We begin our hump day with increasing clouds and a lot of temperature variety.
After reaching a high of 86-degrees yesterday in Birmingham, 13-degrees above the norm, we are expecting another warm dry day again today.
Look for mostly clear to partly cloudy skies today, highs in the low 80s, and south winds at 5-10 mph.
Tonight should see increasing clouds...lows in the low 60s.
There is only a slight chance of a drop or two in our forecast for tomorrow. Other than that our forecast remains rather parched in the extended outlook.
We still have warm, dry weather in the forecast for late in the week and going into the weekend. If you do want some hope, I will say that our long range models are hinting at a couple of drops of rain for November 6th...and i'm only talking about a few drops, that's it...sorry, don't kill the messenger.
I hope you have a nice day otherwise.
Mickey Ferguson, WBRC First Alert weather
(Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior Riverkeeper)
The photo above is from the upper, naturally-flowing parts of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. It is a sad one, and there are many other dried up creeks, branches, and streams all over north and central Alabama. In addition, our controlled lakes are at low levels too. Smith Lake was at 497 feet late Monday, 13 feet below full pool. They have to drain water out of Smith to keep lakes like Bankhead, Holt, Oliver and others on the Warrior River, that have barge navigation and coal power generation, up high enough to support these activities. Even still, Bankhead is very low too (I was there the other day).
This drought has come on fairly quickly here in central Alabama. Yes, the month of August was dry (with only 2.52" of rain, normal is 4"), but since Labor Day (9/5), Birmingham has only received 0.40" of rain in a total of 51 days. That is extreme. Since 1904, when rain began to be recorded in decimals (not rounded to whole inches), there have only been six other years with a 51-day stretch that dry in Birmingham. In 1924, there was a 65-day period with only 0.01" of rain...this southern USA drought was written about in books. Looking at the current drought map (updated every Thursday), about 60% of Alabama is in at least a "severe drought", much of Alabama east of I-65 and north of I-20 are in "extreme drought", and some places in northeast Alabama are in the worst category, "exceptional drought". If we go back just 3 months to late July, only 15% of the state was in a severe drought, now it is 62%.
(Univ. Nev. Las Vegas)
Usually, we start getting into an active weather pattern in late October and stay in one through March, with cold fronts and weather systems bringing lots of rain. We did have our first major cold front of the fall last week, with temperatures dropping from 90 last Thursday to near 40 Friday night. But, as the front moved through, the dynamics stayed to our north. Huntsville and Decatur got about 1/2" of rain with the cold front last Thursday, but Birmingham only got a few sprinkles, not enough to measure. The active weather pattern keeps holding to our north, and systems weaken as they get here because a large ridge of high pressure is in place at upper-levels and systems can't seem to break it down.
As the atmosphere over the northern hemisphere continues to cool rapidly over the next few weeks due to lower sun angles and shorter days, the ridge (supported by warm air) will eventually break down, maybe in a big way, with some giant cold front in November. In my 25 years in meteorology, I can not remember this summer-like pattern holding on past about the first week of Nov Sure, we might get a few showers tomorrow or Thursday as a weak system moves through, but nothing to write home about. Long range models indicate it may be close to the election in 2 weeks that the pattern really changes.
The ground is dry, most grasses have gone dormant, so the danger of wildfires is extremely high. As Wes pointed out earlier, just yesterday there were 39 wildfires in Alabama, and over the past 30 days, there have been 1,072 wildfires. Please, do not do any outdoor burning, don't use fire pits, do not throw cigarettes out the window of your car, and if you grill out make sure the fire is completely out before you leave it. This is a serious situation. Here in Trussville I can smell the smoke from a wildfire this morning.
Dr. Tim Coleman
Good morning friends! I wanted to send out another reminder about playing it extra safe with respect to fires over the next several days. The parched vegetation and drought is making for a very volatile situation in which a simple spark could start a wildfire. This morning the Alabama Forestry Commission was reporting zero active wildfires and ten contained fires. There were 39 wildfires yesterday and over the past 30 days, there have been 1,072 wildfires that have burned 12,795.22 acres! You may notice it feeling a bit more humid when you step outside this morning but the relative humidity levels will tumble throughout the day, making for another extremely dry afternoon. Use ash trays, make sure coals are completely out after grilling, and be careful with any heavy equipment that could cause a spark near vegetation.
ANY RAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE? Unfortunately, I don’t see a drought ending type rain in the forecast. We could see one or two isolated showers on Thursday but the model data is trending drier and drier. The drought will continue to worsen through the weekend and next week. Long range data suggests we may see a few showers return to the forecast around November 3rd. We will keep you posted!
WBRC First Alert Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
The cloud cover we experienced yesterday has pushed into south Alabama this morning. Under mostly clear skies we experienced temps in the low to mid-50s as of the 3am hour.
Today look for a lot more sunshine...highs should be warm again--close to 83...and E winds around 5 mph.
Tonight we expect clear skies...lows near 56...and a SE wind around 5.
Clouds are expected to increase tomorrow out ahead of our next wet weather system. Look for partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies on Wednesday...highs near 80...lows near 60.
Thursday brings that slight potential of wet weather. This looks to be rather moisture lacking, much like last week's system. We are only going with a 30-percent chance of rain on Thursday and our drought emergency is expected to continue.
Dry weather should follow the front into the weekend, with temperatures remaining above normal.
Have a nice Tuesday!
Mickey Ferguson, WBRC First Alert weather
I love flying when the weather is gorgeous. These days when the weather is "clear and a million" - takeoffs and landings are relatively stress-free. But, we all know we have low clouds, rain, and fog either locally or at our destination. This is where an instrument rating comes in. First of all, all airline pilots have instrument ratings and highly capable aircraft that can get you in and out of most anything nature has to offer with just a few exceptions. Of course, nasty weather can slow down entire flying process resulting in delays.
What about people like me who spend a good bit of time flying much smaller aircraft? Believe it or not, we handle reduced visibility and low cloud ceilings the same way the pilots flying the "Big Iron" do it. Let me take you through an ILS or Instrument Landing System approach. This is the most precision of instrument approaches. It's the same system a 777 pilot flying for your favorite airline uses. It's the same system I use in my personal Piper Archer.
If you're aviation enthusiast, you may have noticed some antennas around the airport - especially larger airports. This antenna array located near the threshold of a runway is called a Localizer Antenna.
It transmits a radio signal that keeps the aircraft aligned with the extended centerline of the runway miles away from the airport. There's another antenna that is part of the ILS system called a Glideslope. This vertical antenna is mounted to the side and near the midpoint of the runway.
The glideslope antenna transmits vertical guidance to the airplane and keeps the airplane descending on the proper angle (usually 3 degrees) down about 200ft above the runway threshold. There are specialized ILS approaches that can get you all the way to the runway.
I'll give you an example of when an ILS approach would come in handy. Let's say you're flying above the clouds, but need to get down to the airport and the clouds are very low. Of course, you will not be able to see the airport and it might be a bit before the runway comes into view.
As you descend down toward the airport, the visibility goes away. It's pretty useless as you can see to look out the window. At this point, you are truly depending on instruments to keep the airplane under control. This is the view outside as you drop into the cloud cover.
Once you're established on the ILS approach and doing it right. This is what your instrument will look like in the cockpit. The vertical line is showing your deviation from the centerline of the runway and the horizontal line shows the deviation above or below the glideslope. The idea is to keep both needles centered in the "donut." as you fly the approach. If the needle moves left - you fly left. If the needle moves low - you fly low. You get the idea, right? In many modern aircraft, the autopilot can handle the approach almost all the way down to the runway. The instrument below is showing me lined up and on glideslope with Runway 36L at Huntsville International.
You can watch the approach and landing below. I broke out about 800ft above the ground with the runway in front of me.
Besides the ILS approach, these days the GPS approach is becoming increasing common - especially at smaller airports that do not have ILS facilities. Many GPS approaches now allow you almost the same level of accuracy as the ground-based ILS. So what happens if you don't see the runway and the weather is just too bad? You have several options, you can go missed approach and try again or you can shoot for an alternate airport where the weather is hopefully a bit better.
WBRC First Alert Chief Meteorologist
We begin our morning under variably cloudy skies.
As of the 3am hour our temps were in the 40s to low 50s.
Today we will likely experience a little more cloud cover, with highs topping out in the low 80s for most, instead of the upper 70s like Sunday.
Tonight we should see most of those clouds dissipate or push off to our south.
Under mostly clear skies expect lows tonight near 51 and calm winds.
We have continued dry weather until Wednesday, with mostly clear skies tomorrow and increasing clouds on Wednesday. Highs remain close to 80-degrees through midweek...with lows in the 50s.
A weak frontal boundary is expected to push a slight chance of rain our way by Thursday. Severe weather is not anticipated with this system, and at this point, very little rainfall.
Dry weather follows in the system's wake as we head into another Fall, drought stricken weekend.
Have a nice Monday!
Mickey Ferguson, WBRC First Alert weather
Wow! It actually felt like fall today for a change. After have three days of record-breaking temperatures this past week, we had a few reports of morning lows in the upper 30s. Haleyville dropped to 38 this morning while most areas were in the lower 40s. We will continue to see clear skies during the afternoon and evening. Highs Saturday will reach around 70 degrees with temperatures just a bit warmer during the afternoon Sunday. Dewpoint temperatures are very low contributing to an added fire danger this weekend.
Race fans at Talladega can enjoy some picture-perfect race weather with comfortable temperatures both Saturday and Sunday. At the race Sunday afternoon, temperatures will reach around 77 degrees with mostly sunny skies.
What about rain? We certainly need it badly. This photograph by pilot Charles Welden of Lake Purdy in Shelby County tells the story of just how dire the need for rain is.
I've looked at several long range models and the forecast looks bleak for any rainfall. There is a "hint" of some rainfall in early November, but our reliability that far out is not very good. Even then it looks like most of the rain would remain to our south if that model verified. Later this week, we're expecting highs in the upper 70s to near 80s degrees. This means we're back to above average temperatures through the work week. We can still expect some cool nights overnight lows in the 50s.
The long range forecast keeps our weather abnormally dry with above average temperatures through the Winter months.
The drought is an example of a feedback loop. The dry soil means limited evapotranspiration from the ground and plants. This lack of water vapor means few clouds and few clouds mean no rain. Thus, the drought gets worse!
Have a great evening!
WBRC First Alert Chief Meteorologist
FIRE DANGER CONTINUES: You may have noticed on the Weather app, that a Red Flag Warning is in effect for our area. The increase in the wind, low humidity, and ongoing drought, is causing critical fire weather conditions. Unfortunately, the dry air won the battle last night and it looks like this drought pattern will last through next week. Continue to avoid burning and play it extra safe with the grills this weekend.
THE WEEKEND OUTLOOK: You‘ll want to grab the jacket before heading out to the high school games tonight. The big factor will be the north breeze, making it feel a lot colder. The sky will remain mostly clear, with temperatures tumbling into the low 50s by 9PM. We will start off with cold 40s in the morning, with a few areas to the north waking-up to upper 30s. It’s still going to be a bit breezy, so this will add a chill in the shady spots, for at-least the first half of the day. ALABAMA fans can expect a kick-off temperature near 70°, with upper 60s at AUBURN. You can expect lots of sunshine throughout the day tomorrow. We will have another cold start Sunday morning, with slightly lower temperatures due to the lighter wind. The weather is going to be perfect for TALLADEGA on Sunday, with highs in the mid to upper 70s. I know its feeling cooler but I would still grab the sunscreen for all of the outdoor events this weekend.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT WEEK: The long range data continues to feature a very dry setup. The moisture recovery continues to be the big issue and the dry soil isn’t helping. Another dry cold front will move in on Monday night and we will see a slight wind shift. There will be another cold front that will impact the area next Friday. This system could bring a shower or two, but I see a setup very similar to what happened last night, with limited moisture. We will be checking out some of the new model guidance and passing along updates on rain chances, beginning with the Four!
WBRC First Alert Meteorologist Wes Wyatt
We begin the day with overcast skies and, as of 3am, our temps were in the 50s to 60s.
Today we should see decreasing clouds and very breezy conditions. With highs today near 69-degrees, expect winds out of the north at 10-15 mph.
Tonight should be mostly clear...with lows dropping into the mid-40s...and the winds should subside to 5-10 mph.
Saturday could be our coolest day of the 7-day stretch, with highs near 68-degrees and lots of sunshine.
After Sunday morning's projected temps near 43-degrees, expect temps to warm into the upper 70s by Sunday afternoon.
Temperatures are expected to moderate for much of next week with upper 40s to 50s for morning lows...and upper 70s to low 80s for daytime highs.
Unfortunately our drought conditions continue and there doesn't appear to be much rain in sight, even looking at our long range forecast models.
Regardless I hope you are at least going to be able to enjoy our cooler temperatures for a change.
Have a great weekend!
WBRC First Alert weather
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