings pop up, we will have those posted on there. 

The good rain chances stay with us as the new workweek begins, with a 60% chance for rain and storms on Monday; highs will top out near 90. Then, we will start to dry out on Tuesday and Wednesday. The best chance for rain will be to our south on Tuesday, as some drier air works in from the north; that will be associated with our weakening frontal boundary. We stay dry until Friday and Saturday, as we will get back into a summertime pattern, with a stray afternoon thunderstorm and highs in the low 90s. 

WVUA Weather: Richard Scott 

Friday Afternoon Forecast Discussion

Good afternoon! The thunderstorm development is underway and we’ve had some decent downpours near the city of Tuscaloosa. One thundershower developed near Taylorville and lingered for quite a while. The latest radar round-up indicates a developing shower between Berry and Samantha. Also, there is some development near Lawley and Maplesville. The isolated thunderstorm threat will last well into the evening hours tonight.

Our forecast outlook on rain over the next few days is still looking good. Tomorrow we will have some decent periods of sunshine, with more scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Some of the storms may grow strong, with large hail and gusty winds. Sunday I still think there will be a window for an extended period of rain as copious amounts of moisture will be in place and a surface boundary will be nearby. All of these components will lead to a good coverage of thunderstorms. If you recall, we talked about the unsettled weather in the western Gulf. Low pressure has developed near Houston and some of the moisture with this feature will help fuel rain over far southern Mississippi and Alabama.

I’m going to continue to mention a good chance of rain on Monday as the front will be slowly working through the area. Tuesday the coverage of afternoon thunderstorms will lower as the boundary over the area weakens and gradually dissipates. We will have hot and humid conditions for the start of August, with some spots nearing the 95-degree mark next Wednesday.

There will be just enough instability to spark afternoon thunderstorms through next week. The data has been painting an impressive tropical system over the eastern Atlantic in the 9 to 10 day time frame. The truth is, the data has been trying to develop tropical systems in the long range, on and off, for the past two months. However, with the peak of hurricane season approaching we can’t ignore everything we see and we will need to cautiously watch the tropics.

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV

Summer In The South

I’ve been in this business for nearly ten years now and I can safely say that summer tends to be one of the most challenging times of the year for building forecast. You’re probably thinking, what can be so hard about saying scattered thunderstorms everyday, with a high of 90-degrees. Each day I allot time to building my own forecast and believe me our goal is to have the most accurate forecast out there. The forecast you see on WVUA-TV each and every night at five, six, and ten was put together by me. It’s all drawn out on paper before we incorporate it into our graphics system. I’ve seen so called, forecasters in this business simply take the National Weather Service Forecast and use that in their broadcasts. However, for those that do build forecasts, it is tough during the summer to get a good handle on specific communities that will deal with rain.

The reason is that in the hot summer months smaller scale features play a big role in where thunderstorms or showers materialize. As we deal with the summer heat, parcels of unstable air scattered about serve as regions for storm growth. The broader scale models we use as guidance simply don’t have the resolution to be able to choose specific neighborhoods, which may experience rain. That is why you may hear us mention, spotty thunderstorms in the western or eastern half of the state. There are however, smaller scale models that can allow us to get a better depiction of where rain may occur. This type of guidance has proven to be beneficial, but it still lacks the type of detail I would like to see.

As far as the temperature is concerned, it is tough to reach a projected high where the rain occurs. If a storm pops up over the airport, depending on the time of day, we may not reach the projected high. However, other parts of the area may reach the projected high temperature. Therefore, the scattered storms can lead to busted high temperature forecasts.

I hope this helps to better explain some of the aspects of summer weather forecasting in Alabama. As you can see, forecasting can be quite challenging in the summer. However, for a weather fan like me it’s quite exciting to see all of the data and build forecasts.
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Quick Tropics Update: According to the National Hurricane Center a weak area of low pressure has developed near the upper Texas Coast. The system is expected to move inland over the next couple of days and that will keep the feature from rapidly developing. This is the same system we’ve been talking about over the past coupe of days. It looks like Texas will get the bulk of the rain from this system. We’ll continue to keep a close eye out for any suspicious tropical activity.

Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist WVUA-TV