Archive for South

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.

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An Wild Weather Weekend for the Southeast with Severe Weather and Significant Snow Likely!

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by stormstream

All systems are still go for severe thunderstorms, then snow across parts of the Southeast this weekend, and we are now getting into a range where I can throw out some more specific forecasts with some measure of confidence.

First, I’ll discuss the severe weather prospects for Saturday and my plans to chase the storms and do a live internet broadcast of my storm chase.

It is hard at this point to say exactly where the greatest threat for severe storms will be on Saturday.  The models are pretty much showing the area in Georgia and eastern Alabama along and south of I-20 as being in the threat zone.  However, I’m not sure the models are handling the effects of the large convective system over central AL and GA very well.  Surely this will reinforce the boundary farther south than the models indicate.  Right now, I’m thinking along and south of  line from Macon, GA to Troy, AL will be my target for severe weather on Saturday.

Steep lapse rates, rather low freezing levels, and the potential for rotating updrafts will lead to very real possibilities of large hail.  Also, the shear, divergence aloft and strong 250mb winds will lead to the chance for long-tracked supercells with a chance for a few tornadoes.

The plan right now is for me and my chase partner, Greg Zamarripa, to depart Atlanta at 11:30am and head for either Columbus, GA or Macon, GA as a base.  We will then head out in any direction from there to intercept storms.  We hope to be in our target by 2pm EST.  Storm chaser Mark Aubin will be targeting the Florida panhandle for any severe storm activity that erupts farther south.

I will be broadcasting my storm chase live on the internet on Ustream.tv and Severestudios.com.  Between 11:30am and 3pm I will be streaming live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream.  Then, from roughly 3pm EST onward I will be streaming live at http://www.severestudios.com/livechase as Mike Phelps.  On the ustream.tv broadcast the viewer will have the ability to not only view the live video, but also hear audio from within the chase vehicle.  You’ll be able to listen in on critical nowcasting conversations and storm chase strategies, so you’ll actually feel like you are riding along with us on the chase.  There is also a chat feature where you can interact with me via instant message, and I can talk to you live.  The severestudios.com broadcast will not feature audio, but the video could be spectacular at times since we will be streaming at that location during the height of the storm chase.  I will be available to the media for live phone interviews any time at 404-202-6317.

Now onto the snow prospects for Sunday.

This looks to be a classic late winter/early spring upper level snow events for parts of the Southeast.  The upper low drops in from the northwest bringing with it a supply of moisture, cold air and strong dymamics.  These events are notoriously difficult to forecast and the area of heavy snow that falls will be dictated very much by the exact path the upper level low takes.  Right now, I’d say a general trace to 3 inch snowfall looks like a good bet across TN, northern and central AL and GA, much of SC and much of NC.  1 to 3 inches for Memphis, Birmingham, Huntsville and Chattanooga.  1-2 inches for the west Atlanta metro area, and 2 to 4 inches for the east and northeast ATL metro.  3 to 6 inches for Athens, GA.  4 to 7 inches for Greenville, SC.  I won’t venture to throw out a snowfall forecast for Columbia, Charlotte or Raleigh just yet, but they could also make out very well.  I also believe someone in the Southeast is going to see some “jackpot snow”of a foot or more, but it is impossible to pin down who that will be at this juncture.  I hope it is my backyard!  🙂  Now having said all that, I do need to caution that the bust potential with upper level snow systems in the Southeast is very high.  Honestly, we are not going to have a fully confident handle on this thing until it is happening.  The cities I listed above could just as easily end up seeing a lot less, or a lot more.  Definitely a system to monitor closely as there are sure to be several changes in the forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours.

I will also be streaming live video of the snow storm, and I will have more details on that in my blog entry Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Two Major Storm Systems Could Significantly Impact the United States Next Week

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by stormstream

First off, thank you to everyone who watched my live internet broadcast yesterday of the major winter storm in the mountains of eastern TN and western NC.  It was quite an experience and it was fun having all of you along for the ride.  I will definitely be doing more of these kinds of broadcasts, and I will always mention it in my blog when I do, so keep reading!

The models have been very consistent in advertising two major storms for the United States next week.  The first rolls out of the Southwest this weekend, and impacts Kansas, Oklahoma, western Missouri and north Texas with potential severe thunderstorms late Sunday afternoon into Monday morning.   It is still a bit too early to talk specifics, but this is a substantial severe weather threat, and I will be watching it very closely and posting my latest thoughts on it as the week progresses.

This particular system could continue to produce severe weather across the Missouri and mid and lower Mississippi Valley on Monday, but the severe threat looks to lessen significantly as most of the energy lifts off to the Northeast on Tuesday.  So, at this point it appears the severe threat is rather small for much of the Southeast withthis first system.

The second system heads out of the West again, but this one gets its act together a little later, coming together over the KS/MO region early Wednesday.  This system could produce some significant snow in its back side, and a significant severe weather episode in its warm sector all the way from the MO and OH Valley southward into the MS Valley and Southeast progressing from west to east on Wednesday and Thursday.  This system, if it is accurately depicted by the models, would produce a large area of strong to potentially severe storms.  Definitely a system to watch!

Major Winter storm WILL Impact Parts of the Southeast Next Monday and Tuesday

Posted in Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by stormstream

I normally do not make such a declarative statement so many days in advance of a weather system, but based on my thoughts on how the weather pattern would evolve all month, and based on overwhelming model support, I feel 100% confident in saying a high-impact winter storm will affect parts of the southeast on Monday, February 2 and Tuesday, February 3, with the worst of the storm happening in the noon Monday to 6am Tuesday time frame based on current models.

Of course nothing is set in stone with this system, and much can change between now and Monday.  The most likely things to change would be the strength and track of the surface low pressure system.  These changes, even if slight, can and will translate into major changes in the forecast since the synoptic heavy snows associated with the low pressure system are likely to be confined to a rather narrow corridor.  So, pinning down exactly where the heavy snow will set up this early in the game simply cannot be done with any kind of accuracy.  Sure, someone could throw a forecast out there, and they could very well get lucky and have it verify, but it would truly be a case of “skilled luck” as I call it.

In general terms, the areas that are most likely to see snow Monday would be northern MS, western and middle TN, northern AL and northwest GA.  On Monday night and Tuesday morning the snow would affect the remainder of north GA, the upstate of SC, eastern TN and western and central NC.  The central and northern mountains of TN and NC look particularly interesting as they could see a burst of heavy synoptic snow early Tuesday morning, then a prolonged northwest flow upslope event that lasts from Tuesday morning to Thursday morning that will add to their snow depth.  The ski resorts will be loving it by next weekend.

Finally, there will likely be a severe thunderstorm component to this system.  A severe squall line with damaging winds being the main threat could sweep across southeast AL, southern GA and much of FL Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.  Depending on the track of the surface low, central and eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina could get in on some severe storm activity as well.

Many more finer details regarding this storm will come into focus this weekend, so keep checking in for my latest thoughts on this major system.