Much Cooler Weather on the Way

October 29th, 2014 at 3:24 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

Showers and a few thundershowers tracked through the area on this Wednesday, along a significant fall front. Look for rain chances to decrease rapidly tonight. Temperatures turn much cooler with a low in the lower to middle 50’s. Thursday and Friday will both be sunny with highs in the lower 70’s. Halloween evening, expect temperatures in the upper 60’s falling into the upper 50’s by 8pm. It will be clear and cool for the trick-or-treaters. Some much colder air arrives for the weekend. Expect highs near 60 and lows in the 30’s Saturday night. This may be the first frost of the season for most inland spots.

Severe Weather Threat

October 13th, 2014 at 3:21 pm by under Jason Smith - FOX10 Outdoors


Severe weather is possible this evening and tonight. A tornado watch is already in effect for parts of the area. You can sign up for text and email alerts on, and tune into Fox Ten for the latest information.

It’s been a very breezy as a deep southerly flow is setting up off the Gulf of Mexico. A strong cold front will approach the area tonight, crossing the forecast area in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The Storm Prediction Center has in the slight risk zone for severe weather. The primary threat is t-storm winds and hail. Isolated brief tornadoes are possible, in an enhanced risk zone, mainly north and west, up HW 43, HW 45, and HW 98. We expect 2”-3” of rain with isolated higher amounts. The storms should clear the area early Tuesday and much drier and cooler air moves in for the rest of the week.

Facebook: Meteorologist Jason Smith
Twitter: @JasonSmithFox10

Update on Gulf Tropical Wave

September 12th, 2014 at 8:51 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

modA disorganized tropical low is now entering the Gulf of Mexico near Fort Myers, FL. This feature is significantly sheared by strong winds in the upper levels. The atmospheric moisture is also rather dry. The National Hurricane Center is predicting a 20% chance of development over the weekend. There is a slightly higher 30% chance of development early next week as it heads west over the Gulf. While water temperatures are very warm, a hostile upper environment will make any development slow to occur. There is a reasonable chance that the tropical moisture from this wave could get pulled into our area early next week, increasing rain chances.

Tropical Storm Edouard is in the open waters of the Atlantic. This system will gradually strengthen over the weekend. It’s not expected to impact any land areas in the extended forecast.

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.

Tropics are Quiet

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 pm by under Jason Smith - FOX10 Outdoors

Scattered storms are again showing up on radar, with locally heavy rainfall amounts across the panhandle. These storms are being generated by a weak upper level low over the Panhandle. Rain chances will decrease after 10pm. Scattered storm chances continue each day this week, especially in the afternoon. The rain is welcome for many, after an abnormally dry August. Daytime highs will remain slightly above average for the next seven days, with readings in the low 90s. There are no signs of any cooler air in the extended forecast.

Tropical Storm Dolly dissipated over the higher terrain of Mexico. There are no other areas of concern in the tropics.

FOX10 in China

August 27th, 2014 at 7:59 pm by under FOX10 News, Uncategorized

After 30 years at FOX10/WALA, I’ve seen and been a part of a lot of fascinating stories.

One involved a 1986 trip to China, where reporter Carolyn Martin and photographer Robbie Chandler covered Alabama Governor George Wallace traveling to Wuhan on a trade mission.

China wasn’t as developed or open to Westerners as it is now, which makes this documentary even more interesting.

While Carolyn covered the Governor, she also ventured out to communicate with the folks on the street and children in the classroom.

I think it’s great TV, and hope you agree.


Learning Lunch at USA C&W

August 21st, 2014 at 2:30 pm by under FOX10 News

My wife and I were happy to accept an invitation to a “learning lunch” at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.  Actually called a “community lunch”, it’s an opportunity for the hospital to invite members of the community to find out more about the hospital and the advanced level of care it offers to our region.  We were in the company of USA President Dr. Tony Waldrop, Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peek and many others to get a tour of the facility including its beautiful new wing.

It also gave us a chance to be present for the unveiling of a beautiful picture in the hospital’s board room of our daughter, Mary Kate and newest grandson, Sam and to brag about the wonderful care they received there!

Learning Lunch
Dr. Mary Kate and Sam