Archive for snow

A little rain and snow overnight, with a bigger winter storm possible early next week

Posted in Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by stormstream

The Atlanta metro area will see some rain and wet snowflakes during the early morning hours of Friday, January 21, 2011. There may be a dusting of snow in some areas by sunrise – a rather rude reminder for the folks of Atlanta that winter is far from over. Be careful as you drive to work or school Friday morning as there could be a few icy areas, especially on bridges and overpasses.

A more significant winter storm has its sights set on the Southeast region, including Atlanta for next Monday, January 24 and Tuesday, January 25, 2011. It is still way to early to talk specifics or even show any serious confidence that this storm will happen, but it is definitely on the forecast models in varying degrees of severity, so it needs to be mentioned. As it stands right now for Atlanta, it looks like precipitation could start as snow, then transition quickly to freezing rain, and then possibly to rain as the system moves out. Precipitation totals look to fall within the light to moderate range, but when dealing with freezing rain even light amounts can cause serious travel issues. So, just a heads-up at this point to watch the weather forecast closely for next Monday and Tuesday. I should have a much better handle on the specifics of this system by the weekend, and I will post further thoughts then.

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Major Winter Storm for the Deep South 1/9-1/11/11

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by stormstream

Winter storm warnings and ice storm warnings are up for much Dixie as a major winter storm develops and rolls across the region. Some locations will see more snow than they have seen in decades, while others get more ice than they have witnessed since the big hair days of the 1980s.

I will concentrate mainly on Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina in this blog posting, since this is the region I live in and forecast for.

Basically, we can use I-20/I-85 as the boundary between significant snow and ice, with the I-20 corridor receiving a nasty mixture of both types of deadly winter precipitation. It appears from the latest runs of the HRRR (Rapid Refresh) short-range model and NAM, the heavies snow band with this system is going to streak out across central and northeast Mississippi and into northwest and northern Alabama and into southern middle Tennessee, southeast Tennessee, southwest North Carolina and the upstate of South Carolina. The deformation band where the longest duration of heavy snow will establish itself looks to be across parts of northeast Mississippi and northwest and north-central Alabama into extreme southern middle Tennessee and southeast Tennessee. This region would be one of the jackpot snow regions with more than 10 inches of snow possible. Yet another “jackpot” snow area aided by elevation would be the northeast & north-central Alabama/extreme southern middle Tennessee area, centered on the Lookout mountain area where more that a foot of snow could accumulate on the crest of the ridge. Obviously, a third so-called jackpot snow accumulation region would be the elevation-aided region of the southern Appalachian mountains from extreme north and northeast Georgia northward into southeast Tennessee and southwest North Carolina. This region, especially the TN and NC portion of that region could see over a foot of snow, with some of that accumulation coming on Tuesday and Wednesday with the passage of a clipper and the enhancement from a moist northwest flow in the wake of that system. The remainder of the Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina region to the north of I-20 & 85 will see generally 3 to 8 inches of snow, with the lesser amounts along I-20 and the accumulated snow depth increasing as you head north from I-20 with generally an inch added for every 20 miles north. Hopefully that makes sense. lol Here are some forecast totals for the airports in the region: ATL 4″. BHM: 2″. MCN: 1/2″. HSV: 12″. CHA: 11″. GSP: 8″

Now to probably the most life and property-threatening aspect of this major winter storm, the ice. Areas south of I-20 in Alabama and Georgia will start out as snow, but transition to sleet and then to light, but very steady and long-duration freezing rain and drizzle. This type of light, but steady long-duration freezing rain and drizzle is the very worst type of freezing rain as everything that falls will freeze on exposed objects and not run off. Widespread accumulations of 1/4 of glaze on exposed objects will be common south of I-20 in AL and GA to within 75 miles of the Gulf coast. 1/4 inch of glaze is the threshold for damaging freezing rain, especially softwood trees such as pines. So, widespread pine tree branches will come down onto power lines, and that will induce power outages. Of more concern is the potential for fairly large areas of .50 inch glaze ice accumulations on exposed objects within that wide .25 inch zone. These areas will see severe ice storm damage with hardwood trees such as oak, hickory and walnuts not only losing large branches, but actually splitting and falling onto home. Many pines will lose branches and bend all the way to the ground. It will be an absolute disaster for the trees of the region, and of course since we love our trees in the South we surround our homes and businesses with them. This means widespread structural damage as well as power outages from fallen branches and trees on utility lines. Here are some forecasts for glaze ice accumulations on exposed objects for the same airports I gave snowfall projections for: ATL: .10 BHM: .20 MCN: .40 (severe ice storm) HSV: .00
CHA: .00 GSP: .05

Folks, this is a system that is going to continue and evolve and change through the day on Sunday, so the forecasts I provided above, while being my best estimate based on current data, could very well change for the better or for the worse as the day goes on. The key is to not concentrate on the minor changes in terms of snowfall and ice accumulation forecasts, but just to understand and take serious the severity of this winter storm. Be weather-aware and take preparations and precautions to protect you and those you know, as well as your property. Be ready and prepared to lose power, especially in the ice storm region, and be prepared for the worst-case-scenario of not having power for several days to even as long as a week or two in very rural areas as utility companies will be stretched thin.

I plan to cover this winter storm in the Atlanta and north and central Georgia region starting this evening and continuing through the day on Monday. I will be broadcasting LIVE at http://stormscapelive.com and also at http://www.chasertv.com. Live streaming should start around 8pm on Sunday, January 9 and continue through the night and into the day on Monday, January 10. However, if conditions on the roads become to severe to safely cover this winter storm I will return home, but continue to stream from my neighborhood. Another great location to view live streams of this winter storm is at the Bama Camera Net on the Alabama Storm Trackers web page. The address is http://alabamastormtrackers.com/alcamnet/.

Good luck and stay safe!

Late Season Winter Storm for Dixie

Posted in Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by stormstream

A late season winter storm is taking aim on parts of the Deep South.

Low pressure will roll eastward out of New Mexico & Texas on Monday tracking across the northern Gulf of Mexico, or just inland along the Gulf Coast states on Monday night and Tuesday. Meanwhile, some upper level energy from the northern branch of the jet stream will phase with this system, and give it a shot in the arm as it impacts areas from Alabama to Georgia and into South and North Carolina.

Temperatures are only going to be marginally supportive of snow, and really this could go either way fro areas of Alabama and Georgia. It’s either going to mostly all rain with maybe a brief changeover to snow for a few hours at the end of the event. Or, it’s going to be rain changing to a wet, heavy snow with large snowflakes falling steadily for at least 6 hours and accumulating to several inches. Unfortunately, we probably won’t know exactly how this is going to hash out until the actual event is unfolding on Monday night and Tuesday.

So, as of this time on the Sunday morning prior to the event I am not willing to put out an official forecast, so here is my unofficial thinking: 2 inches for Atlanta, GA, and 1 inch for Birmingham, AL. Mt. Cheaha, the highest elevation in Alabama could pick up 3 inches, and the east and northeast metro of Atlanta could see 3 inches, with maybe some isolated 4 inch amounts.

I’ll give my official thoughts on this system by 11pm EST on Sunday.

Finally! El Nino is Bringing Extreme Weather to the U.S.

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2010 by stormstream

It’s taken half the winter to get here, but finally the low end strong El Nino weather pattern is bearing some major fruit in the U.S. in the form of extreme weather, and this active pattern looks to continue at least through the month of February, and very likely into the spring as well. Get ready for a continued wild ride on the Extreme Weather Express!

The jet stream is powerful and infused with moisture. This has led to many feet of snow across the mountains of California and the Southwest, and severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the South. Now, we are once again heading into a period where the AO is severely negative, the NAO is negative and PNA is positive. This all equals major DOO DOO for much of the U.S. as we head into late January and through the month of February, but the most extreme weather will likely shift from the western U.S. into the central and eastern U.S. More severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will be possible in the Deep South, with major snow storms north of the heavy rain and severe storms. Also, serious intrusions of bitterly cold arctic air will be dropping into the lower 48 on a regular basis.

Anyone hoping for an early spring with an extended period of sunshine and mild to warm temperatures can kiss those hopes goodbye through at least mid-March, and I don’t care what that glorified rodent The Groundhog says in early February.

Severe Weather across the Tennessee Valley and Southeast on Sunday, with Significant Snow across the Southern Appalachian Mountains from Midday Monday through Late Tuesday Night

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by stormstream

Severe weather will be possible on Sunday across parts of KY, TN, AL, GA, SC and NC.  I will concentrate only on the severe weather prospects across south and central GA and north FL, as that will be the area I will target to storm chase if I should decide to head out.

A cluster of elevated thunderstorms is rolling eastward through south-central AL into central and south-central GA this morning.  The strongest of these storms are on the eastern edge of this cluster, and are producing some hail.  As the day wears on and moisture and instability increase south of the MCS, I would expect some of the storms to become surface-based, especially those along the south edge of the cluster across south GA, and any discrete cells that should form in the increasingly unstable airmass across south GA and north FL.  Helicity values will certainly be high enough to support some rotating updrafts across south GA and north FL this afternoon and evening, and an EHI maximum above 2 exists across southwest GA at 00z off the 06z NAM. This environment could be supportive of a few isolated, brief tornadoes of EF0 and EF1 intensity.

STORM CHAE TARGET:  Georgetown, GA to Albany, GA to Waycross, GA to Brunswick, GA to Jacksonville, FL to Tallahassee, FL to Georgetown, GA.

Then there is the cold and snow aspect of this system, which will be significant across parts o the Southeast.

This is going to be a fairly long duration upslope snow event for the mountains of eastern TN and western NC. The upslope snow machine will kick in around noon on Monday and continue until late Tuesday night. Snow levels start out above 4,500 feet, with snow levels dropping through the day and into Monday night , with snow increasing. By Tuesday morning, snow levels will have reached the valley locations. I think 5 to 10 inches of snow above 4,500 feet looks quite possible by Wednesday morning , with most locations in the 5 to 8 inch range. Between 2,500 feet and 4,500 feet a good 3 to 6 inch snow is likely. Below 2,500 feet across western NC a trace to as much as 3 inches appears likely. The mountains of north GA and the upstate of SC will also get in on some snow action Monday night and Tuesday morning, with elevations above 3,000 feet picking up 1-2 inches, and between 2,000 and 3,000 feet getting a trace to 1 inch. There will also be a slug of 700mb moisture dropping down as far south as I-20/I-85 in GA between about 4am and 9am on Tuesday. This could create flurries in the air as far south as Atlanta! Finally, a hard freeze looks likely along and north of the i-20/I-85 corridor across northern and central AL, GA and SC by Tuesday morning. As has been the case so often in recent years, the peach crop in this region is in jeopardy.

Major Outbreak of Severe Storms and Tornadoes acorss Dixie Friday and Saturday. Blizzard in the Plains.

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2009 by stormstream

The next few days will feature WEATHER GONE MAD!  Dangerous and possibly strong to violent tornadoes whipping across the South, while in the colder air Across the central Plains into the Corn Belt there will be a full-blown blizzard.  There is no sugar coating this – many lives and property will be impacted and put in danger by weather conditions between now and Sunday.  These types of high-impact, dangerous weather events always leave a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I know there could very well be people going about their daily lives today that will no longer be with us in a few days.  Taken tragically and prematurely by an act of nature than cannot be controlled, but while we cannot control the weather we can certainly talk about it in strong, attention-getting ways that will hopefully make people understand the seriousness of the event, and hopefully spur them to take the necessary steps to protect life and property, thus mitigating losses.

All of the ingredients are there for a high-end severe weather event across AR, LA, MS, AL, TN and western GA during the day Friday and through Friday night.  Northern and central LA, southern AR, southwest TN and western MS appear to be at the greatest risk for all modes of severe weather during the daylight hours on Friday.  the risk will exist for strong to violent long-tracked tornadoes, and I am most concerned about the Mississippi Delta region being ground zero for this potentially deadly weather.

Heading into the darkness of Friday night and early Saturday morning, the greatest threat translates eastward across the remainder of MS, all of AL, western GA and much of TN.  The severe thunderstorm and tornado parameters remain strong, and there is a very real threat for strong to violent nighttime tornadoes across a region that is frequented by these in set-ups like this.  Overall the parameters are generally weaker than those forecast for Friday afternoon, and hopefully that will lessen the severity of the nighttime event, but the potential is certainly there for just a horrible night, especially for eastern MS and much of AL.

On Saturday exact timing and location of the surface features becomes a question, and a precise forecast hinges on the location of these features.  In general, it can be said that severe weather and tornado parameters continue to weaken, but are still high enough for a significant event that would include the possibility of tornadoes.  As the surface low lifts northeast, the unstable airmass in the warm sector will surge north and northeast ahead of it.  This means that there threat for significant severe weather will now extend as far north as the eastern sections of the Ohio Valley.  Under the gun for severe weather on Saturday will be the eastern half of GA, northern FL, SC, NC, eastern TN, central and eastern KY, southern and southeast OH, WV and VA.  At this point I cannot be more specific about Saturday, except to say that the severe weather threat remains significant and potentially dangerous.

While all of this is going on in the South and East, a blizzard will be raging across southwest KS, the OK panhandle and northern TX panhandle during the day on Friday.  Thundersnow will also be a possibility with snowfall rates over 3 inches per hour and howling winds.  This will be a very dangerous storm for anyone traveling across this region, and those caught outdoors unprepared for the extreme winter weather conditions.  The heavy snow and blizzard conditions shift into northern OK and central and eastern KS early Saturday morning, then northeast into the Corn Belt region during the day on Saturday.  The danger factor for travelers and those caught outside unprepared remains high through Saturday.

Looking ahead, another major winter-style storm is possible for parts of the central and northern Plains and western Great Lakes early next week.  The middle and end of next week could again feature a multi-faceted severe weather and winter-weather-producing storm for the eastern half of the country.

Severe Storms in Central Georgia Today, and Heavy Snow Possible Sunday. I’ll be Storm Chasing Today and Sunday.

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by stormstream

STORM CHASE STATUS: ACTIVE

TARGET: Central and southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.  Macon, GA to Columbus GA to Troy, AL to Panama City, FL to Valdosta, GA to Macon, GA.

TIME: Depart Atlanta at 11:30am EST.  Arrive in target by 1pm.  Actively storm chasing until approx. 9pm.

LIVE INTERNET BROADCAST: 11:30am – 3pm at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream (live video and audio) 3pm-9pm EST at http://www.severestudios.com/livechase.  Chasing as Mike Phelps.  Live video only.

AVAILABLE FOR LIVE PHONE INTERVIEWS: 2pm – 9pm EST via mobile phone at 404-202-6317.  Leave message on voice mail and I’ll call right back.

DISCUSSION: A warm front stretches west to east across central Georgia this morning.  This front should remain in this general area through the afternoon and will provide a corridor of increased low level helicity that could be a breeding ground for a few tornadoes.  I don’t think we will want to stray too far south of that warm front today.  Dewpoints in the mid 60s have moved into south-central Alabama this morning, and will continue to spread across southeast AL and into portions of southwest GA and the western FL panhandle this afternoon.  All models indicate a broken line of supercells developing along and ahead of an advancing cold front from central GA into south-central AL after about 3pm today.  These storms will have the potential to produce large hail and damaging winds, and in that corridor of higher helicity near the warm front there will be a threat for isolated tornadoes.  There is a CAPE and EHI max that has been showing up now on a few runs of the NAM so I believe what we will do is head southwest from ATL on I-85 and establish a base of storm chase operations in Columbus for a while and then adjust locations from there.

WINTER STORM DISCUSSION: Forecast models remain consistent in showing an upper level low snow event across parts of the Southeast starting later today in the Mid-South and spreading south and eastward across Dixie tonight through Sunday.  This is a very dynamic system with good moisture associated with it, and the potential certainly exists for some heavy snow.  The last couple of runs of the NAM have taken the upper low on more of a southerly route over what it was showing this time yesterday, although the 06z NAM shifted north again.  If this track comes to fruition then a swath of significant snow (3+ inches)  will extend from Memphis, TN to Birmingham, AL Atlanta, GA to Greenville, SC and northeast from there.  It is very difficult to pin down the exact location of the heavy snow in these upper level low snow events this time of year, so who is to say that the area I outlined above will ultimately verify, but we are gaining more and more of a consensus among the models that this track of significant snow is becoming more likely.  In my opinion, there is still the potential for this system to produce some “jackpot snows” on the order of 5 to 10 inches, but it remains impossible to pin down the location for that.  I want to strongly caution that certainly nothing is set in stone with this system as of yet.  There is still a rather sizeable potential that it will end up being far less of a big deal than a lot are anticipating.  Keep in mind that snow outside of the state of North Carolina and the mountains of Tennessee, has been basically non-existent this winter.  La Nina winters simply do not breed big snows outside of those areas.  Also, the forecast models have been less than stellar in their performance this winter.  Honestly, we are not going to feel real confident about any snow forecast with this thing until it is actually happening.  So, watch the system closely, but don’t be quick to jump onto any snow or non-snow bandwagons until the wagon is actually passing through your area.

If this system produces significant snow near Atlanta, GA on Sunday then I will be broadcasting it live on the internet.  I’ll have details about this live broadcast in my Sunday morning blog.