Nick Hellums and crew are moving up I-35 this hour and will try to get toward western Kansas as quickly as possible for the impending threat of a few supercell thunderstorms this afternoon. Nick is streaming and will be streaming all day at the link that we provide you below or you can just clikc Mid-South Storm Chasers at the top of the page.
Mid-South Storm Chasers LIVE Chase and Chat
Above is my personal greatest area of concern with the afternoon. The dryline will bulge eastward and a developing surface low will back wind fields across the area. This triple point axis should set the stage for the cap to weaken as large scale ascent moves into Central Colorado. Thus, supercells should fire by late afternoon with the threat of maturity and potential for tornadoes between Hugo and Holyoke, Colorado. This will transition east throughout the evening. The greats threat will likely be in the Goodland forecast area as our hatched location shows.
Tomorrow will be another good chase day. We will try to get a blurb out about that risk and hope to have footage and photos from Nick and crew later this evening. Stay tuned…
Here is the current surface setup this morning. We currently have a weak area of low pressure centered over Central Texas around the Dallas metro area with a warm front extending across the northern Gulf Coastal plain and Black Belt areas. The movement of this warm front will be vital in just how unstable portions of the deep south get on this afternoon and Saturday when it comes to the potential for severe weather. A rather deep upper trough to the east will keep cool advection coming in pretty strong to the north of the warm front, but a deepening wave to the west should turn winds more southerly and at least get the surface features moving northward somewhat in response. These are all questions that will become resolved in the next 24 hours.
The day 2 convective outlook from the SPC highlights a good chunk of Alabama in a SLGT risk (standard risk) of severe storms for Saturday afternoon and into the overnight.
A 30% risk area has been defined from areas encircled from a Monroe, LA – Dothan, AL – Tuscaloosa, AL – Jackson, MS region. This area is expected to see the most unstable air mass during this period and will likely be in the uncontaminated warm sector for a decent period of time. Thus, diabatic heating could allow temperatures to soar into the mid 70’s to lower 80’s. This will need to be monitored for a possible upgrade to moderate risk if these factors do indeed come together.
At this time, we look for scattered cellular development to take place across Mississippi and Alabama tomorrow afternoon with the threat of hail, high winds, and a tornado or two. The hail threat could be rather significant. Then, the instability axis is forecast to spread northward toward the Tennessee Valley ahead of the cold front and allow for a strengthening line of severe storms to push through much of Central Alabama. We will continue to keep you alert of changes with the situation through early tomorrow. Stay tuned as we will likely have teams in the field for this potential high impact weather event.
This evening we have a bit of an interesting weather situation developing. As you can see on the radar imagery listed above, the surface temperatures are running fairly warm across most of the area. However, just above the surface…the radar indicates the melting layer to be around 1200’. Therefore, our own Eric Parker is going to go atop Alabama’s highest point at Mount Cheaha to see if the precipitation is in the form of rain or the frozen variety. We did get reports recently of snow in the Gadsden area on I-59 in the last few minutes.
If you are in the area, join in on the mPING project. This is a precipitation project model that is being followed by the NSSL, NWS, and meteorologists across the country. You can see the data here and you can download the program to send out your own data in the android market or on i-tunes depending on your platform.
This should be primarily a rain event for much of Alabama…and we expect more in the way of rain on your Friday. Maybe some severe weather on tap for Saturday. We will discuss that in just a bit.
Skies are clearing out across much of the southeast as the air sinks with the upper trough that has ejected out. Some cloud cover and flurries are still noted over portions of central and south Georgia this morning. Sleet and Flurries have been reported as far south as Tampa, Florida so far today. That is pretty amazing. More unsettled weather will affect the region by mid week. We will get into that later.
Light snow in Childersburg, AL on Saturday 3/2/12
Periods of light snow fell through the day across much of Central Alabama and we had a chance to take a little bit of video on yesterday. This was a major difference compared to this time last year when much of the eastern half of the country was dealing with a massive tornado outbreak. Huntsville dealt with two strong tornadoes last year on the very day.