WELCOME TO DECEMBER: Today marks the beginning of meteorological winter, which runs through Feb. 28. The firm dates of meteorological seasons allow us to better observe data and make year-to-year comparisons, since they’re based on the annual temperature cycle, rather than the exact timing of the Earth’s orbit. In terms of astronomy, winter begins at the solstice on Dec. 21 at 9:59 a.m., the day with the shortest amount of daylight.
But it won’t feel like winter around here for a while as a mild pattern will continue through the weekend. Dry weather will continue through Friday with sunny days and fair nights; the high will be close to 70 today and between 72 and 75 degrees Thursday and Friday. The average high for Dec. 1 in Birmingham is 60.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday will be partly sunny with a high in the low 70s. The day Sunday looks dry as well; with a mix of sun and clouds we project a high between 70 and 73 degrees. Clouds will increase late in the day, and rain moves into the state late Sunday night (mostly after midnight) ahead of an approaching cold front.
NEXT WEEK: Rain is likely Monday morning; it will end from the northwest during the afternoon. The day will be cooler, with a high close to 60 degrees. The front will become nearly stationary over south Alabama Monday night as it becomes parallel to the upper-air winds (a southwest flow aloft), and that will keep the weather unsettled through the middle of next week, with some risk of rain at times Tuesday through Thursday. Drier air returns by the end of the week.
FIREBALL: At 9:18 last night numerous eyewitnesses in the Southeast, including Alabama, reported seeing a very bright fireball. It was detected by all five NASA meteor cameras in the region; an analysis of the video shows that the object – a piece of a comet about a foot in diameter and weighing approximately 60 pounds – began to ablate 55 miles above some fields south of Hillsboro in middle Tennessee. Moving southwest at 62,600 mph, the meteor managed to travel only 27 miles through the atmosphere before disintegrating 22 miles above Tims Ford State Park. At its peak, the fireball was brighter than the full Moon, explaining why it was seen in several states. Thanks to Bill Cooke with NASA in Huntsville for the quick analysis.
FOOTBALL WEATHER: Saturday’s SEC Championship game between Alabama and Georgia will be played in Mercedes Stadium in Atlanta (3 p.m. CT kickoff). The day will be dry and mild; with a partly sunny sky temperatures will reach 70 degrees by mid-afternoon.
ON THIS DATE IN 2018: Two weak EF-0 tornadoes touched down in central Alabama — one in Perry County south of Marion, and the other at Billingsley in Autauga County.
ON THIS DATE IN 2006: A winter storm produced more than 6 inches of snow along a 1,000-mile-long path from central Oklahoma to northern Michigan from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. The storm also produced significant freezing rain in the St. Louis area, where an estimated 500 or more homes and businesses were without power after this storm.
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