OUT OF THE DEEP FREEZE: What a difference a day makes! Take a look at the warming that went on overnight from the temperature trace at my weather station in Helena. My low was 15 degrees yesterday morning, but it looks like it will be 39 degrees today. Spectacular!
But drought has also raised its ugly head, as much of Alabama, with the exception of the northwest corner, is in some form of drought.
TODAY AND SUNDAY: Clouds cover much of the Southeast, though parts of Georgia, South Carolina and northeast Florida were clear approaching sunrise. Look for highs today to reach the middle and upper 50s.
An upper closed low over Louisiana this morning will move off the Southeast coast on Sunday, allowing a ridge to pump up over the Southeast ahead of a strong trough and closed low coming out of the Four Corners area. This will allow temperatures to warm even further, with highs Sunday in the middle 60s.
SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK: The Storm Prediction Center outlooks have once again begun to show some marginal risks of severe weather just ahead of a cold front that will be moving through the Southeast primarily on Monday and early Tuesday. The Day 3 chart showed a marginal risk area covering southwest Alabama, where damaging wind is likely to be the primary severe-weather threat as the most unstable air remains offshore.
NEXT WEEK/WEEKEND: On Monday the upper trough approaches the Mississippi River along with a cold front moving through Mississippi Monday morning. This will generate showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms on Monday with that marginal risk for severe storms in southwest Alabama, where CAPE values will reach near 1,000 j/kg. The front should pass through central Alabama in the afternoon Monday, capping our high temperatures in the middle 60s.
The upper air pattern is somewhat nondescript Tuesday through Thursday as a surface high-pressure system moves across the Ohio River Valley, keeping us cool but not especially cold. I would expect to see lows in the 30s and highs in the 50s, numbers pretty close to seasonal averages for this time in January (54/34 for Birmingham).
A small short wave aloft moves across the Southeast late Thursday and into Friday, but moisture is pretty sparse, so I would expect to see some clouds with highs in the 50s. We’ll have to wait on the next upper-air short wave to come our way next Saturday to boost our rain chances for Sunday, Jan. 28, though we are verging into voodoo country. The ridge over the Southeast Friday and Saturday should be enough to push highs next Saturday into the lower 60s.
LONG TERM: Looking into voodoo country, the strong trough carves out another broad trough over the eastern U.S. by Monday, Jan. 29, knocking our temperatures back into chilly values with highs in the middle 40s. But unlike the recent cold that lingered for a good spell, this cold spell should be very short-lived as we come under ridging again by Jan. 31-Feb. 1. The Global Forecast System maintains the ridging pattern into early February, so we should stay relatively warm, with temperatures above seasonal averages.
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Have a great day and Godspeed.
For more weather news and information from James Spann, Brian Peters and other members of the James Spann team, visit AlabamaWx.