Forecaster: James Spann
THIS MORNING: It is a quiet morning across Alabama with temperatures across north and central counties mostly in the upper 30s and low 40s. A few patches of light rain, or rain showers, are possible later this morning with temperatures rising into the 46-50 degree range by early afternoon.
MUCH COLDER AIR BLOWS IN: Temperatures should begin to fall across far North Alabama later today with a gusty north wind, and that Arctic shot will drop southward tonight and tomorrow, setting up a very cold Tuesday. A good chance we won't get out of the 30s, and a north wind of 12-25 mph will keep the wind chill index around freezing most of the day.
THE "S" WORD: Anytime the word "snow" is used in an Alabama forecast, it tends to set off a firestorm complete with wild rumors, bad information, and fear of a catastrophe like January 28, 2014. Let's go beyond the little picture of a snow flake on your phone app and lay it out.
TIMING: A few snow flurries or snow showers could begin across the Tennessee Valley of far North Alabama this afternoon, but for places like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden, the best chance of seeing a few flakes will come tonight and tomorrow morning.
PLACEMENT: The more numerous snow showers will come over Northeast Alabama, but one could pop up just about anywhere over the northern half of the state tonight. And, these convective snow showers are similar to rain showers on a summer afternoon; they tend to be rather random and scattered. No way to resolve exactly where they form, or where streaks of more concentrated snow showers will develop. We will just have to watch radar trends.
IMPACT/ACCUMULATION: For most of you, this will be a no impact, no accumulation event. However, where a heavier snow shower develops, there could be some light accumulation on grassy areas (generally 1/4" or less). A few spots across high terrain of Northeast Alabama (generally above 1,500 feet) could see 1/2 to 1 inch, but we stress this is for mountain top locations.
We will drop into the sub-freezing range tomorrow morning from about 3:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m., and where heavier snow showers form it is possible a few icy patches could develop. And, like we mentioned above, there is no way we can tell you where the heavier showers will crank up. I would get up a little early tomorrow and flip on ABC 33/40, or check the blog, for an update on possible road problems.
But, I stress, for most of you this will be a no impact, no accumulation event.
ADVISORIES: There are no winter weather advisories of any kind in Alabama... but to the northeast there are "winter weather advisories" for East Tennessee and far North Georgia...
MEMORIES: Anyone remember the song "The Way We Were" from 1974?
May be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget"
The truth is people in Alabama DO remember the painful snow event on January 28, 2014, and the horrible impact forecast from the weather community. Understand we have a limited skill set in dealing with winter weather, and any forecast can go wrong, like any football coach can lose a game. But the circumstances in this event won't be anything like 1.28.14; on that day we had 2 inches of snow with temperatures at 20 degrees. The ice accretion progress on roads is radically different at 20 degrees (as we learned the hard way), compared to mostly 30s we will mostly have tonight and tomorrow.
REST OF THE WEEK: Wednesday and Thursday morning will be very cold, with lows not far from 20 degrees, and teens for colder locations. The high Wednesday afternoon will be close to 40, and we have a decent chance of rising into the 50s Thursday.
We might consider a risk of rain showers Friday with another cold front passing through the state, but moisture will be very limited, and any precipitation should be very light.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: A big 1048 mb high drops south into the Upper Midwest, and more cold air pushes into Alabama. Saturday and Sunday will be cold and dry; highs 40-44 degrees both days. Sunday morning will be very cold; the 00Z GFS is printing a low of 19 degrees for Birmingham.
Today's Record Temperatures