Category Archives: weather

This year, Birmingham Bill says “check out ‘ Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast”

Birmingham_BillThis year Punxsutawney Phil‘s prognostication will be the only one that matters to most Birminghaminans. The Birmingham Zoo announced via their website that Birmingham Bill will be taking the year off, encouraging those interested in getting a prediction on Groundhog Day to turn their eyes to Pennsylvania.

The zoo has hosted a local version of the long-standing tradition since 1990, with it’s digital announcement marking the end of a nearly ten-year old practice of using stand-ins for the original Bill. He passed away in 1996 at age 10 — just eleven days after delivering his final forecast (for those wondering, he didn’t see his shadow that year).

By the way, Phil did indeed see his shadow this morning, meaning there’s at least six more weeks of winter weather in store for us (even though the weather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this morning was light drizzle with clouds as a winter storm warning remains in effect for the area, but hey…).

We are still waiting to hear from Smith Lake Jake, though he told the folks at Alabama Power’s News Center last week (through his translator) he thought we would see an early spring.

Photo: Birmingham Bill, via Bhamwiki/Birmingham Zoo

The Blizzard: Nineteen years later

If you lived in central Alabama in 1993, you more than likely know where you were during “the blizzard.” If you weren’t living here then and think they’re exaggerating when they talk about how crazy it was – they aren’t.

The idea of enjoying potentially record-breaking warmth nineteen years after experiencing the largest single snowfall in Birmingham’s history – 13″ in the city, about 2′ to the south of town – seems a bit surreal right about now.

We’re not really sure how crazy it actually was though, especially considering the fact that James Spann was still wearing his jacket in this classic video (though it is gone by the 4th segment – no suspenders though).

WBHM also has a retrospective on the storm available to read (& listen to), including an account of the now legendary performance by Garrison Keillor at the Alabama Theatre in front of a crowd of 500.

You can really get a sense of just how intense the storm was when you look at its impact along the entire eastern seaboard.

Saf-T-Net premium service now free for Alabama residents

AlaSAF-T-NetLogo_150x150_WebThis afternoon, Governor Bentley announced that Baron Services of Huntsville will provide its premium SAF-T-Net® service at no cost to all Alabama residents.

The premium version of the service normally offered by the company costs $3.99 per month or $45 for the year and provides National Weather Service polygon based tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flash flood warnings for up to four user-defined locations (including your smartphone) via phone, email, or text messaging. While a free version of the service is available, it only allows you to receive those warnings for one location and the types of warnings available are limited.

The service also provides updates from area media partners as they are available.

Currently residents are being encouraged to sign up for the service via any of the media partners in the state, including locally (all links to sign-up pages):

The Birmingham News/
CBS 42
Fox 6

They may also visit and sign up directly with Baron Services. The company has provided an infographic via PDF explaining just how the service works (or you can watch the video available for viewing on the site’s media page).

It’s Tornado Awareness Day in Alabama

nssl0310. NOAA/FlickrThis morning owners of weather radios may have noticed an alert go out at 9 a.m. It was only a test, but it was an important part of the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The 10 a.m. tornado siren will go off. The 9:30 a.m. siren you may have noticed was part of a statewide tornado drill.

The folks at The Weather Channel provide some staggering stats about our 2011 tornado totals, including those associated with the devastation suffered in the region on April 27. They also provide some information about creating a safety plan. There are already predictions for an above average season this year as well.

If you still don’t possess a weather radio, we’re pretty sure you’ve got an opportunity to get one coming your way soon (like maybe even a chance tonight in Pelham).

There will be another opportunity to focus on preparedness next month – according to the National Weather Service, Alabama is observing Flood Awareness Week March 12 – 16.

Photo: nssl0310. Dr. Mike Coniglio, VORTEX II, NOAA/Flickr

It’s a little hot in the Magic City this week

Crestwood Park - Pool. Dystopos/FlickrDaytime highs in metro Birmingham will hover in the upper 90s (with heat indices near 100°) for most of the week. The first significant chance for rain currently looks like it won’t arrive until next Sunday.

Luckily there are some options for relief in the city, including possibly cooling off at one of the city’s seventeen swimming pools. Luckily for the folks in Crestwood, theirs is among the ones open on Tuesday.

We’d offer some additional suggestions (as former Timetable contributor Charles Buchanan did back in 2008) but it probably makes more sense to find out what you’re planning to do by having you answer today’s Magic City Question.

Then again, we could always look to our sister city across the pond and see what they’re telling their residents to do (they’ve even got a video cued up about summer safety)…

Photo: Crestwood Park – Pool. Dystopos/Flickr.

#ALsnOMG11: The next day

A better perspective - #ALsnOMG11. acnatta/FlickrWe figured we’d share the view from just outside our window this morning. It may look beautiful, but it’s not something you’ll want to venture out in this morning if you don’t have to.

We’re currently hearing multiple reports of dangerous and impassible roads, layers of snow and ice blanketing the streets of metro Birmingham, AL and most area businesses (and government offices) are closed. While it’ll probably be nice to take a couple of pictures from right outside your door (we’ve set up a page with all of the ways you may do so & we’ll share any that come in), we’re hoping that folks for the most part stay inside today.

Photo: A better perspective – #ALsnOMG11. acnatta/Flickr.

Check on your pipes!

Frozen Pipe. Sterlic/FlickrWith temperatures slated to drop down to the low 20s this evening (with some areas dropping into the upper teens), now may be a good time to check on your pipes before heading off to bed (or doing more work and forgetting to do it).

Incidentally, metro Birmingham area is under a hard freeze warning until 8 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) morning; we’ll also be under a fire weather advisory from 12 – 8 p.m.

There’s a never ending supply of tips available for review to help prepare the house for the overnight hard freeze. Here are some tips to prevent frozen pipes from State Farm’s website; here’s another list courtesy of eHow.

If you don’t stumble across this until Tuesday morning and you’ve realized that your pipes are frozen, you may want to check out these tips on how to thaw them out.

Photo: Frozen Pipe. Sterlic/Flickr