...Weather and Climate Information for the First Half of 2011 in Central Alabama...
It goes without saying that the first half of 2011 has been one of the most active weather periods central Alabama has seen in quite some time. From multiple snow events to the tornado outbreak of April 27th, even if we don`t experience any tropical disturbances this summer, there will still be a lot to look back on.
Winter 2011 started with a bang on January 9th and 10th when heavy amounts of snow and ice fell across a large portion of the state. northern counties of central Alabama saw anywhere from one to seven inches of snow and trace amounts were seen as far south as Pike and Barbour counties. February 9th brought more snow as upwards of 5 inches fell in Lamar, Fayette and Marion counties. Again, most everyone saw at least a trace.
Spring severe weather season was not too far behind the last snow of the year as the first tornado of 2011 was recorded in Hackleburg in Marion County on February 24th. Yes, Hackleburg has seen two tornadoes already this year, as well as a straight line wind event on April 20th when multiple bow echoes raced through the state. Here is a short summary of each severe weather event so far this year:
February 24th...an EF-0 struck Hackleburg destroying chicken barns and outbuildings just northwest of town as a line of thunderstorms moved through the state.
February 28th...3 EF-0`s and an EF-1 developed as a broken line of thunderstorms with supercellular structures moved through the area, causing damage from Talladega to Lowndes County.
March 5th and 6th...an intense low pressure system over the northern half of the country brought heavy rainfall totals to central Alabama. Upwards of 5 to 6 inches fell in our southwest counties.
March 8th and 9th...widespread flash flooding and river flooding occurred when a line of thunderstorms moved through the area. 6 inches fell in western counties and widespread straight line wind damage across southern counties.
March 26th through 28th...hail producing supercell thunderstorms moved through the area all 3 days. 3.5 inch hail stones fell in Tallapoosa county, as well as an EF-1 tornado in southern Shelby County.
April 4th...a squall line moved through the area causing heavy rain and widespread straight line wind damage across all of central Alabama.
April 11th...a line of thunderstorms caused widespread straight line wind damage from Pickens to Jefferson County, including one EF-1 tornado in Jefferson County.
April 15th...30 tornadoes touched down as supercells raced across central Alabama. Many were only of the EF-0 and EF-1 variety, but 3 EF-3`s developed and 4 fatalities were recorded on this day.
April 20th...two separate bow echoes moved across the area causing widespread wind damage across our western counties.
April 27th...the largest outbreak of tornadoes since 1974 struck central Alabama. From the intense line in the morning hours that dropped 11 tornadoes including 2 EF-3`s, to the afternoon and evening supercells which dropped another 19 tornadoes, including 4 EF-4`s and an EF-5, 133 people lost their lives in central Alabama on this day.
The weather quickly quieted down for the month of May as high pressure dominated the weather pattern for both May and June. This led to drier than normal conditions both months and contributed to the eventual outdoor burning ban issued by Governor Bentley on June 7th. With slightly higher rainfall totals in June, most of the area managed to stay below D3 (extreme) drought levels, though through June 28th, slivers of Lee, Russell and Barbour counties fell into D4 (exceptional) drought conditions.
Here are a few tidbits of information from the first half of 2011:
1) Birmingham reached at least 95 degrees for 18 consecutive days...2nd most in history...from May 30th to June 16th.
2) Birmingham has not reached 100 degrees yet...but has reached 99 degrees 4 times already.
3) Birmingham fell to its lowest temperature twice...16 degrees...on January 13th and 14th.
4) Anniston fell below 32 degrees 16 times from January 2nd until 17th...which is the 7th most in history.
5) Anniston`s lowest temperature so far this year is 14 on January 14th.
6) Anniston`s warmest temperatures so far this year is 99 on June 1st.
7) Anniston reached at least 95 degrees for 12 consecutive days...4th most in history...from May 30th until June 10th.
8) Montgomery`s lowest temperature so far this year is 15 on January 14th.
9) Montgomery`s warmest temperature of the year has been 100 degrees on June 1st...but has reached 99 degrees 8 times already.
10) Tuscaloosa fell below 32 degrees for 10 consecutive days...16th most in history...from February 5th until 14th.
11) Tuscaloosa has climbed above 100 degrees 5 times already this year.
12) Tuscaloosa fell to its coldest temperature of the year...17 degrees...on January 13th and 14th.
13) The Hackleburg EF-5 tornado and Tuscaloosa-Birmingham EF-4 tornado rank as the 6th and 7th deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.
14) National Weather Service weather forecast offices averaged 24 minutes of lead time on April 27th.
15) April 27th and 15th rank 1 and 2 in the number of single event tornadoes in central Alabama history.
16) Birmingham recorded its 5th driest may in history with only 1.06 inches of rain.
17) Tuscaloosa recorded its 4th driest may in history with only 1.09 inches of rain.
18) Anniston record its 3rd driest may in history with only 0.97 inches of rain.