Tag: Weather

Cold front to arrive in Alabama on Monday

Scott YoungNews Editor

To those who dread the long and hot Alabama summers, relief may be on the way next week.

“If you’re tired of these hot temperatures, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel,” said the National Weather Service in Birmingham on Facebook. “Not a sure thing, but computer models starting to hint of a possible wx pattern change by week’s end.”

The National Weather Service said earlier this week that their computer models are indicating a cold front is set to pass through Alabama on Monday of next week, bringing with it much cooler air and a chance of showers.

“Cranky? Tired of the heat? Your time is coming; afternoon temperatures will be 20 degrees cooler next week,” said James Spann, an ABC 33/40 meterologist familiar to many Alabamians.

However, the high in Jacksonville is expected to remain in the upper 90’s for the remainder of the week, with temperatures dipping down in the 80’s over the weekend.

After the cold front passes, highs in Jacksonville next week are expected to be in the upper 70’s and low 80’s.

The cold front follows a week of record highs in the upper 90’s across the state of Alabama. Anniston reached a record high of 98 degrees on Monday, with the prior record being 94 degrees set in 1904.

NWS Storm Spotter Course held in Jacksonville

Gerald Satterwhite, a meteorologist of the NWS, discusses RADAR during the free storm spotter course in Jacksonville on Thursday. (Scott Young, The Chanticleer)

Scott Young, Staff Reporter

The National Weather Service (NWS) Birmingham visited Jacksonville Thursday evening to hold a free storm spotter training course which was open to the public. The event was designed to teach attendees how to become storm spotters, who, according to the National Weather Service’s website, “play a critical role of giving the NWS vital ground truth data, which helps the NWS perform its primary mission, to save lives and property.”

“When we talk about investing our time and effort to give a class, where better to do that than a community that’s been affected by a significant tornado,” said John Block of the NWS. “This is about you getting information and understanding the principles of storm spotting.”

During the spotter course, Gerald Satterwhite, a meteorologist of the NWS, overviewed topics such as identifying types of clouds and tornadoes, development and structure of thunderstorms, and how to safely report this information to the NWS. With a little over six months since tornadoes pillaged the homes of many living in Jacksonville, weather awareness has become a higher concern, especially among those directly affected.

“The severe weather event was forecast a couple days ahead of time, so there was an awareness that something could happen,” said Satterwhite, in reference to the March 19 Jacksonville tornadoes. “It was a moderate risk day, so there was a lot of attention because moderate risks are pretty rare.”

To report any severe weather such as tornadic activity, hail or flooding, you can send a report via Twitter to @NWSBirmingham or make an online report. Before making any reports, be sure to become aware of the basics of storm spotting, which can be found at www.weather.gov/bmx/spottertraining.

‘Respect the Polygon’: James Spann talks March 19, weather safety

James Spann poses with Cocky before his presentation at the Leone Cole Auditorium on the campus of Jacksonville State University (Hollie Ivey, The Chanticleer)

Daniel Mayes, Editor-in-Chief

“All it takes is one. [Jacksonville’s] April 27 is March 19”

Just four months after tornadoes ravaged the campus of Jacksonville State and the surrounding community, Alabama’s most famous TV meteorologist visited JSU to discuss his career, the March 19 Tornadoes and weather safety in today’s age.

James Spann, who began his television career in 1978 and moved to his current home, ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, in 1996, talked to a large crowd of JSU students, faculty and members of the Jacksonville community in Jacksonville State’s Leone Cole Auditorium Friday morning.

Spann says, that, while the March 19 storms unleashed carnage on the town, there is one very important silver lining.

“This is the one thing we can celebrate: I’m not showing you any faces. Nobody died that day,” Spann said. “Some of the things we learned in 2011 are starting to pay off.”

Spann refers to the April 27, 2011 Super Outbreak in Alabama, in which 62 tornadoes touched the ground and 252 people died.

Spann says that, although that day more than seven years ago was a terrible tragedy, it showed him a lot about how to reach people in times of crisis and taught citizens, including those in Jacksonville, to take severe weather coverage seriously.

“The people heard the warning, responded, and knew what to do,” Spann said of the Jacksonville community on the evening of March 19. “That is the way it should work. We should celebrate that.”

Spann says that days like April 27 and March 19 are why he does his job. “Your cumulative knowledge and experience will bring you to one or two days when all of it is needed.”

Spann also gave some tips for how to stay weather aware and safe, including avoiding relying on sirens, keeping a weather radio in your house, and downloading weather warning apps on your phone.