No Tornadoes In Alabama In April!!!! Monday Update 5:20 PM

…PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT…

…NO CONFIRMED TORNADOES IN ALABAMA FOR APRIL 2012…

MERELY ONE YEAR AFTER ESTABLISHING THE RECORD FOR THE MOST TORNADOES IN A SINGLE MONTH IN ALABAMA…ACTUALLY BREAKING THE PREVIOUS ANNUAL RECORD IN A SINGLE MONTH…THERE HAS NOT BEEN A SINGLE CONFIRMED TORNADO REPORTED IN ALABAMA IN THE MONTH OF APRIL 2012. THE LAST TIME ALABAMA EXPERIENCED A TORNADO-FREE APRIL WAS IN 2004. THIS RESPITE COMES AS AN OBVIOUS RELIEF TO TORNADO STRICKEN CITIZENS OF ALABAMA…MANY OF WHOM ARE STILL RECOVERING FROM THE DEVASTATING APRIL 27TH 2011 OUTBREAK.

WHY SO MANY TORNADOES LAST YEAR AND SO FEW TORNADOES THIS YEAR? WHILE LAST YEAR`S PATTERN WAS FAVORABLE AND ACTIVE…FOR MUCH OF SPRING 2012 WE HAVE SEEN THE PRESENCE OF A PATTERN MORE LIKE EARLY SUMMER…WITH WARMER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS ACROSS MUCH OF THE SOUTHEAST. A BLOCKING PATTERN IN THE NORTHERN ATLANTIC HAS MOVED THE POLAR/SUBTROPICAL JETS FURTHER NORTHWARD ALLOWING FOR AN EXPANSIVE RIDGE/HIGH PRESSURE TO REMAIN IN PLACE OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN CONUS FOR MUCH OF THE SEASON…WITH LITTLE CHANCE OF MOVING IT OVER THE NEXT WEEK OR IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WHILE THIS PATTERN CHANGE HAS CERTAINLY REDUCED THE THREAT FOR SEVERE WEATHER IN ALABAMA, IT ALSO HAS BEEN CONDUCIVE FOR SHORT TERM DROUGHT, WHICH WE WOULD CERTAINLY BE BETTER WITHOUT.

WHILE WE HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE WITH A MUCH MORE FAVORABLE 2012 SPRING SEASON THUS FAR…EVEN WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE A REDUCED THREAT…IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMAIN VIGILANT AS WE CLOSE OUT THE SPRING PEAK TORNADO SEASON IN ALABAMA, WHICH RUNS THROUGH THE END OF MAY.

WVUA Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott

rscott@wvuatv.com

Source: NWS Birmingham

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Hot Weather Continues…Monday Afternoon Forecast Discussion – 4:30PM

Good Monday afternoon to you! It’s hot this afternoon, with many spots in the upper 80s to lower 90s. The hot air over the weekend and this week is in response to a strong summer ridge. A ridge is associated with warmer air, while a trough is associated with cooler air. Not only is it hot, but a south flow at the surface has brought higher moisture values into our area. The pattern will remain fairly consistent over the next 7 days, but there are some changes as we approach the weekend.

The short term forecast will remain dry and hot. Temperatures will slowly fall into the lower 60s tonight. While temperatures will settle down into the nice range tonight, conditions will feel a little muggy. There’s no risk of rain this afternoon or tonight. The ridge will be centered right over Alabama on Tuesday, so look for temperatures to reach the 90 degree mark under a mostly sunny ski. Some afternoon cumulus clouds will develop, but the ridge should suppress any showers or storms from developing. The ridge will weaken slightly over Alabama on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; this will allow for the risk of a few afternoon storms. I don’t expect a high coverage of rain and storms, but a shower could pop up at your house. We are starting to fall behind on the rain totals, so we could really use a beneficial rain in the area. So far, forecast data is suggesting we will remain mostly dry through the weekend.

Temperatures will come down a few degrees on Thursday, Friday and Saturday due to a little extra cloud cover and a weaker ridge over our area. Highs will top out in the upper 80s, so it will still feel hot through the weekend. Lows will remain in the lower to middle 60s each night through early next week.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.com or searching WVUA-TV Weather. We also have a new like page on facebook, called WVUA-TV Weather. Since we’re running out of room on the friend page, I recommend you like us on facebook. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Also, join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 4, 5, 6 and 10 pm and weekends at 10pm for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Saturday Evening Forecast Discussion – 9:55 p.m.

Its more of the same for West Alabama over the next few days. High pressure will remain over much of the Southeast for the time being allowing our temperatures to hang around the 90 degree mark. With the high in place and a low over Texas we are seeing a south to southwesterly flow across the area tonight and tomorrow. There is some patchy fog possible across parts of our area.

Tomorrow we expect the temperature to get very close if not hit 90 degrees, very warm for this time of year. Overnight lows will hang in the mid to low 60s throughout the week. The only day that I put in a chance of showers for is Thursday. There is a very small chance that we will see any rain, but we can’t rule out a pop up afternoon shower with all of this heating that we are likely to see.

The name of the game for the week ahead is sunny and hot.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.com or searching WVUA-TV Weather. We also have a new like page on facebook, called WVUA-TV Weather. Since we’re running out of room on the friend page, I recommend you like us on facebook. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Also, join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 4, 5, 6 and 10 pm and weekends at 10pm for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Daniel Sparkman
dsparkman@wvuatv.com
WVUA Weather

Hot Weather Continues…Friday, April 27th Forecast Update 4:21 PM

Good Friday afternoon to you! Today is a big day for many of us, as we make it through the 1 year mark of the historic tornado outbreak anniversary. 62 tornadoes tracked through Alabama within a 24 hour time stamp and 253 Alabamians died in the storms. As of the moment I’m writing this discussion, we are 1 hour away from impact of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa. At this very moment last year, there were numerous tornadoes tracking across our state. Be sure to scroll down to my post earlier today for full details on the event and my personal story.

Today is a new day and a nice day in respect to what we dealt with this time last year. It is rather hot this afternoon, but a little extra cloud cover has kept temperatures a tad lower than expected. Most spots have topped out in the lower 80s this afternoon. With all of the memorial events happening across central Alabama, conditions are looking nice and dry. An isolated shower or storm is possible through 7pm, but most people will remain rain-free. A summer ridge has developed across the heartland of the nation and is moving east. This is causing temperatures around here to warm into the 80s. As the ridge intensifies a bit over the weekend and early next week, temperatures could easily reach 90 degrees. Under influence of the ridge, don’t expect any significant rain chances. A stray afternoon storm is possible each day, but most spots will stay dry. The chance of rain is less than 10% today through next Friday.

Highs will top out between 87 and 91 Saturday through next Friday, as the area continues to deal with a consistent pattern. Lows at night will fall into the lower 60s each night. Other than a little increase in temperatures late in the weekend and early next week, you could copy Saturday’s forecast and paste it to each day over the next 7 days. The ridge will continue to influence our weather through late next week. Expect skies to remain partly cloudy each day.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.com or searching WVUA-TV Weather. We also have a new like page on facebook, called WVUA-TV Weather. Since we’re running out of room on the friend page, I recommend you like us on facebook. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Also, join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 4, 5, 6 and 10 pm and weekends at 10pm for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

April 27th, 2011… A Deadly Day In Alabama’s History! One Year Ago Today. Friday Update 9:40 AM

Above is a clip of our coverage before we lost power due to the massive Tuscaloosa tornado. We are in a building called Reese Phifer Hall on the University of Alabama campus. UA campus has a very protected power supply, so we never invested in a back-up generator. There was never a need for one because the power source was very secure. We lost power on April 27th, as the tornado was tracking into the Forest Lake area of Tuscaloosa. The tornado destroyed 4 power substations in Tuscaloosa, so to say the least, that took our power supply. We were brushed by the tornado as it tracked through town. The core of the tornado missed us by 0.90 miles, but inflow winds were estimated at 80 mph at our TV Station.

It was 1 year ago today, when a horrible tornado outbreak changed my life. It’s a day that affected so many people on so many ways. Not only did a powerful tornado hit the city of Tuscaloosa, Alberta City and Holt, but 62 tornadoes tracked across the state. Many people lost their home, including myself. I lived in a neighborhood behind Big Lots and Hobby Lobby. I was so fortunate because I survived the storm, and so did all of my close friends and family. Numerous friends of mine did lose their home or apartment, but they made it out with their life, and that’s what’s most important in the end.

The days leading up to the big outbreak were more than concerning, they were downright frightening. We had a dangerous squall line move through that morning, which left many without power. When the sun came out early that morning, many folks though the severe weather was over, but the worst was yet to come. The sun added to the instability. The instability was a disastrous ingredient thrown into strong wind shear. Shear and instability are the ingredients that aren’t good to have together.

Every storm was producing large tornadoes, and the chance of tornadoes in one area was higher than I’ve ever seen before. Since the Tuscaloosa/Birmingham tornado affected me personally, I’ll focus on that tornado. Understand, there were 62 tornadoes that day that led to the largest single day tornado outbreak in Alabama’s history and nearly the most deadly. So many people were affected outside the large cities, in small towns scattered across the state.

The first tornado of the afternoon round hit downtown Cullman just after 3pm. After seeing video and hearing reports of what just happened in that area, Daniel Sparkman and I knew this really was going to be as bad as expected. A small supercell storm had just produced a large tornado in a large town; it was a disaster already.

At about 4pm, we started eyeballing a storm that was located in east Mississippi. This storm had a path directly towards Tuscaloosa. It was producing a tornado as it crossed the state line. Once it moved into Tuscaloosa County, we got the report of a wedge tornado with this storm. That was frightening! We knew this would become a disaster for the city of Tuscaloosa, Holt and Alberta City. We got the first glimpse of the tornado from our Tuscaloosa towercam when it was 20 miles away. It was at 5:13pm, when the tornado moved into the southwest side of Tuscaloosa. The warning system was as good as it gets for the storm, yet the tornado was so large, it was simply un-survivable in spots. Be sure to watch the video above from our severe weather coverage. It’s amazing that we stayed on air as long as we could. The main thought going through my mind at the time was warn as many as we can before we get hit. I thought the tornado was going to make a direct hit on our TV station. We were very close! Fortunately, the tornado just missed us to the south by 0.90 miles. Aka. Less that one mile…

After the tornado hit and we and lost power, I knew we had no way to broadcast on television. My main concern was getting to my house, where my roommate and WVUA Director, Jonathan Newman, was at the time. I had no idea what to expect, but I feared the worst. I parked my truck on the side of McFarland BLVD less than 10 minutes after the tornado hit. Rescue personal wasn’t even on the scene just yet. The sound of store and car alarms and police sirens filled the air. The smell of mud, tree sap and natural gas was so strong, it would nearly choke you. The sight of people climbing out of a pile of wood and brick was a sight I’ll never forget. When I got to my house, Jonathan was standing in the front yard. I was so relieved when I saw he was ok and so were my neighbors. Some of my neighbors had injuries, but they were not life-threatening. Unfortunately, that was a different story only 200 yards away, where several people didn’t survive the storm. More than 50 people died in Tuscaloosa alone and over 250 people died in the state of Alabama, making it one of the most deadly tornado outbreaks in US and state history. Below is a picture of my house the day after the tornado hit.

This event changed my life, and I’ll never look at storms the same way. Severe weather will continue to happen at times, and that’s a part of life we will have to live with. I don’t think we will ever see an event nearly the magnitude of this one. It only takes one tornado, so please take every warning serious.

Above is a map across our area that shows the tornado tracks and ratings on April 27th. This map tells a big story!

We will have special coverage again today on WVUA news at 4, 5, 6 and 10pm, so be sure to join us for that!

Be sure to join me on WVUA-TV news at 4, 5, 6 and 10pm weekdays for the latest on your forecast. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.com. You can like us on facebook by searching our new page WVUA-TV Weather. Also, send us your weather pictures by e-mail to weather@wvuatv.com. Have a great day!

WVUA Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott

rscott@wvuatv.com

Map Source: NWS Birmingham

Looking Back…April 27th, 2011, A Killer Tornado Outbreak – Thursday Update 9pm

Good Thursday evening to you! Above is something meteorologists often look at when building a forecast. This really comes in handy during times of winter weather and severe weather. It’s a computer software program called Bufkit. We run computer models through this program and are able to look at numerous severe weather parameters and the atmosphere in a detailed way. This image may not mean much to some of you, but to others, it’s frightening.

This is the 18Z run of the NAM, valid for 4pm Wednesday, April 27th, 2011. The numbers on the left side indicate some of our severe weather parameters. The red highlighted parameters, show where values are at high or extreme levels. For someone getting ready for a severe weather event, that’s not a good sign. CAPE (a measure of instability) values are extremely high, so the air will have no problem rising and violently. Wind shear or Helicity is at 555 m2/s2, which is extreme. To put things rather simple, the two main ingredients for severe weather are instability and shear. A third ingredient is lift, and there was a very strong lifting mechanism about to move through the area. All the other parameters we use were maxed out or close to it. There was nothing to indicate this wouldn’t be a horrible severe weather day across our state. All meteorologists out there knew it was going to be very bad, but there’s nothing we could do to stop this event from unfolding. All we could do is warn as many as possible. The atmosphere was also primed for supercell storms. These are the most violent type of thunderstorms and often produce the large, long tracking tornadoes.

I remember looking at this data on my dinner break that Tuesday evening. The new data ran chills down my back because of how serious this looked. At this point 1 year ago, we were only about 6 hours from starting our first round of active severe weather and 16 hours before starting the main action; the afternoon round…

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Hot, Hazy and Humid, Summer Is Here! – Thursday Afternoon Forecast 5pm Update

Good Thursday afternoon to you! Be sure to scroll down to the previous post on April 27th. We’ve been looking back at the 1 year anniversary which is tomorrow.

The weather has been rather hot today, as a strong summer ridge builds into our area from the west. Computer data has increased the strength of the ridge over our area late in the weekend and early next week, so I’ve bumped temperatures up to 90 degrees on Sunday through Tuesday. It’s amazing how fast Alabama’s weather can change. We were talking chilly temperatures just a few days ago, now we’re expecting temperatures to reach 90 this weekend.

The risk of rain is very low this evening and tonight, but a passing shower or storm can’t be ruled out across our far northern counties. The chance of an isolated storm would include areas north of Fayette and Jasper. A weakening cold front is moving across central Tennessee this evening, but the front will halt its southern progress as it battles a ridge across our area. Temperatures will fall into the lower 60s tonight, and each night through the weekend and into next week. The pattern will not change much over the coming days. Moisture levels have increased across Alabama and will continue to increase. Expect conditions to feel a little muggy through next week.

Afternoon highs will remain in the upper 80s on Friday and Saturday, but lower 90s are expected Sunday through Tuesday. Skies will become partly cloudy each day, but expect more sun than clouds. The ridge will weaken a tad late next week, so that should allow temperatures to drop a few degrees. Look for highs to top out in the upper 80s on Wednesday and Thursday, rather than lower 90s. So far, there’s no sign of any active severe weather across Alabama over the next two weeks.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.com or searching WVUA-TV Weather. We also have a new like page on facebook, called WVUA-TV Weather. Since we’re running out of room on the friend page, I recommend you like us on facebook. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Also, join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 4, 5, 6 and 10 pm and weekends at 10pm for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com