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Winter Storm Winding Down

| 3:10 pm March 5, 2015

**No afternoon Weather Xtreme video today**

FREEZING RAIN/SLEET DROPPING SOUTH: The wintry precipitation is over the for Birmingham metro, but it continues in a band from Anniston to Clanton to Marion late this afternoon. This wintry mix will fade away this evening as drier air takes over.

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Temperatures are now below freezing generally along and north of I-20…

Temperatures

COLD NIGHT: Temperatures will drop into the 17-22 degree range early tomorrow, so any lingering moisture will be ice on roads and bridges tonight and early tomorrow morning. If you have to travel tonight, be very careful and watch for icy patches… even if the road looks dry.

WARMER DAYS: We warm into the mid 40s tomorrow, and by Saturday afternoon we will enjoy a high around 60 degrees. Both days should feature a good supply of sunshine. Most communities will stay dry Sunday, although we might consider a small risk of a shower by late afternoon as moisture increases. The high Sunday will be up in the mid 60s.

NEXT WEEK: Model consistency has not been good, but there will be some risk of showers during the first half of the week. The good news is that temperatures will be very pleasant with highs in the 60s; we could reach the 70s by Thursday.

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WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Icing Issues Begin Over Northwest Alabama

| 5:53 am March 5, 2015

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

FREEZE LINE DROPPING SOUTH: It is below freezing now over much of Northwest Alabama, where freezing rain and sleet has been falling for a few hours. NWS Huntsville reports roads and bridges in Florence/Muscle Shoals are beginning to become icy and dangerous, and we are seeing many pictures of sleet/freezing rain accumulation down into Marion, Winston and Lamar Counties. Here is a look at sleet accumulation in Muscle Shoals early this morning.. (photo from @mrsburtonhhs)

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THE DAY AHEAD: No change in our forecast. The freeze line has been right on time so far, and we project it to be around I-59 (Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden) around 9:00 a.m. The freeze line will be close to Anniston by 10:00-11:00 a.m.

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PLACEMENT: As we have stated here many times, the freeze line won’t be in a nice, straight line like we are showing on these maps… that is just a guideline. It could be a situation later this morning where northern sections of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston have freezing rain, sleet, and icy travel with 30 degrees, while the southern sections of these cities have 34 degrees and a cold rain.

IMPACT: There could be enough ice accumulation in a few spots over Northwest Alabama for scattered power outages, but the main issue will be hazardous travel due to ice on bridges and overpasses, and perhaps on some black top roads.

DURATION: Temperatures will remain below freezing over much of North Alabama through the day and tonight… temperatures rise above freezing by mid-morning tomorrow, when conditions improve.

TOMORROW AND THE WEEKEND: These three days will be dry and warmer. After beginning the day tomorrow in the 17-22 degree range, we rise into the upper 40s by afternoon with a good supply of sunshine. Saturday’s high will be close to 60, and low 60s are possible Sunday. We will see some high clouds around Sunday, but the low levels remain dry and for now we won’t mention any risk of showers.

NEXT WEEK: Highs will be mostly in the 60s through the week, and some rain is possible Tuesday, with the chance of wet weather continuing into at least Wednesday. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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We will have frequent updates throughout the day… stay tuned!

Pre-Dawn Update

| 4:37 am March 5, 2015

A winter storm warning remains in effect for much of North Alabama today, with a freezing rain advisory up for the cities of Birmingham, Gadsden, Anniston, and Tuscaloosa.

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Temperatures are now at, or below freezing over much of Northwest Alabama… including places like Hamilton, Cullman, Haleyville, and Florence.

Temperatures (11)

Freezing rain and sleet is falling over parts of Northwest Alabama as well…

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Our basic forecast remains unchanged from last night…

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TIMING: The 32 degree line should be along the I-59 corridor (Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden) around 8:00 to 9:00 a.m… and near Anniston around 10:00 a.m.

PLACEMENT: As stated here last night, the freeze line will hover close to I-20 late this morning. For the southern parts of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston it might be 34 with a cold rain, while the northern parts are at 30 with icy travel. And, the freeze line won’t be along a nice, straight line like we have on the map… that is just a guideline.

South of the freeze line, it will be just a cold, rainy day.

IMPACT: There could be enough ice accumulation for a few scattered power outages over Northwest Alabama, where icing is expected to be heavier. Otherwise, in the sub-freezing areas bridges and overpasses will become icy and slick, and even some black top roads could develop icy spots.

DURATION: Much of North Alabama will stay below freezing all day, so icy travel could linger into tonight and early tomorrow. Temperatures will go above freezing by mid-morning tomorrow when conditions improve.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

I will have a full discussion and a new Weather Xtreme video coming shortly…

Winter Storm Potential Update

| 9:30 pm March 4, 2015

A good bit of the new model data is in tonight (the 00Z runs), but not all of the data.

Bottom line is that I don’t see any need to change our ongoing forecast.

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TIMING: Icy travel could begin up around Florence and Muscle Shoals as early as midnight to 2 a.m…. then freeze line will move steadily southward during the morning, reaching Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Anniston in the 7-9 am time frame.

It is important to note that computer models struggle with shallow layers of cold air like this, and if anything the cold air might arrive slightly ahead of time.

PLACEMENT: The southern edge of the ice accumulation will be roughly along a line from Forkland to Brent to Alabaster to Oxford. South of this line, it will be just a cold, rainy day. Understand it won’t be a clean, straight line like we are showing on the map, it is just a guideline.

It is very possible for the cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston the northern sections of these cities could have 30 degrees and icy travel, while the southern sections have 33 degrees and a cold rain.

IMPACT: Over Northwest Alabama, where the ice accumulation will be heavier (up to 0.30″)… scattered power outages are possible due to the weight of the ice on trees and power lines, and a north wind of 10-20 mph.

Concerning travel, bridges and overpasses will become icy quickly where temperatures are below 32 degrees. Even some black top surfaces could become icy, even with the warm temperatures we had today. We are seeing many ice covered roads tonight across Arkansas and West Tennessee.

DURATION: Temperatures will stay below freezing north of I-59 all day tomorrow, and it will be mid morning Friday before readings climb above 32 degrees. This means icy travel is possible over a decent part of North Alabama through tomorrow night into Friday morning.

WATCHES/ADVISORIES: No change…

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Be ready for surprises tomorrow; we have a limited skill set in dealing with freezing rain events like this.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

I will have a new discussion very early tomorrow morning… stay tuned…

Evening Update

| 6:05 pm March 4, 2015

No change in our forecast for now…

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The cold front is blowing through North Alabama…. the temperature at Hamilton has dropped thirty degrees… from a high of 78 to 48 degrees at 6:00 p.m.

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Confidence in icing over Northwest Alabama is high tomorrow; the forecast confidence is lower for the larger cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, and Gadsden as they will be close to the southern extent of the ice accumulation.

Computer models don’t handle shallow cold air very well (resolution not high enough), so we don’t trust the output we are seeing much. Time to simply observe weather to the north and west. The cold air seems to be a bit ahead of schedule, which certainly means there is a chance we will see icy travel as far south as I-20 tomorrow; the freeze line should reach the Birmingham metro in the 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. time frame.

It could be a situation where you have 30 degrees and icy bridges at Lake Tuscaloosa, Gardendale, and Saks… and 34 degrees with just a cold rain at Taylorville, Alabaster, and Oxford. Is is impossible to define the exact location where the freeze line stops tomorrow.

Along and north of the 32 degree line, expect icy travel, and potential for scattered power outages up across Northwest Alabama where ice accumulation is heavier. More later…

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

Winter Storm Warning Tomorrow

| 3:31 pm March 4, 2015

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

MUST BE MARCH IN ALABAMA: Montgomery has soared to 80 degrees this afternoon, at the time NWS offices in Birmingham and Huntsville were issuing winter storm warnings and freezing rain advisories for North Alabama that will be in effect tomorrow.

SEVERE STORMS? Despite the sharp thermal contrast, no severe weather is expected along the Arctic front tonight. Thunderstorms are possible, but they stay under severe limits.

ICY MESS TOMORROW: In the winter storm warning area, ice accumulation to 0.30″ is possible…. amounts from 0.01 to 0.20″ are possible in the freezing rain advisory…

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TIMING: See the yellow line on the forecast below…

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This is actually one of the hardest parts of the forecast; models don’t handle shallow layers of cold air very well, so be ready for changes. We project the freeze line to be in the Birmingham metro in the 7-9 a.m. time frame.

PLACEMENT: The southern extent of the ice accumulation should be close to a line from Forkland to Brent to Alabaster to Oxford. Again, defining this line is very difficult; that the best forecast we have for now. The ice potential for Tuscaloosa and Anniston is a very close call; southern parts of those cities could have a cold rain and 34 degrees, while the northern parts have freezing rain, icy bridges, and 31 degrees.

PRECIPITATION TYPE: Most of this event will be freezing rain (liquid falling with surface temperatures at or below 32 degrees), or sleet (ice pellets). Some light snow is possible as it all winds down tomorrow afternoon and the cold air gets deeper.

IMPACT: In the winter storm warning areas, where the ice accumulation could be 0.30″ in spots, scattered power outages are possible due to the weight of the ice on trees and power lines, and a north wind of 10-20 mph. Bridge icing is likely anywhere freezing rain falls; it doesn’t take much to bring a nasty coating of ice on bridges and overpasses. The warmth today should mitigate ice potential to some degree on black top roads, you need to expect ice on any bridge or road tomorrow where temperatures are below 32 degrees.

DURATION: Much of North Alabama will stay below freezing all day tomorrow, so icy travel issues will likely continue through tomorrow night, and maybe even into Friday morning. Temperatures rise above freezing at mid-morning Friday when conditions improve greatly.

IMPORTANT: We have a limited skill set in dealing with freezing rain events like this, and due to the shallow nature of the cold air I fully expect surprises. Keep a close eye on the blog for forecast changes as we get closer to the event tonight and tomorrow morning.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The weather will be dry and warmer. We reach the upper 40s Friday, and upper 50s are likely Saturday and Sunday. A wave will bring some scattered clouds Sunday, but for now the air looks too dry to mention showers.

NEXT WEEK: Getting some decent agreement now that rain will return to our state on Tuesday… see the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

Facebook
Twitter
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I had a great time today visiting with the second graders at Chelsea Park Elementary School in Shelby County… be looking for them on the Pepsi KIDCAM today at 5:00 on ABC 33/40 News! The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow… and I will have more forecast updates later this evening. Stay tuned…