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Tennessee Valley Weather Blog

Sunday 02/01/2015
Interpreting Computer Models: Don't buy into the model hype

Computer modeling as come a long way in a short time.  Computer models are more accurate today then they have ever been, but even then there is still uncertainty that comes up from system to system.   You've seen "Snowpocalypse" forecast show up on you're social media and have probably questioned the local weather guy for not mentioning it during the news.  I hope that after reading this you'll understand why.

Take this image for example:

Thursday storm

The above image is one of the best models in the world and you've probably seen or heard it being talked about, the Euro or European.  It shows precipitation and surface pressure for Thursday February 5th at 6am (12Z).  It showing no precipitation really anywhere in the southeast.  Now take a look at the american GFS model for the same time:

Thursday gfs

Say whatttttt!?!?!  How can this be?  They are both forecasting for the same day, the same time, but one is showing precipitation (likely snow or wintry mix) and the other is showing nothing.  Weather models don't always agree, in fact, they almost always show at least some difference.  Different models use different equations, have different resolutions, and have minor differences between them.  These differences can add up in big ways when you start looking 5+ days out.  It's also why sometimes you'll see those "snowmageddon" forecast showing up on social media from time to time.  

So why don't we mention these things when they show up (and trust me they show up about once a week)?  Well part of what we do as meteorologist is to understand how models behave, to watch how they evolve a system, and to see how well they are doing with the weather patterns.  From there, we pick up on the trends in the weather pattern, like the model is forecasting highs about 3-5 degrees lower than what's actually happening.  

Meteorology is a delicate balance between computer models, science, observation, and instincts.  We then take all of that information, determine the most likely outcome, and present it to you.  

Sometimes, on occasion, the models might be doing such a terrible job with handling the current weather pattern (the next 24hrs or so) that we may have to decide to ignore what the models are saying all together and base our forecast off of our observations and instincts.  Observing what's happening in the atmosphere, understanding what it means and how it relates to everything else is crucial in determining what happens next.

So what can we expect from Thursday?  Well with the models in such disagreement, and it being too far out to observe anything, its hard to say with any degree of certainty.  My instincts tell me we will likely see rain changing over to snow by mid morning, maybe even a light dusting.  But we will be watching very closely to see how the models evolve it over time.

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Roller coaster of weather

COLD START TO THE WORK WEEK: Expecting a change over to snow/sleet mix around 3am with falling temperatures. We'll briefly warm up on MOnday before temps fall once again, only topping off around the mid 30's. Monday night the temps are going to start falling again, this time bottoming off around the mid and lower 20's.

WARMING UP MID WEEK: Tuesday afternoon the temps will start warming up, making it to the upper 40's during peak heating. The warming will continue into Wednesday as well making it to the 50's. Late Wednesday, we will start seeing a few isolated showers as a weak disturbance is expected to move through.

ANOTHER CHANCE AT SNOW: Early Thursday morning we'll see that rain changing over to some snow, early indications show we might have a light dusting across the Tennessee Valley, however, models are in disagreement as to whether we'll see any precipitation at all. Temps will start climbing again as we head into the weekend.

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Saturday 01/31/2015
Rainy Sunday, cold start to work week

RAINY SUNDAY:  Some of the wettest weather we've seen in a little while will start working it's way into valley Saturday night into Sunday.  For the most part, the showers will be light in nature with occasional heavy showers.  Rain totals through Sunday should be around a half inch up to an inch.  

SUNDAY NIGHT WINTRY WEATHER:  Late Sunday into Monday morning, we will start to see some of that rain changing over into snow/sleet mix.  We don't expect any accumulations except higher elevations and southern Tennessee.  It will change over to mostly snow early Monday morning before the system exits by mid morning Monday.  

COLD START TO WORK WEEK:  This system will be bringing in some very cold air.  Highs Monday will only make the mid 30's.  Skies will see gradual clearing throughout the day, becoming mostly clear overnight into Tuesday.  This clearing sky will help to make for some colder lows Tuesday morning, dropping down into the mid and lower 20's.

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Friday 01/30/2015
A Cloudy Saturday But Rain For Sunday And Some Snow Sunday Night

SATURDAY: We will start off with some sunshine but it won't last long. You will see a high layer of cloud cover makes skies overcast. Highs will be in the low 50s.

SUNDAY: Rain will move into the Valley during the morning but will be heaviest in the late afternoon/evening. Rain totals will be generally 0.25" to 0.50" with locally higher amounts.


SUNDAY NIGHT: This will bear some watching. Meteorologists use what is called "soundings" or a vertical view of the atmosphere. They are handy in many ways but I'm using them for precipitation type.


For Huntsville it's showing a change from rain to snow but I wouldn't be surprised if we get a brief moment of sleet in the transition. (Time is 12 a.m. Monday)


In Muscle Shoals, the odds improve a little more with seeing sleet before becoming all snow. (Time is 12 a.m. Monday)      


Snow amounts still appear to be minimal but some places in southern Tennessee May see a spotty dusting.


MONDAY: The system will end with some flurries during the morning and mostly cloudy skies.

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Cool Friday, Messy Weather For Super Bowl Sunday
FRIDAY: As a cold front slides over the Midwest this morning, we'll start the day with mostly cloudy skies before higher pressure slides in for this afternoon. We'll go from the mid 30's to the mid 40's for highs today with a decrease in cloud cover. 
THE WEEKEND: If you need to get things done outdoors this weekend, make sure to do it Saturday as a disturbance from the Southwest will be intensifying as it makes its way towards the Tennessee Valley. On Saturday will see an increase in cloud cover with temperatures into the lower 50's. By Sunday morning, we're looking to see a few rain showers moving in for the Valley, becoming more scattered throughout the afternoon and evening hours. As we head into Monday morning, the cold front of this system will drop temperatures and change this rain into flurries across the Valley. I don't expect anything more than a dusting in the higher elevations of Northeast Alabama and Southern Tennessee and a few flurries flying across the rest of the Tennessee Valley. Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday will be into the 50's which will limit flurries from sticking on the ground.
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Thursday 01/29/2015
From 60s to 40s And Some Rain On Sunday

FRIDAY: We won't be feeling the heat anymore with highs only in the 40s. The consolation prize is that we get mostly sunny skies again.


SUNDAY: The rain will push into the Valley during the morning so if your heading to church just keep an umbrella handy. The rest of the afternoon will have scattered showers. Enough to give us about 0.25" to 0.50" of rain.


SUNDAY NIGHT/MONDAY MORNING: It looks like we will see enough moisture at the tail end of this event when the cold air arrives. This should give us a change from rain to maybe a few sleet pellets to snowflakes. Best chances for the changeover will be from I-65 and east.


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THURSDAY: We'll see an increase in cloud cover and a strong flow of southerly winds pushing through the Tennessee Valley during the morning hours on Thursday, that will allow our temperatures to climb fast from lower 40's at 7 A.M. to the upper 50's and possibly 60 degrees by the noon time hour. These strong southerly winds are due in part to a cold front that will scurry in from the Central Plains by mid afternoon, changing our wind direction in from the Northwest with possible gusts reaching 20 to 25 mph. The moisture content associated with this cold front is very little which will only lead to a few spotty showers and a decline in temperatures throughout the afternoon and evening hours. Less than a quarter of an inch of rain is expected to accumulate, so not everyone will see the rain, and we don't expect limiting visibility from the shower activity on your commute back home from work.

FRIDAY: On Friday, with a Northwesterly wind in place, drier and cooler air will begin to move in during the day. This will allow for plenty of sunshine, but temperatures will only reach into the lower 50's at best. 
THE WEEKEND: If you need to get things done outdoors this weekend, make sure to do it Saturday as a disturbance from the Southwest will be intensifying as it makes its way towards the Tennessee Valley. On Saturday will see an increase in cloud cover and by Sunday morning we're looking to see a few showers move into the Valley lasting until Monday morning. This disturbance is throwing us a few curve balls when it comes to forecasting, mainly the track of this system. Right now, this system isn't pulling in a strong enough flow of southerly winds where we do run the chance of see rain throughout Sunday afternoon, then turning into flurries Sunday night into Monday morning. No accumulation is expected at this time.
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Wednesday 01/28/2015
A Warm And Breezy Thursday But Less Rain Now For Sunday

THURSDAY: I think I should just start off and say that it's going to be a nice warm day in the Valley. Highs will be in the upper 50s/low 60s. It will also be breezy with gusts up to 20 mph at times. During the late afternoon a cold front will begin to move through and cause some spotty showers. Amounts will only be measured in hundredths so don't expect much rain.


FRIDAY: High pressure moves to our north and cause some cooler weather. Highs will only be in the mid to upper 40s.


WEEKEND: Saturday will be dry but skies will become overcast with a thick layer of altostratus clouds. Things have also changed to the forecast in regards to rain amounts. We won't see as much rain as thought before. We will a deep layer of dry air that will be tough to overcome initially (Circled in red for the forecast sounding). As well as other features in the atmosphere not lining up to give us more moisture. So chances for Sunday/Sunday night have been lowered but expected scattered showers. 


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Plenty Of Sunshine For Wednesday

Higher pressure will build in over the Tennessee Valley for Wednesday, giving us plenty of sunshine and temperatures will soar into the mid 50's. It's going to be a beautiful day so get out there and enjoy it!

Heading into Thursday, a weak cold front will move through the Valley during the afternoon time. With little moisture associated with this disturbance, at most we'll see a few spotty showers around the Valley. The biggest concern will be gusty winds moving at 15-20 mph with this cold front and a slight drop in temperatures from the upper 50's on Thursday to lower 50's on Friday with clearing skies.

Weekend weather will entail a disturbance moving in from the Southwest. With a southerly wind in place, a good amount of moisture will move in, giving us scattered showers and maybe a couple rumbles of thunder throughout the day Sunday. Possibly one inch of rain accumulation could fall across the Valley. Make plans outdoors for Saturday afternoon if you need to attend to any gardening or yard work.

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Tuesday 01/27/2015
Mild And Dry Before Rain Comes This Weekend

WEDNESDAY: High pressure will move to our northeast and give us plentiful sunshine. Highs will make it into the the low to mid 50s.


THURSDAY: Even with a cold front moving through. It won't stop those temperatures from shooting into the mid to upper 50s across the Valley. There should be a few rain drops falling from the sky but don't expect much.


WEEKEND: Our next rain maker will move in Saturday night and last through Sunday night. Totals as of right now could be over 1" in some places.

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Army Chief of Staff visits Redstone

The Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, just paid a visit to Redstone Arsenal’s Army Materiel Command. General Dennis Via, AMC commanding general, talked to Gen. Odierno about AMC’s global mission and their focus on providing support to the combatant commanders and warfighters, during an "AMC Futures" brief on January 29th.

Here is what will be booming on Redstone Arsenal today

Redstone Arsenal officials say you should expect to hear some loud booming for the next hour or so. The National Center for Explosives Training and Research, part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, will be setting off several homemade explosives starting at approximately 9:15am Friday morning.

Wreck closes part of California Street

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAAY) - The Huntsville Police Department is reporting a wreck in the area of California St. and McClung Ave.