More Clouds Invading Today, With Rain Chances During The Night
For the eastern half of Central Alabama at the 1 o’clock hour, skies are mostly clear to sunny, while clouds have covered much of the western half of the area. There is no rain anywhere for the state, or in the southeast except for a few in the south-central peninsula of Florida. A few snow showers are falling over the extreme northern parts of Tennessee.
With clouds moving to the east-northeast across the area and more clouds pushing in from Mississippi, skies will be mostly cloudy to cloudy for the remainder of the afternoon and evening hours. Afternoon highs will be in the 50s across the entire area today. As the wind fields increase ahead of the approaching cold front that will move through during the weekend, this will cause an increase to our winds for the evening hours, and allow for temperatures to begin a warming trend during the overnight hours. A few showers are possible for the northern portion of Central Alabama, mainly north and west of the I-59 and I-20/59 corridors.
Current Temperatures Across Central Alabama
At 1:00 PM, temperatures are currently ranging from the low to mid 40s in the extreme northern parts of the area to the upper 50s in the extreme southern part of the area. Warm spot is currently a tie with Montgomery and Troy at 58 degrees, while Haleyville is currently the cool spot at 42 degrees.
Birmingham’s Climatology And Records
The normal high for December 16th is 56, while the normal low is 35. The record high for today was set back in 1924 at 76 degrees. The record low was set back in 1901 at 8 degrees.
A Rainy Day For Saturday, Becoming Stormy During The Night
An enhanced southwesterly flow will be bringing a more moist airmass into Central Alabama, and this will lead to light shower activity for the area, especially for the northern half. Latest model guidance has slowed on the cold front reaching the area until after midnight on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Highs are expected to top out in the upper 60s to the 70s throughout the area.
With that being said, strong storms could develop out ahead of the front, with the main window for severe storms to be from 9PM Saturday through 3AM on Sunday. The SPC has trimmed the “Slight Risk” area just a little, confining it to the northwest corner of the state. Instability values seem to be a little higher than previous model runs just ahead of the front in the western locations of the area. There is a possibility that any storms that do develop out ahead of the front could go severe, however the risk is low as of now. The main threat will be mainly west of the I-65 corridor, and will be from strong straight line winds, but an isolated tornado or two is not out of the question.
KBMX Radar Products Are Degraded
This is the latest from the NWS Birmingham on issues regarding the radar:
As of Noon CST on Friday December 16, all DUAL POL products for KBMX should be considered degraded and unreliable. The part that will fix this is now on order and will be replaced as soon as it gets delivered to the office. The plan is to have this part replaced by Saturday afternoon before the main weather makes it into the region. Once the part arrives, the radar will have to be taken offline for replacement and calibration.
At this time the radar is operative and what is considered legacy products are still available. This includes reflectivity, velocity, and rainfall. So forecasters will still be able to monitor severe weather if the part does not get replaced before the system moves in.
Tucson Arizona recorded the warmest high temperature for Thursday at 84 degrees. Mount Washington New Hampshire recorded the coldest low temperature for last night into the early morning hours today at -35 degrees. Mount Washington also has a peak wind gust on Thursday at 95 MPH, while its average speed for the entire day was at 53.6 MPH. Gusts are expected to reach up to 105 MPH today, pushing wind chill values down into the -50 to -60 degree level.
On This Day In Weather History: 2000
An F4 tornado hits communities near Tuscaloosa, AL, killing 11 people and injuring 125 others. It was the strongest December tornado in Alabama since 1950.
Forecaster: Scott Martin (Twitter: @scottmartinwx)