Unusual Weather Pattern during Early May 2013
A large, cold core upper low plagued the Deep South in early May of 2013. The upper low was responsible for the wet and unusually cold weather pattern experienced across Central Alabama from May 4th through May 6th.  It all began with a surface frontal system that pushed eastward across the area on May 3rd.  The upper low pressure center responsible for the surface system occluded, deepened, and then moved slowly eastward across the Gulf Coast states.  As you will see in the following sections, record temperatures and minor flooding were results of the prolonged effects of the upper low.
 

500mb Chart on May 4th at 12Z
500mb Chart May 4th at 12Z

Surface Analysis on May 4th at 12Z
Surface Analysis May 4th at 12Z

500mb Chart on May 5th at 12Z
500mb Chart May 5th at 12Z

Surface Analysis on May 5th at 12Z
Surface Analysis May 5th at 12Z

500mb Chart on May 6th at 12Z
500mb Chart May 6th at 12Z

Surface Analysis on May 6th at 12Z
Surface Analysis May 6th at 12Z

 
Temperatures
 
Persistent cloud cover and rainfall, combined with the much colder temperatures aloft, kept surface temperatures generally 10-20 degrees below normal for early May. These unusually cold springtime conditions lead to several new temperature records across Central Alabama. Here is a complete list of all records that were tied or broken at our four main climate locations.
 
Minimum High Temperature Records
Date Location High Temp Previous Record/Date
May 4th Birmingham 60 60 (1967,1921)
May 5th Birmingham 59 60 (1917)
  *Tuscaloosa 58 68 (1960, 1957)
May 6th Birmingham 61 61 (1992)
  Montgomery 65 65 (1992)
  Anniston 58 62 (1992)

*Note: Tuscaloosa also set a new all-time record minimum high temperature for the month of May with its high temperature reading of 58 degrees on May 5th. This broke the previous record of 61 set on 5/13/1971, 5/3/1970, 5/12/1960, and 5/6/1958.

 
Low Temperature Records
Date Location Low Temp Previous Record/Date
May 5th Montgomery 42 42 (1997)
 
Rainfall & Flooding
 
There were several rounds of light to moderate rainfall associated with the upper low. Also, the low was preceeded by a frontal boundary which had already brought up to a couple inches of rainfall to portions of the forecast area. This prolonged period of rainfall lead to some minor river flooding along portions of the Coosa and Black Warrior Rivers, as well as many smaller streams and tributaries. The highest rainfall totals were located across northeastern portions of Central Alabama.
 

4 Day Rainfall Total

 
Locations impacted by the flooding included areas near Seldon Lock and Dam along the Black Warrior River and areas in and around Neely Henry and Logan Martin Lakes along the Coosa River. National Weather Service Meteorologists surveyed the minor flooding that occurred along portions of Logan Martin Lake. The lake level crested near 468.9 ft around mid-morning on Wednesday, May 8th. Minor flood stage is 467 ft and moderate flood stage is 470 ft. Many piers and boathouses around the lake were inundated, and some inundation of roads in a camper/RV area just north of Interstate 65 also occurred.
 

Releases at Logan Martin Dam
Releases at Logan Martin Dam

Flooding at Logan Martin Lake
Flooding at Logan Martin Lake

Flooding at Logan Martin Lake
Flooding at Logan Martin Lake

Flooding at Logan Martin Lake
Flooding at Logan Martin Lake


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.