Rainfall quickly added up to a few inches on the southern side of Birmingham, Alabama Wednesday afternoon, causing scenes like this:
The Birmingham suburb Vestavia Hills was hit hardest. Rainfall gauges in the area showed more than three inches of rainfall within a short amount of time.
Heavy thunderstorms popped up on the northern side of the city around lunchtime, then moved south-southwest and became heavier on the south side of Birmingham. The heaviest rainfall fell within an hour, however the entirety of thunderstorms in the area lasted up to a few hours Wednesday. Thankfully there have not been any reports of injuries at this time.
The above images show the atmospheric setup on Wednesday. A stationary weather front was draped across the Southeast separating drier air (north) from more moist air (south). Daytime heating from the sunshine helped the air rise, then the front helped trigger showers and thunderstorms even more. The image just above shows what’s known as a sounding analysis from Birmingham Wednesday morning. Weather balloons are launched across the country to collect upper air weather information from the ground to 60,000 feet above sea level. This helps us to determine many things, but specifically severe weather potential this time of the year. This sounding shows what appears to be a normal summer morning with warm, muggy conditions. The part that sticks out is the light wind from the surface to about 30,000 feet. This tells us that the storm movement would be pretty slow, allowing for a lot of rain to fall in a short amount of time.
Birmingham, AL has already had a wet week, at least at the airport climate reporting center where record rain fell earlier this week. These kinds of storms can be quite dangerous because of how quickly conditions can change. These flood waters Wednesday rose quickly, so keep that in mind as you continue your summer fun. Thunderstorms this time of the year can be quite hazardous. Avoid high water and don’t drive through flooded roads. We’ll do our best here at WeatherNation to give you the forecast on where storms will be most likely in the forecast.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier