The Weather Authority stayed busy this past year keeping you all informed about the weather. When it came to the weather itself, we experienced heavy rain, severe storms, excessive heat, and measurable snow! While most of our time was spent in the studio preparing and presenting our forecast, we were able to get out into the community and meet all of you!
This year we started a new segment called “Weather Wednesdays” where Chief Meteorologist Danielle Dozier visited communities to showcase local eateries and events. One of Danielle’s favorites was traveling out to Florence! During that segment, she showed off her bowling skills at the Boiler Room and then tried the orange-pineapple ice cream at Trowbridge’s Ice Cream Bar!
Every member of our Weather Authority team had the opportunity to get out and speak to the public this past year. Some of the most memorable moments were speaking to the younger viewers about weather safety and the workings of the weather world. Meteorologist Jessica Camuto had the opportunity to not only speak to students but to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club during their annual field day.
Meteorologist Aaron Ayers had the privilege of being able to visit and speak with many bright students across the Tennessee Valley over the past year. Being able to visit students across The Valley and teach them about the weather is truly a highlight and joy of his job.
Along with weather safety, the most important thing we do is show the younger generation that you are capable of anything and to always follow your dreams!
Meteorologist Ben Smith took his love of photography across the Tennessee Valley! Ben traveled the area on Friday Nights to capture the great plays of the high school season. Some nights were a bit on the colder side, which meant he had to bundle up, but that didn’t stop him. Some of his latest photos are from the 2022 Rocket City Marathon and the Alabama Arenacross Series.
Weather Events Of 2022
You can’t talk about this past year without mentioning how it started out. The Tennessee Valley started the year with record temperatures, severe weather, and even snow! Temperatures on January 1st neared 80 degrees in most locations. Huntsville broke the high-temperature record for the day with an observed high of 79 degrees. With temperatures this warm and instability in place, severe storms broke out. The storm system produced destructive winds, heavy rain, and four tornadoes.
Arctic cold air filtered in behind the frontal passage dropping temperatures below freezing. Bands of snow developed, some of which were heavy. This led to the first measurable snow of the year, a day after record warmth! Snow totals ranged from one to seven inches, with Huntsville recording 3.2 inches of snow. The Moores Mill area recorded the highest snow with a total of 7 inches.
You can find all the observed snowfall totals reported to the National Weather Service here.
This year was the 15th anniversary of the devastating Enterprise Tornado. On March 1st, 2007 Alabama experienced a devastating tornado outbreak. A total of 16 tornadoes touched down that day as severe storms tracked through the area.
The Enterprise tornado was the most destructive tornado, with EF4 winds between 166 and 200 mph. Over 200 homes were destroyed, 374 sustained major damage, and 529 sustained minor damage. The most extensive damage from this tornado occurred at Enterprise High School. It was in the halls of this school that eight teenagers lost their lives while taking shelter in the hallways. Coffee County was declared a federal disaster area due to the amount of damage left behind.
The April 27th tornado outbreak was a devastating event for the communities of the Tennessee Valley, but it also served as a learning experience. Tornadoes are not uncommon in Alabama and can occur during any month of the year, but this specific event was unique. There were three rounds of storms that day the squall line in the morning, the midday storms, and then the supercells during the afternoon.
The April 27th event was eye-opening, showing that even though we have come far with technology we are still vulnerable. Communication ahead of a major weather event is crucial to keeping the public safe and allowing them time to prepare ahead of time!
Chief Meteorologist Danielle Dozier looked into the research fueled by the tornado outbreak. After the outbreak, the state of Alabama received a grant, allowing the Severe Weather Institute -Radar and Lightning Laboratories (SWIRLL) to be built. The ribbon-cutting of the building was in 2014 but the building opened to researchers in the spring of 2015. This building was built as a research facility where students can study all types of weather from winter storms to severe thunderstorms.
Their research followed the differences in severe storms in the Southeast versus the Great Plains, where many tornadoes occur in the spring. Storms in our part of the country tend to form in environments with lower instability and high wind shear.
Meteorologist Jessica Camuto looked into the issuance of tornado warnings. During the 18-hour stretch of storm activity in the Tennessee Valley, 92 tornado warnings were issued. The strongest tornadoes that touched down that day were produced by long-track supercells during the afternoon hours.
Before pulling the trigger on a Tornado Warning, the NWS looks closely at multiple data products. Once the NWS identifies this threat, it is then time for them to write up the warning that is shared with the public. Within the Advanced Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS), an application called WarnGen is how they type up this warning. Within the WarnGen, they will draw out the polygon and add the text information on the weather alert. In times when the tornado is in fact confirmed, they will add cities that will be impacted by the storm.
The relationship between broadcast meteorologists and the local weather service office plays an important role in getting information out to the public.
2022 was the 33rd anniversary of the Airport Road Tornado that left a path of destruction during the peak of rush hour. News 19’s Chief Video Journalist, Gregg Stone shared his first-hand experience with Meteorologist Jessica Camuto. At the time of the F4 tornado, Gregg had been with the station for ten years.
Day After Christmas Snow & Ice
The day after Christmas was a wintry mess for the entire area, as a clipper system passed through the region. Snow started falling late in the afternoon and continued into the overnight hours. With temperatures well below freezing, roads quickly became slick. The slick roads caused the most problems for the area.
Some of the most impacted areas were Madison, Marshall, Morgan, DeKalb, and Jackson counties. Roads were deemed impassable across Jackson and DeKalb counties. Drivers became stranded trying to get up the mountain on 431. This led to them abandoning their cars and walking south.
This winter storm event led to record-breaking snowfall for the Huntsville area. Huntsville recorded 0.60 inches of snow, which ultimately ended up as black ice. This broke the old record set back in 2010 by 3 tenths of an inch!
As the year comes to a close and the new year begins you can count on the Weather Authority to be there during significant weather events to keep you and your families safe!