Thanksgiving Travel Weather

26 11 2013

Tricky traveling this Thanksgiving with the storm that’s in the area.  Right now there is no problem as the air is warm enough all across the viewing area so rain is the only thing falling from the sky for the rest of today.  Traveling should be no issues on I-65, I-10, I-85, and all other highways and roadways.  Temperatures will drop all day after reaching the high early this morning.  By tonight, temperatures will continue to drop to the mid-30’s for the southern half of Central Alabama and lower 30’s for the northern half of Alabama.  This is where the fine line of some rain/snow mix can bee seen early Wed. morning in the Montgomery area and even our northern viewing counties of Coosa, Chilton, Tallapoosa, and Chambers which has a better chance of seeing a little bit more snow than areas along I-85.  Our Georgia viewers are not out of the rain/snow threat either as the Columbus area could see some of the mix as well.  Further south of Montgomery and I-85 will not see any frozen precipitation of any sorts and will continue to see rain, a cold rain at that.  Even with the rain/snow mix there should not be any issues as the ground will be too warm for any snow to accumulate even in Birmingham which has an even better chance of seeing snow than any of our viewing areas.

GFS Thanksgiving Snow 2013NAM Snow Thanksgiving 2013

Once when the remaining moisture comes through and drops the rain in southern Alabama and the rain/snow mix for Central Alabama things should clear out for the rest of Wed. and when that happens is when the real cold temperatures set into play.


Thursday morning will the be some of the coldest air have seen since the first few months of this year.  We will be seeing lows to in the low 20’s for most of Central Alabama with a few inner city locations of Montgomery and Columbus being a little closer to mid 20’s.  The cold air doesn’t stop there.  Even down to Mobile the lows will be down in the mid 20’s and even along the coast will be in the upper 20’s.  Needless to say, our entire viewing area will be below freezing Thursday morning.  This poses as another threat as a hard freeze will take place which means any plants will be bitten by the bitter cold air, even hardy plants are at risk.


With this coming along you should bring all plants and animals inside.  Also, to keep from your pipes freezing leave some water trickling from your faucets.  The last thing we all need is no water on Thanksgiving Day due to frozen pipes.


Ready for some good news?  After the extremely cold temperatures on Thursday morning the rest of Thanksgiving will be spectacular even though it will be cool.  From Thanksgiving Day to the weekend you couldn’t ask for a better weekend unless warmer temperatures would make it better which will come for the weekend.  No winter type weather or rain will be expected to be seen from Thursday on through Sunday and hardly any clouds will be seen until maybe Sunday.

We wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  Just to sum up everything from earlier, be cautious if you are traveling today as it will be raining a lot and it can reduce your visibility.  Also, hydroplaning will be a big risk with all of the sitting water.  Wednesday, cautious traveling if you are driving in the very early hours when the rain/snow mix is likely to fall.  The time frame for the rain/snow mix will be between 12 AM to 7 AM Wed. morning.  As mentioned before the ground and roads should be warm enough for no accumulation whatsoever and should just wind up being water on the roads instead of ice.  After Wed. morning traveling should be safe and sound for the entire Southeast region for the rest of the week.

-StormTEAM4 / Gamma 9 Weather Senior Meteorologist Michael Vasquez

Super Typhoon Haiyan, Uncertain Pressure

17 11 2013

On November 7 an extremely powerful typhoon hit The Philippine Islands and caused a massive amount of destruction and chaos.  As of right now, Nov. 17, 3,714 people have been confirmed to have perished with the damage toll over $1 billion.  One of the most memorable images that has been seen across the web is this one:

A classic buzz saw image of an extremely intense tropical system.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is in the Pacific Ocean which is a much larger body of water and less land interaction for the storms to hit so it is fairly common for them to get very powerful.  There was a brief time where someone superimposed an image of Super Typhoon Haiyan onto a small map of the United States making it as big as the U.S.  This is false.  No tropical system could be that big.  However, it has been compared to a notorious storm that everyone in the Southeast Region of the U.S. are very familiar with.

It is clear to see that Hurricane Katrina had a larger eye than Super Typhoon Haiyan, but Haiyan is much broader than Katrina.  This image shows that Haiyan is no where near as big as the U.S., but if it made landfall on us it would have been horrendous.

To compare Haiyan to one of our hurricanes it had max 10 minute winds of 145 MPH which is comparable to Hurricane Earl or Hurricane Ike.  The strongest 1 minute winds estimated from Haiyan was 195 MPH.  The most notable hurricane in our neck of the woods to have winds close to that was Hurricane Camille at 190 MPH.  Those of you who lived through Camille can imagine what it was like to deal with what the people of the Philippines had to deal with.

The amazing thing about the storm is the lowest pressure the storm ever got to.  Satellites estimated that the lowest pressure that Haiyan reached was 895 millibars.  That is not the lowest pressure ever recorded from a tropical system since we know that Hurricane Wilma is the lowest pressure recorded in our tropical region of 882 millibars.  There are some discrepancies with Super Typhoon Haiyan’s low pressure.  For one, it’s estimated by a satellite to be 895 millibars.  Satellites are good, but not precise in their use.  The other is measurements that were taken on The Philippine Islands as Haiyan was making landfall.  A group of storm chasers called iCyclone took some measurements while they were in Tacloban and the lowest pressure they measured was 960.3 millibars.  The Tacloban airport, just one mile south of the storm chasers location, measured 955.6 millibars before power went out.  Both the measurements were taken almost at the same time with only a 5 minute difference and were taken as the center of Haiyan was just passing south of them which means it was the lowest pressure each measured.  By performing some simple math, between those two measurements is a 4.7 millibar difference in just 1 mile.  The airport was just 17 miles north of the center of the storm.  If the change in pressure was 4.5 millibars to 5 millibars per mile like what was measured from the iCyclone crew and the airport, that means the lowest pressure of Haiyan would range somewhere between 879 millibars and 871 millibars.  This would put Haiyan in the top 5 most intense tropical cyclones in the world.  This pressure estimate makes sense because the other typhoons within the range what Haiyan could be had max 1 minutes winds ranging from 190 MPH to 200 MPH.  The most intense storm in the Pacific Ocean is Super Typhoon Tip which had a minimum pressure of 870 millibars.

Other than the unknown official minimum pressure of Haiayn, the next unknown bout Haiyan is whether or not it’s the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history.  It is currently the second deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippines on record.  The deadliest was Tropical Storm Thelma, or Tropical Storm Uring in the Philippines, which killed somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 poeple.