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Christmas to bring severe weather

Published 9:38am Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It’s not going to be a white Christmas, but forecast models are predicting it could be a rainy, stormy one.

“This is probably not something everyone wants to hear, but it looks like it will be pretty mild temperature-wise and rainy,” said Matt Anderson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

According to a release from AccuWeather.com, storms moving across the Southeast may also bring the potential for tornadoes or damaging winds on Christmas Day.

“This is probably more bad news, but there is a chance for severe weather that afternoon and maybe into the overnight hours,” Anderson said. “It is probably not much to worry about on Christmas morning, but the chances for severe weather will ramp up throughout the day.”

Anderson said that the rain might hold off until the afternoon, but that most forecast models were predicting a wet Christmas.

Though the scenery may not be white and picturesque, the rain could be a welcome sight in Tallapoosa County. The majority of the county is still in the throes of a D4 drought – the most severe drought intensity rating issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which keeps tabs on national drought conditions.

Last week’s showers dumped a half to a three-quarters of an inch of rain across the county, but Anderson said prolonged rains would be needed to effect a change in the drought intensity.

“It is still going to take quite a bit to catch up,” Anderson said. “We are getting into more active (precipitation) patterns. We have chances for rain for the early part of this week, so it should help some.”

Currently, 3.85 percent of Alabama is in a D4 drought. That percentage is at its highest point since February of this year, when 5.74 percent of the state was experiencing D4 drought conditions.

Early forecasts for the winter season were predicting the global weather patterns to transition into an El Nino pattern, which is marked by above average temperatures in the pacific. These warmer temperatures translate to above average precipitation numbers for the Southeast region of the United States.

So far, however, Anderson said that an El Nino event hasn’t begun yet.

“We are still in a neutral (neither El Nino nor La Nina) pattern,” Anderson said. “This is a rainy time of year, however, when we expect systems to come through every four days or so.”

Anderson said that our area is moving toward a more active pattern of precipitation, though it has nothing to do with El Nino.

“We are moving toward a more active pattern because the jet stream is pulled south this time of year, and that puts us in the storm track,” Anderson said.

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