Sunday Evening Weather Update – 8:39 PM

A good Sunday to you! I couldn’t find any complaints in today’s weather, as we dealt with sunny skies and fairly mild temperatures. After a start in the upper 20s, temperatures raced towards the lower 60s this afternoon. Conditions will be changing big-time over the next 36 hours, as we deal with a significant area of low pressure developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tonight’s forecast is simple, as we will see temperatures heading for the lower 30s. A few clouds roll in later tonight and early in the morning. As the area of low pressure gets kicked off in the northwest Gulf of Mexico tomorrow, we can expect a good deal of clouds to quickly move in. The sky will become cloudy by noon. Most of Monday will be dry, with temperatures in the middle 50s. Rain moves into our western counties around sunset, and heavy rain settles in late in the night. Southern Alabama may pick up 1 to 2 inches of rainfall by the time all things are over. As cold air arrives early Tuesday morning, interesting things come up in the forecast. The question of wintry weather exists as data continues to suggest moisture and cold air meeting up over us.

Temperatures above 5,000 feet will be below freezing all night tomorrow night and on Tuesday, and snowflakes will be falling well above our heads. Typically, snowflakes can only make it through 1,200ft of melting or less before turning into a raindrop. Forecast soundings indicate that the above freezing temperatures near and just above the surface will shrink a bit after midnight Monday night. There appears to be a window for areas north of HWY 80 to get some light snow Tuesday morning, as the melting layer becomes less than 1,000ft. If you’re looking for snow, this is good news for you. But, warmer ground temperatures will melt the snowflakes that reach the ground. There are several things we have to take into account. It’s happening in early March and the sun angle is higher. This heats the surface more efficiently than a January day. Since we’ve had several days with sunny skies now, our ground temperature has warmed up drastically. Also, with an inch of rain expected before the changeover to snow occurs will prevent snow from sticking. Finally, if our data is a degree or two wrong, this could mean a completely different scenario. A couple degrees warmer and we won’t see any snow at all. This is the typical “close call” setup for Alabama. The bottom line is that we won’t have to worry about travel issues as temperatures stay above freezing. Also, the warmer ground will help to melt any snow that falls on it, so we’re not expecting any drastic accumulations. Some of the higher elevations in northeast Alabama cold pick up some accumulating snow, but it doesn’t look like much will stick in central Alabama. Most of the precipitation moves out by noon on Tuesday.

There isn’t that much cold air behind this system, so temperatures aren’t expected to get very cold behind it. In-fact, we can expect a nice warming trend later in the week. Thursday, temperatures will be well into the upper 50s. Lower 60s on Friday and upper 60s on Saturday. With mostly sunny skies the rest of the week and the weekend, we’ll have a pleasant setup for any outdoor plans. Some data suggest that temperatures get closer to 70 degrees by Sunday. Be sure to join me tonight at 10 PM for much more on your forecast on WVUA-TV.

Have a great day!

Richard Scott

Saturday Afternoon Weather Update – 3:45 PM

A good Saturday to you! A very nice weekend is in store, with highs in the middle to upper 50s today and sunny skies. We will likely reach the upper 50s tomorrow, with more sunny skies. Weather conditions go downhill late Monday afternoon and early on Tuesday. Due to the increasing clouds on Monday, temperatures will stay in the lower to middle 50s. It is going to continue very cold at night, as temperatures approach the upper 20s. Sunday night, temperatures will reach into the lower 30s.

Clouds quickly increase on Monday, as a gulf low starts to develop. We’ll see the area of low pressure become stronger and move along the northern Gulf of Mexico. This will spread clouds and heavy rain in here late Monday night and early on Tuesday. As the low moves to the east, we will experience colder air moving in during the day on Tuesday. Tuesday’s highs will only reach 43 degrees. The good news is that temperatures are expected to stay above freezing. As temperatures approach the lower to middle 30s Tuesday morning, we could see a little snow mixing in. This is not expected to be a big deal. Due to the mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures prior to this event, the ground and roads are becoming much warmer. It would have to be a long duration heavy snow to cause accumulations, and this isn’t what we expect. Rain will be the main issue, with 1 to 2 inches of rain likely along and south of HWY 80.

The storm moves to the east by Wednesday, with sunny skies making a return. Highs approach the lower 50s on Wednesday, middle 50s on Thursday, and nearly 60 degrees on Friday. With lots of sun and warmer temperatures, we will have a very nice weekend. Be sure to join me tonight at 10 PM for the latest on your weather on WVUA-TV.

Have a great day!

Richard Scott

Severe Weather Awareness Week – NOAA Weather Radio

Alabama’s severe weather awareness week concludes today with the importance of NOAA Weather Radios. NOAA weather radios can be used at any time of the day, but are especially helpful during times of inclement weather. NOAA weathe radio, which is the voice of the National Weather Service, provides continuously updated weather information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Included in this weather information is watch and warning information, 7 day forecasts, current conditions, climate data, and other important weather information. The watch/warning information receives the highest priority and is updated frequently.

Alabama is served by 29 NOAA weather radio transmitters. West Alabama is served by three of these transmitters: one is located in Winfied, another in Tuscaloosa, and another in Demopolis.

The more recent weather radios are equipped with S.A.M.E technology, or specific area message encoding. This allows the user to specifically program each county desired by using FIPS codes, instead of receiving warning information for each county within the transmitter’s range.

WVUA-TV’s severe weather policy is that when any county in the viewing area is included in a tornado warning, continuous wall-to-wall coverage will be provided while the warning is in effect. The coverage can be heard on 102.1 FM and online via U-Stream.

Information regarding NOAA weather radios is courtesy of the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama.

Isaac Williams
WVUA-Weather

Forecast Discussion Update 2/26 – 4:20 PM

Good afternoon! The final weekend of February is here and our forecast doesn’t look too bad. If you recall last year we ended the month with a big snow event. The only issue with the forecast this weekend will be lingering cold temperatures. A strong upper level disturbance is producing rain this afternoon across Louisiana and Arkansas. This system will swing southwest of us tonight and there will be a chance for a few sprinkles in areas south of Tuscaloosa. The only major changes involve an increasing north wind and additional cloud cover. The system will pass south of us tomorrow and we will have a chilly north breeze, with highs in the 50s. I’m expecting the sun to make a welcomed return by the afternoon, with more sunshine on Sunday. Highs will also be in the 50s, with lows just below freezing.

Another southern-tracking disturbance will swing clouds into the state on Monday. Models are coming into better agreement that a strong, organized, surface low will pass along the Gulf Coast. This will spread a good coverage of precipitation into the state late Monday night and on Tuesday. This should start off as light showers late Monday night and based on forecast atmospheric profiles this should change to a rain/snow mix. This forecasted rain/snow mix should continue throughout Tuesday, especially if the precipitation is heavy enough. Highs on Tuesday will occur during the early morning and temperatures will fall into the mid to upper 30s during the day. We will have to keep a close eye on the guidance this weekend as a bit more cold air could set the stage for a more significant winter weather event.

The precipitation will depart Tuesday night, with a cold north breeze. Look for clouds to depart on Wednesday, with sunshine returning. We will have a trend towards milder conditions for the first weekend of Meteorological Spring. Thursday and Friday will be mostly sunny days, with highs in the middle 50s. Have a great weekend!

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist

Flood Safety

As severe weather awareness week rolls along, our focus today is on flooding and flash flooding. Flooding, and more importantly flash flooding, is the number one cause of weather related deaths in the United States. Too much rain in too little time can result in heavy rainfall accumulations. This setup can result in dangerous flash floods for low lying areas. This flash flooding can also be a major factor in urbanized areas because of artificial surfaces and poor water drainage. The flash flood is more of an imminent event as the results of excessive rainfall. A flood or river flood is often issued because of the lingering water run-off well after the heavy rainfall event. The National Weather Services suggests we consider the following safety tips in the event of a flood or flash flood:

  • Stay out of areas subject to flooding like valleys, stream banks, and flood plains.
  • Avoid already flooded areas and DO NOT attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot where water is above your ankles.
  • When driving, know the depth of the water in a dip before crossing, do not drive into a pool of water or where water is flowing. Water that is up to the bumper of a car will likely stall it, just six inches of flowing water can push a car off of a road. If your car stalls abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Remember to “TURN AROUND AND DONT DROWN.”
  • Remain extremely cautious at night, heavy rain events typically occur at night!

(Source: NWS)

Jennifer Edwards
WVUA Weather

Forecast Discussion 2/25 3:40 PM

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week and today’s topic is flooding. On the afternoon of June 11th, 2008 a thunderstorm developed over Tuscaloosa producing nearly two inches of rain in a very short amount of time. The heavy rain triggered a flash flood event that forced the closing of many roads within the city. When we often think of life threatening weather events tornadoes and lighting first come to mind; however, flooding is the number one weather related killer in the Unites States. We’ve certainly had lots of rain this winter season and the potential exists for flooding as we transition into the warmer rainy season.

At this time we are enjoying a very dry and stable setup across Alabama. Dew points are extremely low underneath a high pressure area centered over the state. The last reported dew point was 1-degree at the Tuscaloosa Airport. This helps us judge moisture availability and given these values, the air is extremely dry. This has prompted a high fire danger over the state for today. High pressure is centered over central Mississippi and this feature will slide east tonight, setting the stage for another widespread freeze. Lows tonight will be in the upper 20s.

An upper level disturbance will track into Louisiana tomorrow and clouds off of this feature will be drifting over Alabama by the afternoon. The system will pass to our south, with only a few sprinkles possible over southern sections tomorrow night. For the most part, the sky will be cloudy, with low temperatures just below freezing. The good news is that sunshine will return for Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the 50s. By Monday clouds will increase again as a low pressure system tracks across the northern Gulf. This system will bring a chance for a rain/snow mix on Tuesday. There may be the potential for a period of snow over southern sections of the area where precipitation will be heaviest. It is going to be a very cold day, with highs only reaching the low 40s. This system should push east by Wednesday afternoon, with clouds giving way to sunshine.

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist

Solar Activity Causing Satellite Distortions


If you’ve been trying to access satellite imagery over the past couple of hours you may have noticed some problems. Some interesting activity is happening on the sun. What’s known as a a Coronal Mass Ejection occurred a few days ago and the material is just now reaching earth. From what I have observed over the past couple of hours, seems like this material is distorting some of the incoming satellite data. In satellite terms, this is known as a non-systematic distortion. This type of event is rather common and for us weather gurus we will be spending some extra time cleaning up the data before the news. This event should also produce quite an aurora display near the poles tonight. (Source: Spaceweather.com)

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist