Central Alabama Gradient Winds with Strong Cold Front
January 29th & 30th, 2008

A strong cold front entered northwest sections of Central Alabama during the evening hours on January 29th and exited southeast sections of Central Alabama during the early morning hours on January 30th. As the front moved across the area, the pressure increased some 7 to 10 mb in a 3 hour period behind the front. This pressure change created gradient winds of 35 to 45 mph, with a few gusts over 50 mph. Trees and power lines were blown down in numerous locations. Some of the counties reporting damage included; Lamar, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, Etowah, Tallapoosa, Lowndes, Dallas, Walker, Cherokee, St. Clair and Calhoun. Ahead of the front, high temperatures soared well above normal ranging from the middle 60's to lower 70's. As the front moved through, temperatures dropped some 20 to 25 degrees. Low temperatures ended up ranging from the middle 20's to lower 30's. The strongest winds occurred behind the front after most of the rain had ended. Figure 1 depicts the pressure gradient between high pressure on the left of the image and low presusure along the front. Surface winds blow from high pressure toward low pressure usually near parallel to the lines of equal pressure (isobars). In this case, the winds were were nearly perpendicular to the isobars indicating considerable density differences between the air masses on either side of the front. Figure 2 depicts the magnitude of the 3 hour pressure rises behind the cold front. Click the images for a larger picture.

Gradient Winds Setup
Figure 1 - Pressure Gradient Image
Height Changes
Figure 2 - Pressure Change Image

 

Location Unofficial Maximum Wind Gust
Near Northport 68 mph
Daniel Building in Downtown Birmingham 65 mph
Shades Mountain 63 mph
Cordova 57 mph
Inverness 56 mph
Birmingham International Airport 55 mph
Attalla 55 mph
Helena 53 mph
Alabaster 51 mph
Bear Creek 51 mph
Hamilton 51 mph
Nauvoo 50 mph
Vance 49 mph
Shelby County Airport 48 mph
Troy 47 mph
Springville 45 mph
Maxwell Air Force Base Montgomery 45 mph
Tuscaloosa 44 mph
Southeast Tusclaoosa 43 mph
Jasper 43 mph
Clay 43 mph
Crestline 41 mph
Gadsden 40 mph
Anniston 40 mph
Odenville 37 mph
Haleyville 36 mph
Guin 36 mph
Childersburg 36 mph
Montgomery 35 mph
Alexander City 32 mph

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
1203 AM CST WED JAN 30 2008

..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
            ..REMARKS..

0745 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG VERNON                  33.76N 88.11W
01/29/2008                   LAMAR              AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN IN VERNON AND ACROSS
            THE COUNTY. TREES DOWN ON TWO HOUSES.

0845 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG TUSCALOOSA              33.24N 87.54W
01/29/2008                   TUSCALOOSA         AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            SEVERAL TREES AND NUMEROUS POWER LINES DOWN IN
            TUSCALOOSA...AND NORTHWARD ACROSS THE COUNTY.

0858 PM     NON-TSTM WND GST 4 SSE TUSCALOOSA        33.18N 87.51W
01/29/2008  M43.00 MPH       TUSCALOOSA         AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            43 MPH GUST IN TAYLORVILLE.

0901 PM     NON-TSTM WND GST TUSCALOOSA              33.24N 87.54W
01/29/2008  M39.00 MPH       TUSCALOOSA         AL   ASOS

            GUST TO 39 MPH RECORDED AT THE TUSCALOOSA AIRPORT.

0901 PM     NON-TSTM WND GST NORTHPORT               33.24N 87.59W
01/29/2008  M42.00 MPH       TUSCALOOSA         AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            WIND GUST TO 42 MPH.

0920 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG BIRMINGHAM              33.53N 86.80W
01/29/2008                   JEFFERSON          AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN IN BIRMINGHAM...AND
            ACROSS MUCH OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

0920 PM     NON-TSTM WND GST BIRMINGHAM              33.53N 86.80W
01/29/2008  E55.00 MPH       JEFFERSON          AL   ASOS

            55 MPH GUST RECORDED AT THE BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT

0920 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG 5 SSW LOCUST FORK       33.84N 86.65W
01/29/2008                   BLOUNT             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES DOWN ON RESIDENCE.

0930 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG CHELSEA                 33.33N 86.64W
01/29/2008                   SHELBY             AL   BROADCAST MEDIA

            CAR RAN INTO TREES DOWN ON HIGHWAY 39. POSSIBLE INJURIES.


0935 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG 4 NE BLOUNTSVILLE       34.12N 86.54W
01/29/2008                   BLOUNT             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES DOWN ALONG COUNTY HWY 49 BETWEEN US 231 ANS AL 79.

0935 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG ONEONTA                 33.95N 86.47W
01/29/2008                   BLOUNT             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES DOWN IN ONEONTA.

0940 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG BLOUNTSVILLE            34.08N 86.59W
01/29/2008                   BLOUNT             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES DOWN IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS COUNTYWIDE.

0940 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG 2 NW HUEYTOWN           33.46N 87.02W
01/29/2008                   JEFFERSON          AL   FIRE DEPT/RESCUE

            CONCORD FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORTS TREES BLOCKING CAMP
            OLIVER ROAD.

0940 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG 3 NE HAYDEN             33.93N 86.72W
01/29/2008                   BLOUNT             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES REPORTED DOWN.

0945 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG COLUMBIANA              33.18N 86.60W
01/29/2008                   SHELBY             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS REPORTS OF TREES DOWN AND SCATTERED POWER
            OUTAGES COUNTY WIDE.

0955 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG GADSDEN                 34.01N 86.01W
01/29/2008                   ETOWAH             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS REPORTS OF TREES DOWN AND SCATTERED POWER
            OUTAGES ACROSS THE COUNTY.

0955 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG GADSDEN                 34.01N 86.01W
01/29/2008                   ETOWAH             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES ACROSS THE ROAD ON VALLEY STREET IN DOWNTOWN
            GADSDEN.

1050 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG ALEXANDER CITY          32.93N 85.93W
01/29/2008                   TALLAPOOSA         AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            REPORTS OF TREES DOWN ON 2 HOUSES WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS.


1055 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG WHITE HALL              32.30N 86.71W
01/29/2008                   LOWNDES            AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            POWER LINES DOWN AROUND CITY HALL.

1102 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG MOSSES                  32.18N 86.67W
01/29/2008                   LOWNDES            AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS BRANCHES DOWN ACROSS THE COUNTY...ALONG WITH
            POWER OUTAGES.

1102 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG SELMA                   32.42N 87.03W
01/29/2008                   DALLAS             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            NUMEROUS TREES DOWN ACROSS THE COUNTY. POWERLINES DOWN 1
            MILE WEST OF 80W AND AL HWY 14W.

1102 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG 10 NE SELMA             32.52N 86.91W
01/29/2008                   DALLAS             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            SEVERAL TREES DOWN ALONG HIGHWAY 22 IN PLANTERSVILLE
            BLOCKING THE ROAD

1102 PM     NON-TSTM WND DMG SELMA                   32.42N 87.03W
01/29/2008                   DALLAS             AL   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREE BLOCKING ROAD ON BROAD STREET IN DOWNTOWN SELMA.
            TREE DOWN ON OLD MONTGOMERY HIGHWAY NEAR SELMONT
            WATERWORKS.


&&

$$
 

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