Thursday Afternoon Forecast Discussion

A large band of rain has developed to our west and this rain has been slowly progressing in our direction. Thankfully, the steady rain held off for a decent period during the morning. I sure took advantage of the dry morning by taking care of some errands. While driving on McFarland earlier, I noticed some sunshine actually broke through the clouds for a short period. Now things are changing fast as the rain is moving in. Look for periods of rain through this evening and there still is the chance for a few thunderstorms, especially south of Tuscaloosa. Some of the storms over far southern portions of the area may grow strong. The only watch in the region is a tornado watch for far southwestern Mississippi.

The rain should be departing by 5:30 a.m. in West Alabama and by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning the rain should be east of the I-65 corridor. We will wake up to early morning clouds and very chilly temperatures. Look for highs to struggle to reach the upper 40s tomorrow and we will have some sunshine during the afternoon. A freeze will be likely tomorrow night, with lows expected to drop into the upper 20s.

Saturday still looks to be a nice day, with a cold start and milder afternoon. The data is now picking up on a short wave or small scale disturbance on Sunday, which will bring showers. We will be entering an unsettled period for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. A moist southwest flow will guide lots of clouds in our direction and temperatures will steadily warm. Highs will be around 70 on Monday and Tuesday. Also, on Tuesday, low pressure will swing a cold front into the region and this will bring another good soaking rain. There will be a chance for thunderstorms and some may be strong. Beyond Tuesday, we will have to keep a close eye on the weather for late next week. Another storm system will bring the threat of rain and wintry weather to portions of the Deep South. This looks to enter the region around the February 8th time frame. Have a great evening!

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist

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Wednesday Afternoon Forecast Discussion Update

Last night turned out to be quite busy for us due to numerous reports of wind related damage across our area. More interestingly, this was non-thunderstorm related wind damage as gusts between 40-50 mph accompanied a strong cold front. There were power outages and downed tress all over the area. Be sure to tune in starting at 4:00 for a detailed report from our news team. Today you could easily feel the change and the chill will be in the air overnight. Lows will be near 30-degrees, with increasing clouds late.

At this time our next big rain maker is passing across the Texas Panhandle. This area of low pressure will be pulling lots of moisture northward, out of the Gulf of Mexico, and we will begin seeing high clouds after midnight. Tomorrow the clouds will continue to thicken, with showers becoming moderate by the evening hours. This will be in response to the warm/moist surge ahead of the storm system. The big question is just how much of this warm/moist air makes it into our area. For now it looks like the core of the more unstable air will mainly reach the southern portion of the area, prompting a higher threat for thunderstorms south of I-20. Still, some rumbles of thunder may be heard as far north as Fayette tomorrow night. The rain will continue through tomorrow night and temperatures will begin falling late as the cool front marches through. We will drop into the 40s, with some lingering showers into Friday morning. There is a chance for a brief period of freezing drizzle for places like Cullman and points northward. Overall, we will be dry by Friday afternoon and cold, with highs struggling to reach 50-degrees.

The long range data is still looking quite consistent. The weekend will be partly to mostly sunny with a steady warm-up. The coldest period will be Saturday morning as we wake up to temperatures in the 20s. By Monday however, we should see highs near 70-degrees. Look for increasing clouds on Monday, with showers becoming likely by Tuesday of next week. Be sure to tune in tonight for more details!

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist

High Wind Warning Tuscaloosa/Walker Counties

As mentioned earlier, the threat for highs winds will continue this evening as the cold front moves through our area. The high winds will occur, even in the absence of thunderstorms. A high wind warning is in place for Tuscaloosa and Walker Counties until 10:00 p.m. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph over our area. We know that as of 8:50 p.m. 700 customers were without power in Tuscaloosa. Other numbers showed 2,600 customers without power in Jasper, 1,500 in Reform, and 1,369 in Fayette. The best advice is to stay indoors until the strong winds subside. As the cold front moves through, winds will gradually diminish overnight.

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist

Severe T’Storm Warning Marion/Fayette/Lamar

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…  SOUTHERN MARION COUNTY IN NORTHWEST ALABAMA…  THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF WINFIELD…  WESTERN FAYETTE COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…  THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF FAYETTE…  LAMAR COUNTY IN WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA…  THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF…VERNON…DETROIT… * UNTIL 500 PM CST * AT 425 PM CST…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A  SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS  OF 60 MPH.  THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR BEDFORD…OR NEAR VERNON  AND MOVING EAST AT 55 MPH. * THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR…  6 MILES SOUTH OF LAMAR COUNTY AIRPORT BY 430 PM CST…  BLOOMING GROVE BY 440 PM CST…  BLUFF BY 445 PM CST…  WINFIELD BY 450 PM CST…  GLEN ALLEN BY 455 PM CST…

 

Tuesday Afternoon Forecast Discussion

It’s been a windy day and higher gusts will be possible tonight as a tighter pressure gradient develops over the region. A cold front is currently positioned near Little Rock, Arkansas and there is quite a temperature contrast with this feature. At the time of this posting, Little Rock was sitting at 75-degrees, while Kansas City was at 12-dergees. That is an amazing 63-degree drop in temperature over a very short distance! Needless to say a very cold-dense air mass is sending a cold front our way. As the front progresses towards Alabama, we will have the chance for rain and thunderstorms through the evening hours. Some strong thunderstorms could materialize through 9:00 p.m. Also, the threat for windy conditions will be in place all night, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

The front will race through tonight and we will wake up to readings in the 30s tomorrow morning. It’s still going to be rather breezy, tomorrow morning especially, with sunshine returning. This break in the rain won’t last long however, as the parade of storm systems continues.

Another potent area of low pressure will swing out of the Rockies on Thursday and this will send clouds and rain in our direction. The warmer sector of this storm system looks to only reach the southern portion of our area late Thursday and that is where the threat for severe weather will develop. A slight risk for severe weather has been issued by SPC for the far southern portion of our area. Elsewhere, the air mass will remain cool, with a steady rain thru Thursday night. There may be a few rumbles of thunder as far north as Tuscaloosa. As the frontal boundary leading the cold/stable air swings into Alabama, the temperatures will then fall through Friday. The rain will gradually taper off by Friday afternoon. As the deeper layer of cold air wraps in, the precipitation could end as snow flurries over our northern counties. Saturday and Sunday will be pleasant days, with our attention shifting to another big rain maker due around Tuesday of next week.

January is going to be nice to us in the rainfall department. According to the HPC 5-day precipitation estimates, as shown in the above graphic, we could see nearly 3 inches of rain over portions of our area. Be sure to stay with your Home Team station for the latest updates.

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist

The Planets/Earth-Approaching Asteroid

venusjupiter012808.gifThere is a lot happening in skies above, well beyond the layers of our atmosphere! Right now is a great time to view some of the planets in our solar system. Unfortunately, the sky viewing conditions won’t be too good over the next 36 hours due to an approaching cold front. Our good friend, UA Astronomy Professor Bill Keel, shares this great image and bit of information with us:

“Venus and Jupiter can appear brighter than any of the other planets. This week, early risers can see them very close to each other to the sky – on Friday morning, you would barely be able to fit the size of full Moon in between. Attached is a picture from this morning. Of course, it was only while walking a bit later, with the camera safely packed away, that I found a spot where I could also see Venus reflected in a patch of ice.”

Another interesting event will unfold tomorrow as an asteroid labeled TU24 will pass Earth. NASA has determined the space rock is 250 meters wide and lopsided. According to Professor Keel, the large asteroid will be closer to earth over the next few days than any asteroid of this size will be for more than a dozen years. There is no danger of a collision, but tomorrow the space rock will be close enough to photograph through backyard telescopes as it speeds through the constellation Cassiopeia. Asteroid TU24 is located at 1.4 lunar distances. Once again, clouds will likely hamper viewing conditions over the region. Be sure to click here for an image of the asteroid captured by the University of Alabama, Astronomy Department.

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist

Monday Afternoon Forecast Discussion Update

Good Afternoon! We’re finally making some upward progress in the temperature department. Tonight we will cool off into the middle 40s and even though that is cold for our standards, it sure beats the 20s we dealt with earlier today. The latest satellite imagery is showing a void in the cloud cover over central Mississippi, so I’m calling for a mostly clear sky through much of tonight. The clouds will fill in however, and by tomorrow morning we should start to see lots of clouds overhead. The good news is that our temperatures will be rebounding to near 70-degrees. Unfortunately, we won’t have much time to get out and enjoy the mild weather as showers will be arriving.

A cold front will move in late tomorrow and ahead of this feature, showers will become likely. This setup has prompted the Storm Prediction Center to place part of the area underneath a slight risk for severe weather tomorrow night. This is primarily covering the northwestern portion of our viewing area. Thunderstorms will develop out ahead of the front and some storms may grow severe in this area. The severe weather threat looks to drop off as the storms march closer to Tuscaloosa. With that said, a strong thunderstorm, with gusty winds can’t be ruled out. As the rain tapers off from west to east, a cold front will move through shifting our winds. Temperatures will drop into the upper 30s by Wednesday morning.

We will have some decent periods of sunshine on Wednesday, but a more amplified storm system will be gaining strength to our west. An area of low pressure will begin spreading rain into our area on Thursday, with increasing clouds. This system will have more of a punch as it moved through due to its track and placement. Therefore, I expect the leading edge of the warmer sector to bring an overcast sky with rain developing Thursday. As this wet weather continues the atmosphere will grow unstable and this will fuel strong thunderstorms as a cold front drops in early Friday. Hopefully, the main cold front will move through early on Friday, lowering the threat for severe weather. Be sure to tune in at 4, 5, 6, and 10 for a detailed look at our local weather forecast!

Wes Wyatt
WVUA Chief Meteorologist