Friday Update

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The high pressure ridge will begin to weaken Sunday which will allow the cold front to make its way into West Alabama. The strongest chance for rain and storms arrive Sunday with heavy rainfall expected to impact our area. I’m estimating rain totals, Saturday through Tuesday, to fall somewhere between the three and five inch mark. A slight risk for severe weather is also in place through Sunday, so don’t rule out a chance for severe storms, especially Saturday into Sunday evening.

The rainmaker will finally trend eastward late Monday, but then we will be watching another system headed our way by Tuesday. Isolated storms will be possible Tuesday and then the more organized rain event will show up in West Alabama on Wednesday. Finally, we will see a break from the wet weather Thursday and Friday with a mostly sunny sky and high temperatures rising into the middle 80s!

We’ve been keeping track of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is making its way towards the Alabama Gulf Coast. Keep in mind this oil spill could vastly impact the fishing industry ranging all the way from the Louisiana coast to the shores of Alabama. I found an informative website from NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration that has a great deal of useful information regarding this tragic disaster. The oil contaminated water could make landfall on Alabama’s beaches at any point this weekend despite the relief efforts. Here is the link to the website for those of you interested:Oil Spill.

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Stay tuned to WVUA this weekend for details on the weekend forecast that could include severe weather. Robert Stevenson has the weather covered Friday and Saturday, Wes Wyatt will be in Sunday. Also, keep a close watch right here on our weather blog for updates on your local area forecast. Have a great Friday evening!

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Robert Stevenson
WVUA Weather

Forecast Discussion 4/29 4:13 PM

Projected Precipitation Saturday-Monday

We’re enjoying a nice clear afternoon and tonight will be mostly clear across our area. This will make for great viewing conditions as the International Space Station moves over the horizon at 8:09 p.m. (be sure to look in the WSW direction). Temperatures will be milder tonight, with lows in the 50s.

The sky will become partly cloudy tomorrow as a moist southerly flow continues over our area. This may fuel a stray thunderstorm or shower late in the day and tomorrow night. We will have a better chance for scattered thunderstorms on Saturday and some may be on the strong side. High temperatures will be in the 80s.

The good thing is that some areas may be able to dodge the rain drops to start off the weekend. By Sunday all areas will be experiencing rain as a cold front moves in. This front will be a slow mover, with the potential for heavy rain and thunderstorms late Sunday, Sunday night, and on Monday. Some of the storms Saturday and late on Sunday may be strong or severe. The front will be stalling across our area which will mean additional rain late Monday, Monday night, and on Tuesday. By Wednesday the front will be shifting south of our area as an upper trough swings into the region. This will keep our sky rather cloudy and provide some cooler weather. Highs will struggle to reach 70 next Wednesday, with lows back in the 40s. Be sure to join us tonight for more weather details!

(Image: HPC Projected precipitation Saturday-Monday)

See the International Space Station overhead tonight. Click here for details!

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist

Latest on the Oil Spill

As we first reported on WVUA last night, the oil spill in the Gulf may impact coastal areas sooner rather than later. A strong south flow is expected to develop over the Gulf which will drive the oil northward. The waters in our ocean are constantly on the move because of currents at the surface and below. The wind can be a big factor in driving the oil northward. Areas initially impacted may include locations near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Beyond that point the oil could make a landfall along the Gulf Coast as early as tomorrow. We will keep you posted on this huge environmental threat! In fact, tonight we will have much more regarding this oil spill. The attached image is the latest high resolution image captured by MODIS. (Source: NASA)

Wes Wyatt

Oil Spill May Impact Gulf Coast

Forecast Discussion 4/28 3:38 PM

After a cold start to the day temperatures made a nice recovery. The big chill will return tonight, with lows in the middle 40s. This may be the end of the colder weather as May is just around the corner. In fact, over the next few days the daytime temperatures will be warming in the low to middle 80s.

High pressure will become more centered east of our area over the next 48 hours. We will enjoy a bright sunny sky tomorrow, with increasing clouds on Friday. A strong southerly flow will bring increasing amounts of moisture, with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible. The shower and thunderstorm activity will flare-up again on Saturday and some storms may be strong or severe.

A cold front will drop into the state on Sunday and stall out, a common setup around here during the late spring season. This will set the stage for an organized rain event late Sunday and into Monday. In fact, there may be some very heavy rainfall in the mix late Sunday. According to the latest data, the front will linger in the area on Tuesday and this will set the stage for additional wet weather. In summary, plan of a good chance of rain and thunderstorms Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. A stronger surface low should materialize along the front by Wednesday and this should guide the front south of our area. We will have a chance for rain early on Wednesday, with wet weather shifting south of our area by Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned for more details!

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist

Storm Reports Via the NWS

Saturday, April 24, 2010 brought a great deal of severe weather to our region and multiple confirmed tornadoes touched down in the state of Alabama. In some spots, winds exceeded 140 mph and homes and property were damaged in the process. Only one person was killed in Alabama; however, ten people were fatal victims as a result of the EF-4 tornado that tracked 149 miles through Mississippi impacting Yazoo City. All together there were about seven confirmed tornadoes that touched down in West and Central Alabama.

Here are a few of the storm survey results courtesy of the National Weather Service that occurred in our state:

The strongest tornado in Alabama confirmed as an EF-3 touched down in Walker, Jefferson, and Blount Counties causing the most extensive damage in Parrish. There were 70-80 homes and businesses damaged including one home that was destroyed in the event. Winds in this tornado reached 140 mph in some spots.

A few EF-1 tornadoes were also confirmed in the state by the National Weather Service. Blount, Marshall, Fayette, and Walker Counties were all impacted by EF-1 tornadoes with extensive damage such as uprooted trees and damaged homes. Winds reached the 100 mph mark in these tornadoes and a 100 foot radio tower was blown down in the process.

Also, several EF-0 tornadoes touched down across West Alabama in counties such as Hale, Sumter, and Marion. The tornado that touched down in Marion County uprooted trees and caused roofing damage to multiple homes in towns like Gu-Win and Brilliant. One home was damaged from a tree that fell on top of the house and toppled over a minivan in the driveway. The tornado in Hale County damaged homes and destroyed a barn. Winds in these tornadoes topped out near 80 mph.

Lastly, Sumter and Marengo Counties were victims of significant wind damage. One woman was rescued from her car along BB Bragg Road in Sumter County as a result of a fallen tree.

Don’t forget you can pick up a free copy of our Severe Weather Safety Guide at the nearest Alabama Credit Union. These safety guides will provide you with helpful tips on what to do in case of severe weather as well as basic knowledge on storms that affect our region.

Source: The National Weather Service

Chase Higginbotham
WVUA Weather

Forecast Discussion 4/27 3:21 PM

Scattered showers continue to work across the area this afternoon and the greatest concentration of rain has been north of Tuscaloosa. This activity is pivoting through the region in response to an upper level disturbance. The clouds and cool northwest flow has kept temperatures in the 60s and this will give us a head start on the cooling process tonight. Lows will be near 40 in many spots and parts of north Alabama will wake up tomorrow morning in the upper 30s. The late April chill won’t last long however, as high pressure building into the state will set the stage for a couple of warm and sunny days. By Thursday our daytime high temperatures will recover into the low 80s.

Looking ahead to Friday, the high pressure cell will slide east giving way to a warm-moist southerly flow over Alabama. Scattered thunderstorms and showers will be possible as the high weakens. More rain will be positioned west of our area along an approaching cold front near the Mississippi River. This boundary will loose its eastward push and become quite sluggish with regard to its approach to Alabama. The scattered storms and showers may decrease in coverage Friday night with the loss of added daytime instability. However, we will have another flare-up of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday and some may be strong or severe.

According to the latest data, we will have a greater chance for a passing shower or thunderstorm during the Sunday/Monday timeframe as the cold front enters West Alabama. The front will slowly settle to our south by Tuesday afternoon and this may trigger a bit of rain during the day, especially for areas south of Tuscaloosa. We will continue to fine tune the weekend forecast details…stay tuned!

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Wes Wyatt
Chief Meteorologist