Matt Barrentine

NHC’s New Surge Warning Map

December 11th, 2014 at 10:55 am by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
NHC's New Storm Surge Warning Graphic

NHC’s New Storm Surge Warning Graphic


Mobile (WALA)- Today the National Hurricane Center unveiled an experimental storm surge watch and warning graphic that will be available next hurricane season. The new graphic is very similar to the hurricane watch and warning graphic that we are all familiar with.

A surge watch will posted when life-threatening surge is possible within 36 hours. A surge warning will mean an area is likely to have life-threatening surge within 24 hours.

Currently forecasters have forecast products and models to aid in predicting storm surge. What this new watch/warning graphic will do is simplify the areas of danger to the public and give emergency managers a tool to aid in evacuation planning.

Storm surge is the most destructive and deadly aspect of a tropical system. Coastal residents who feel they’re safe from the wind of a tropical system can often still be endangered by storm surge. This new graphic will separate the strong wind danger from the surge danger and provide a clearer picture of a storm’s potential hazards.

Hurricane Season 2014 Wrapping Up

November 26th, 2014 at 2:17 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

Mobile (WALA) – Hurricane season 2014 wraps up at the end of this month. With nothing likely to form, we can go ahead and put the wraps on this season as we head off to eat turkey.

2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season

2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season

2014 Summary
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane season started with Arthur. It was the only storm that made landfall in the U.S. It did so on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a category 1 hurricane.
The second storm was Hurricane Bertha which went through the Caribbean but didn’t reach the U.S.
The third storm was Hurricane Cristobal, which was the deadliest. Two people died in the U.S. due to rip currents, and five people died in the Caribbean from flooding.
The “D” storm was Tropical Storm Dolly. It moved into Central Mexico.
The “E” storm was Edouard, it became a major hurricane, but never went anywhere near land.
Bermuda Hardest Hit
Fay was a minimal hurricane that passed right over Bermuda, and then less than a week later, Gonzalo, a major hurricane struck Bermuda. This became the costliest storm of the year with about $200 million in damage.
The last storm was Tropical Storm Hanna which affected Southern Mexico.
2014 Stats

2014 Stats

Slow Season
In total there were 8 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. An average year is 12 named, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. This year was a slow year for named storms, but the ones that did form mostly became hurricanes.
How does the 2014 season stack up historically? It’s nowhere near the most active season. That was 2005 when 28 named storms formed and Greek letters had to be used by the end of the season. 2014 ends up in the bottom 5 of seasons with the least activity. The last comparable year would be 1992 when only 7 named storms. Of course one of those storms was named Andrew so it was a deadly year anyway. Still holding the title for the least active season in the satellite era is 1962 when only 5 named storms formed.
In summary 2014 was one of the least active, least costly, and least deadly of hurricane seasons on record.

Matt’s Sunday Severe Weather Update

November 23rd, 2014 at 7:35 am by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Sunday Severe Risk

Sunday Severe Risk

Weather Summary:

A line of strong storms could bring us some severe weather Sunday morning. The storms will be strengthening in the next few hours as a warm front moves north across our area. The Storm Prediction Center has most of our entire area in a slight risk zone.  Parts of the Florida Panhandle, from Santa Rosa County eastward, have an enhanced risk of severe weather due to slightly higher severe dynamics to the east.


The strong storms will begin mid-morning in Mobile county and western parts of the viewing area.  The storms will roll eastward throughout the late morning and into the early afternoon. The rain should end mid-afternoon and conditions will quickly improve.


Don’t be surprised that if at some point this morning our area is put under a tornado watch or a severe thunderstorm watch. For us, the most likely form of severe weather with this system will be strong straight-line winds and heavy rain. The risk of tornadoes is lower, but a quick tornado or two can’t be ruled out.

After Sunday:

Conditions improve quickly after Sunday afternoon. As we go into the upcoming week we will have fairly typical weather with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Thanksgiving Day looks great with a 40 degree start and a nearly 70 degree afternoon under mostly sunny skies!

SPC lowers severe risk to slight for Sunday

November 22nd, 2014 at 5:07 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Severe Risk Sunday

Severe Risk Sunday

Weather Summary:

A line of strong storms could bring us some severe weather Sunday morning. The storms will be strengthening after dawn as a warm front moves north across our area. The Storm Prediction Center has our entire area in the slight risk zone.


We should see rain and storms starting around 3am, particularly in coastal areas. The storms will move inland after dawn and move from west to east across the area through early afternoon.


The most likely form of severe weather with this system will be strong straight-line winds and heavy rain. The risk of tornadoes is lower, but a quick tornado or two can’t be ruled out.


Tracking Disturbance Moving Into Gulf

September 12th, 2014 at 1:31 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Tropical Disturbance Models

Tropical Disturbance Models

Mobile (WALA) – A tropical disturbance labeled as investigation 92L that is moving west over the Florida Peninsula will soon be in the Gulf of Mexico. Once there, the system will have warm 86°+ water to work with, but strong upper-level wind shear should hamper it’s development.

Because of that, the National Hurricane Center is keeping the risk of this system developing into a full-blown tropical system low, 30% for the next five days.

Regardless of what it ultimately becomes it will have essentially the same impact on the Gulf Coast: rain. The system should continue due west in the Gulf through the weekend before beginning to turn north due to a front moving down to the Gulf Coast. That front will likely grab the tropical moisture increasing our rain chances for several days. Accumulation models are forecasting a possible 2″-4″ of rain especially for our coastal areas.

So the bottom line for 92L is not to worry about a hurricane, strong winds, or storm surge just make sure you’re ready for some rain.


Tropics: Atlantic Quiet… Eastern Pacific Active…

September 10th, 2014 at 3:17 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Mobile (WALA) – Mother nature has a way of balancing things out. We’ve seen that this year with the hurricane season across the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Historical 2014 Historical 2014-2
In the Atlantic we’ve had four named storms; three off the east coast of the U.S. and Dolly which made landfall on the east coast of Mexico.
It’s been another story in the Eastern Pacific where there have 15 named storms. It’s been very busy and continues to be with the 15th named storm, Odile forming today.
Odile is forecast to become a Category 2 hurricane and make landfall near Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. That could draw more moisture up into the desert southwest.
So why is it so busy in the Pacific, but so quiet in the Atlantic? In the tropical Atlantic the water temperatures are below normal, which doesn’t help tropical formation. As you can guess the water temperatures across the Eastern Pacific are quite warm and can easily sustain and strengthen tropical systems.
Another big factor limiting storms in the Atlantic has been strong wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Strong wind shear rips the tops off of developing tropical systems.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, wind shear has been low, especially over the areas of the warmest water temperatures creating a “hot spot” for tropical formation southwest of Mexico.
We don’t see any major changes in these conditions in the Atlantic or the Pacific as we get closer to the end of hurricane season.

Now is the Busiest Party of Hurricane Season… What Gives?

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:37 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

Peak of the Season?

We know September is the busiest month of hurricane season. One-third of all named storms occur during this month. We have had Dolly, which quickly flared up in the Southwestern Gulf and moved into Mexico, but across the rest of the tropics it is extremely quiet for this time of year.




Water Temperatures

Water Temperatures


Limiting Factors

It’s quiet because the tropical waves coming off of Africa continue to run into several problems. The first one is, the water temperatures, which are colder than normal.




Dry Air

Dry Air



There is also dry air across much of the tropical Atlantic. Tropical systems need a lot of moisture, and it just isn’t there.




Wind Shear

Wind Shear


Storms also need low wind shear, but there is strong wind shear across much of the Atlantic and right into the Caribbean.

So any storms trying to form farther out will have a difficult time reaching the Gulf of Mexico. For a storm to affect us it would likely take a system that develops or redevelops in the Gulf itself.






Quiet Continues?

There’s a lot of factors working against tropical systems even at the height of hurricane season and it’s likely these conditions will persist through the rest of hurricane season. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! It may well be a very quiet year!

September: A Month of Changes…

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:31 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Early September

Early September



Hot Start

We know September begins just like July and August left off; very hot and very humid. Temperatures average around 90 degrees for highs and 72 for morning lows and it can stay hot through a good bit of the month. The all-time September high of 101 was set on the 16th.


Late September

Late September



September Changes

But as we go through September there are changes and things will improve. Fall begins on the 22nd , around the time when we usually start having some fronts moving through. The average high drops to 84 by the end of the month and average morning lows to 63. The record September low, set on the 29th, is 42 degrees.


Heat Hiccups

Heat Hiccups

Fall Heat Hiccups

As we move through September big changes begin to occur in the second half of the month. The caveat here is that October is not necessarily cool, there’s always a few hiccups and the heat will come back once or twice. Record highs in October are above 90 for 16 of the 31 days and the all-time record is a sweltering 95 degrees.

We’ll be going through some changes during the next month and a half to two months, but generally they’re changes for the better as we move into fall.

Severe Risk Increased

April 6th, 2014 at 3:45 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

Severe Risk Increased
The Storm Prediction Center has increased our risk of severe weather tonight and early Monday morning, particularly for the threat of tornadoes.
Most of our viewing area is included in the 10% risk zone for tornadoes. That doesn’t sound like a big chance, but we’re talking about tornadoes here. Because of that, the SPC added a black hatched area within that 10% risk area to denote that this is a significant chance of not just tornadoes, but strong EF 2+ tornadoes.

Atmospheric Conditions

Why the increased concern? Well we’re expecting discrete, supercell thunderstorms to form out ahead of the main line late tonight. These lone thunderstorms will be able to grow in a moisture-rich environment and strong low-level winds will create the shear to get them rotating. It’s these type of storms that are able to produce the strongest tornadoes, so that’s why the SPC is warning of EF 2+ tornadoes.

There is a limiting factor on the strength of these storms tonight and that is the overnight timing. The heating of the day will be gone and the atmosphere will be slightly more stable.


The stronger storms ahead of the main line could start building early this evening west of us and then move through the area during the overnight hours. A squall line will move through with the cold front itself early Monday morning just before or during the morning commute. We may see more severe weather with the squall line, but that would be mainly a straight-line wind threat.
After the squall line moves through Monday morning the rain will be done and conditions will improve as we go through the day.

Heavy Rain and Severe Possibilities

April 5th, 2014 at 3:35 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

Web Clip
Two-Day Soaker:

Get ready for a soaker! A warm front generated by a low in Texas will be moving across the deep south Sunday and Monday. We will see our rain chances increasing through the day on Sunday with showers and storms a near certainty.

Severe Risk:

For now the Storm Prediction Center has our area in a Slight Risk environment for severe weather Sunday afternoon into Monday morning. The main threat will be for strong winds and hail, but there is also a threat of isolated tornadoes in discrete cells out in front of the main squall line Sunday night.

The main squall line will move through early Monday morning, possibly impacting our morning commute. The main threat with the squall line will be damaging winds and hail.

Flood Risk:

Another overall risk for the next 48 hours will be the heavy rain. Models are currently forecasting 2” to 4” of total rain with isolated spots getting possibly as much as 6”. That could cause problematic flooding and road issues.

Clearing Out:

The system will clear out by lunchtime Monday and our weather will quickly improve. We will have pleasant spring conditions from Tuesday right through next Saturday.