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Category: Alabama’s Weather

Much Colder; Snow Showers Ahead

| 6:16 am February 8, 2016

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.

LONG RANGE: Global models hint the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) could go positive in 10 days or so, giving us an opportunity for warmer weather toward the end of February. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

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. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30p CT… you can watch it here.

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

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I have a weather program this morning at Munford Elementary School… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Super Sunday

| 3:34 pm February 7, 2016

Super Bowl L doesn’t quite have the ring to it that Super Bowl XLIX did, so the NFL ceased using Roman numerals to describe their Championship game.


The weather in San Jose for this evening’s game will be perfect, with kickoff temperatures around 70F. Skies around the Bay Area are crystal clear and will remain that was for the game. Winds will be out of the northwest at about 7-8 mph. That could be a bit of a factor as the stadium is oriented northwest-southwest with some breaks in its bowl behind the goal lines.


Here in Alabama, clear skies prevail this afternoon, except for some high clouds skirting our northern border. Clouds have thickened to the northwest however, and cover a good bit of Arkansas, spilling into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Temperatures are in the 50s across the state from one end to the other, although the mercury was perilously close to 60F at Evergreen last hour.

Our winds are light out of the north, in response to an explosively deepening low pressure center east of Charleston this afternoon.

To the west, we see a cold front approaching Little Rock. That front will push through Central Alabama tomorrow. We start off in the upper 30s in the morning and rise in to the lower or middle 40s before colder air starts to spill in, driving the mercury back into the 30s by dark. There could be a few light rain showers with the front as it moves through during the morning hours. As colder air moves in, there could be a few snow showers late tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night, with some snow flurries on Tuesday. We shouldn’t see any accumulations around here. Places from Huntsville eastward into Northeast Alabama could wee a whitened ground tomorrow night into Tuesday, with the attendant icy patches.

The main story will be the cold: We won’t get out of the 30s on Tuesday and many places will stay there on Wednesday. 40s will still be the rule Thursday and Friday. Lows Monday night will be in the middle and upper 20s with wind chills in the teens. Lows will be in the middle 20s Wednesday and Thursday.

The rest of the week will be mainly dry, although there could be a few showers (rain or snow) late Thursday night into early Friday. Doesn’t look like a problem at this time. But as we always say in the Weather Office, we will be watching.

Super Today – Sharply Colder into Tuesday

| 8:00 am February 7, 2016

The second Sunday of February will be a super day for Central Alabama as we continue to enjoy the warmup before another Arctic chill down. Alabamians are waking up to a clear sky with nary a cloud to be found. But the morning is also starting with another chill as morning lows bottom out in the 20s. But with plenty of sunshine today we should see the highs across Central Alabama warm nicely well into the 50s – upper 50s for most locations. But then changes begin to take place.

But before we discuss those, it’s interesting to note what is happening just off the southeast coast of the US. A strong closed low moved along the Gulf Coast last night and will be emerging into the Southwest Atlantic today generating a surface low in the vicinity of Florida. Today that surface low will “bomb out” as we say as it undergoes deep intensification. To “bomb out” a surface low must drop 24 millibars in 24 hours, and it sure looks like this one will do that. Because of this deep intensification, hurricane force wind is expected to occur in the offshore waters with storm or hurricane force wind warnings from offshore of Florida all the way to New England for the next 36 to 48 hours.

Fortunately, that system will not have an impact on our weather, but right behind that closed low comes a deepening trough that will open the flood gates for cold air to surge southward into the Southeast US. Later tonight and into Monday, clouds will increase so that Monday will become a mostly cloudy day. Temperatures will be a bit tricky to forecast since highs and lows will not be occurring at their typical times. Morning temperatures will probably bottom out near 40, rise a little through late morning, and then begin to fall with the arrival of the cold air. So the high for the day will likely come in late morning, or perhaps even between midnight and 1 am. Our low for the day is likely to occur between 11 pm and midnight Monday evening. Temperatures during the afternoon are likely to be falling.

On top of that, it looks like this system will be bringing some moisture with it. Precipitation is likely to begin as light rain from late morning through the middle of the afternoon before enough cold air arrives to bring about a mixture of light rain and snow flurries. The mixed precipitation should change over to all flurries Monday evening and stay flurries through midday on Tuesday. With the warm ground we’re not likely to see anything stick. The exception to that comes in the northeast part of Alabama where we might see a little snow sticking at higher elevations.


Tuesday is also likely to be a raw day with a northwest wind at 10 to 15 mph with higher gusts and highs from the Interstate 20 corridor northward only in the 30s. Areas south of the Interstate 20 corridor could see highs in the lower 40s.

Wednesday follows along with Tuesday for being a cold day but we’ll have the benefit of some sunshine. Lows will be well down in the 20s with highs in the 40 to 43 range. It may feel a little warmer thanks to a reduced wind.

The overall upper air pattern begins to transition out of the deep trough over the eastern US on Thursday and Friday. We should see some gradual warming with temperatures rising into the lower 50s, still chilly when compared to 30-year averages for early February. Saturday and Sunday will see ridging aloft so that weekend highs should be well into the 50s.

Yesterday the outlook for voodoo country seemed a little quiet, but the quiet is definitely gone on the latest GFS run today. A strong upper trough should bring wet weather to Alabama on Monday, February 15th. Another fairly high amplitude trough develops by the 18th which will bring another round of chilly weather to the East, but not as chilly as the one starting this week. And then a new trough/closed low comes out of the northern Rockies around the 20th. So the parade of storm systems should continue into the latter part of February.

I had a wonderful time at the “Wild About Chocolate” fundraiser for the Alabama Wildlife Center last night at the Harbert Center. It was a privilege to meet the newest member of their team, an unnamed red-tailed hawk. The injuries he sustained in a collision with a vehicle prohibit him from being able to return to the wild, so he will become part of their educational team. And he was absolutely gorgeous. I hope the auctions, both silent and not silent, were able to raise enough money to keep the Wildlife Center funded to continue their great work.

James Spann is expected back on Monday with the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video. Enjoy the super weather on this Super Bowl Sunday. Godspeed.



Notes On The Cold/Snow

| 6:47 am February 7, 2016

As discussed here for days, the northern half of Alabama will experience a shot of very cold Arctic air tomorrow through Wednesday. And, during the cold air advection process, there is a pretty good chance of snow flurries or snow showers late tomorrow, tomorrow night, into Tuesday.

Here are some important notes about this…

*TIMING: Some scattered light rain/sprinkles will begin during the day tomorrow across North Alabama, and as the air aloft becomes much colder, this precipitation will change over to snow flurries or snow showers tomorrow afternoon. This will continue tomorrow night and Tuesday.

*IMPACT/ACCUMULATION: Basically no impact or accumulation is expected for several reasons. Shallow moisture and weak lift means the snow should be very light in most cases, and surface temperatures will be above freezing a decent part of the time. We will just need to keep an eye on high terrain across Northeast Alabama, especially above 1,500 feet, where the ground could turn white in a few places, and a few slick spots could develop where heavier snow showers fall.


Up in the far northern part of the state, some light accumulation is possible mainly from Huntsville east (1/2 inch or less).

TEMPERATURES: The cold air is the big story. Temperatures will begin to fall tomorrow afternoon (we won’t get past the mid 40s during the day), and on Tuesday we start the day in the upper 20s, and the high will be only in the 36-39 degree range with a chilly northwest wind. It is beginning to look like our coldest morning will come early Thursday, when teens will be possible across colder valleys.


We have had so many tragic fires this winter; please be careful with space heaters or anything else that might spark a house fire.

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 30-35 degrees we will mostly have tomorrow night through Tuesday.

So, no significant accumulation or impact is expected, and the forecast confidence is pretty high. But, we will watch developments closely and keep you posted.

Sun-filled Saturday

| 1:54 pm February 6, 2016

We have seen a few mid and upper-level clouds move across the Alabama sky today, but overall it is a very nice first Saturday of February.

2-6-2016 1-47-30 PM

Temperatures are cool, but not all that bad with most locations into the lower 50s, while a few of those cooler spots remain in the upper 40s.

2-6-2016 1-50-12 PM

Tonight, expect mainly clear conditions with another cold start as low will be in the upper 20s and lower 30s. Great looking weather will continue for our Sunday. After the chilly start, which I highly recommend grabbing the jackets when heading out the door, our afternoon highs, thanks to an abundance of sunshine, will warm into the mid to upper 50s, and will be a few degrees warmer than today.