Tuesday morning update on winter weather potential

From James Spann:Here are the important points concerning today's weather in Alabama

Snow begins this morning. Snow is likely just about statewide, but the snow should be light over the northern half of the state. A dusting is possible around Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Gadsden, but no significant accumulation is expected, and no travel issues are expected. Anniston could see around 1/2 inch, and it is not out of the question that a slick spot or two could develop there, but again, nothing widespread is expected for now. Calhoun County has been added to the Winter Weather Advisory for this reason.

The best chance of accumulating show is south of a line from Eutaw to Greensboro to Centreville to Calera to Talladega to Anniston and Heflin. But the really big snows will come along and south of U.S. 80, in the Winter Storm Warning area. Some places between Montgomery and Dothan could see 4 inches of snow by tonight.

Closer to the coast, precipitation begins in the form of rain and sleet, changing to freezing rain, and then snow before ending. Still, Mobile could see one inch of snow before it is all over. Even some light accumulation is possible right on the beach at Gulf Shores.

We don't expect enough ice accumulation over South Alabama for widespread power outages at this point.

In terms of timing, some slick spots could develop in the 10:00-12:00 noon time frame over Central Alabama counties in the Winter Weather Advisory as the snow falls. While the issues are not expected to be widespread there, be careful when driving today. Strong north winds will limit the accumulation on roads.

Travel will become difficult across the southern half of Alabama late this afternoon and tonight due to bridge icing. Some black top roads could become icy and dangerous as well. Most South Alabama schools are closed today and tomorrow. Auburn University, Troy University, the University of South Alabama, and the University of West Alabama are all closed today.

The snow will end tonight, and sunshine returns in full force tomorrow, but we stay very cold with a high only in the low to mid 30s.

IMPORTANT POINT: We have limited skill in dealing with a South Alabama snow/ice event since they just don't happen often, so expect a few surprises. And, as is the case with every Alabama winter storm event, some people will be delighted with the amount of snow they see, and others severely disappointed. Keep an eye on the blog today as we watch radar trends and the event unfolds.

ARCTIC COLD: Aside from the snow, the big story is the cold. We will drop into the 8 to 13 degree range early tomorrow morning, and in the 10 to 15 degree range at daybreak Thursday. We finally begin a warming process Thursday afternoon with a sunny sky and a high in the low 40s.