Category: Winter Weather
As we are traveling south from Nashville to Birmingham this afternoon, the vehicle’s thermometer has been clicking upward almost as fast as the odometer! We left Nashville at 37F but by US-64 near Pulaski, it was 49F. We are punching the core of the cold front! Within 8 miles, the temperature jumped 8 degrees! Within 10 miles, it had gone up 11F.
You can see the sunny conditions across much of Central Alabama on the visible satellite picture:
OPERATION WINTER WEATHER WATCH: Once again we are on Operation Winter Weather Watch here in the AlabamaWX Weather Center, seemingly for the umpteenth time this season. The good news is that significant problems are not expected in our state, but icing is possible across the northwestern parts of North Central Alabama, as well as Northwest and North Alabama late tonight and early Monday morning. We will be tracking the latest weather developments until the precipitation ends Monday morning.
DIFFERENT STORY: It is a different story to our north and northwest where winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings cover a wide area from the southern Plains through the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys into the Mid Atlantic states and the Northeast U.S. through Monday. Throw in some wind chill warnings for places like Minnesota and you have a real mess.
Regional radars show the precipitation associated with the system with the wintry mix in white:
ALABAMA ADVISORIES: The NWS Birmingham has a freezing rain advisory posted for Marion, Winston, Walker, Fayette and Lamar Counties, generally north of a line from Vernon to Hubbertville to Manchester in Walker County. The NWS Huntsville has a winter weather advisory up for late tonight and Monday morning for Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone Counties. As the shallow cold air pushes into Alabama tonight, precipitation behind the front will freeze on contact with exposed surfaces in the advisory areas. There will be some sleet mixed in as well, especially the further northwest you go.
HARD TO IMAGINE: It’s hard to imagine that we could be talking about wintry weather after the Sunday afternoon we enjoyed across Central Alabama. Morning clouds northwest of I-59 burned off and the entire area enjoyed a good supply of sunshine pushing temperatures into the middle and upper 70s. At 3 p.m. along I-65 this afternoon, it was 78F in Montgomery, 74F in Birmingham, 72F at Huntsville, 39F at Columbia TN and 37F at the Nashville Airport, where snow had started.
…FREEZING RAIN POSSIBLE EARLY MONDAY MORNING ACROSS THE
NORTHWEST PORTIONS OF CENTRAL ALABAMA…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A FREEZING
RAIN ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 9 AM CST MONDAY…
COUNTIES THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THIS ADVISORY: MARION…LAMAR…FAYETTE…WINSTON…WALKER
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…HAMILTON…SULLIGENT…VERNON…
.AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT WILL PUSH INTO NORTHWEST ALABAMA LATE
TONIGHT. TEMPERATURES WILL FALL TO NEAR OR JUST BELOW FREEZING
AROUND 4 AM MONDAY ACROSS WESTERN MARION COUNTY. THE FREEZING LINE
WILL SHIFT SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE ADVISORY AREA DURING THE MORNING
HOURS. RAIN WILL FALL ACROSS NORTHWEST ALABAMA DURING THE
OVERNIGHT HOURS. AS TEMPERATURES FALL TO 32 DEGREES OR LESS…SOME
OF THE RAIN COULD FREEZE ON ELEVATED SURFACES. THE PRECIPITATION
SHOULD BE OUT OF THE AREA BY 9 AM.
* TIMING…5 AM THROUGH 9 AM CST MONDAY.
* LOCATION…ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM VERNON…TO
HUBBERTVILLE… TO MANCHESTER.
* ACCUMULATIONS…LESS THAN ONE-TENTH OF AN INCH.
A FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN OR
FREEZING DRIZZLE WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR
SLIPPERY ROADS. SLOW DOWN AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
We are dealing with a very sharp cold front not very far to our north. Look at these temperature contrasts at 9 a.m.:
61F in Tupelo, 37F in Memphis (90 miles)
64F in Nashville, 34F in Hopkinsville KY (55 miles)
66F in Longview TX, 37 in Mouth Pleasant (45 miles)
Here in Nashville, I went down to breakfast at 945 with a temperature of 65F, and when I stepped outside at 10:30, it was 45F!
We continue to watch a major winter storm to the north and northwest of Alabama on this first Sunday in March. If you go anywhere from New Mexico to New York City, you will be under a winter weather advisory, watch or warning. Winter storm warnings are as close as northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. The entire states of Kentucky and West Virginia are under winter storm warnings.
The National Weather Service in Huntsville has posted a winter weather advisory for late tonight and early Monday for Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone Counties. A wintry mix will spread into Northwest Alabama around 4-5 a.m. and will spread across the Tennessee Valley Counties into places like Huntsville and Scottsboro through sunrise. More patches of a light wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet will spread across the area along and north of US-278 through the morning hours, diminishing by noon.
This means that folks in Marion, Winston and Cullman Counties, over into Marshall, Etowah and Cherokee Counties may deal with some light freezing rain or sleet early Monday morning as temperatures fall quickly to freezing behind a cold front and precipitation continues to stream across the area.
South of US-278, temperatures will remain above freezing until Monday night and the precipitation will be long gone by then.
Here is a peek at the RPM model for 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning showing some light wintry mix across North Alabama in areas along and north of US-278.
IN THE HERE AND NOW: Clouds have held tough this morning in areas generally along and north of I-59. There was even some early fog. Surprisingly, early temperatures were not affected significantly by the clouds, with generally everyone in the lower 60s, a testament to the relatively warm airmass in place over Alabama. A few places in the heavier cloudiness are in the upper 50s. Everyone should get into the 70s by this afternoon with a mix of clouds and sun as those clouds erode, but other clouds move into later today. There could be a few sprinkles before the clouds erode in those areas north of I-59.
PRECIP MOVES OUT TOMORROW: The rain will be mainly southeast of I-59 by 7 a.m. tomorrow and will race eastward out of the state by 10 a.m. or so. Most everyone should see a decent soaking, overnight tonight and early Monday with about one half inch of rain on average. Monday will be a blustery day with clearing skies, but a strong northwest wind will make it feel sort of miserable.
MISERABLE MONDAY MERCURY: The ol’ thermometer will fall quickly into the 30s this evening over Northwest Alabama. The front will reach Hamilton a little after sunset, Cullman by 9, Tuscaloosa by 11, Birmingham/Gadsden by midnight and Anniston by 2 a.m. It will get into Middle Alabama around Clanton by 8 a.m. or so. Temperatures behind the front will fall into the middle 30s in the I-59 corridor before rebounding a tiny bit into the upper 30s as sun peeks back out for awhile. Lows Monday night will fall below freezing across all of Central Alabama, with upper 20s across the northern half of the area.
New York City’s Central Park has only experienced four winter seasons with 60 or more inches of snow.
It was on this date in 1996 that the station established a new single season snowfall record when 4.6 inches of snow brought the total to 66.3 inches. This surpassed the old record of 63.2 inches set in 1847-48. Eventually, the season would total 75.6”.
As you can see, this year is in hot pursuit, sitting in fifth position.
The current storm is projected to bring 4-8 inches of snow to the Big Apple tonight and Monday, so this year is certain to make the short list five. There is a good shot that this winter will make the top two or three. It looks like the top position is safe, but a rogue late season storm isn’t out of the question.
March has produced at least eight snowstorms in history of seventeen inches or more. And a snowstorm in April is not outside the realm of possibility.
Though we continue our spring-like weekend of weather across Alabama, that is not the case just off to our north and west. Numerous winter weather alerts are currently in effect from the Four Corners, across the Plains, the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, and into the Mid-Atlantic. Whether it is winter storm watches and warnings, winter weather advisories, ice storm warnings, or a freezing rain advisory, it is certainly going to be a messy and high impact winter storm for these locations. Use caution and expect impacts on travel in these areas.
Now back in Alabama, we will all be in the upper 60s and lower 70s today, but we will see the cold air heading back into the state overnight. The NWS in Huntsville has issued a winter weather advisory for some counties in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama. As of now, only these extreme northwestern counties in the state are impacted and no counties in Central Alabama are currently under any kind of winter weather alert.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY FOR FREEZING RAIN…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM
MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM CST MONDAY.
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
9 AM CST MONDAY…
.RAIN WILL TRANSITION TO FREEZING RAIN ACROSS THE ADVISORY AREA LATE
TONIGHT…AS A STRONG ARCTIC COLD FRONT PUSHES SOUTHWARD AND
TEMPERATURES FALL BELOW FREEZING.
LOCATIONS INCLUDED ARE LAUDERDALE…COLBERT…FRANKLIN AL…LAWRENCE…LIMESTONE…MOORE…LINCOLN…
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…FLORENCE…MUSCLE SHOALS…
* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED…LAUDERDALE…COLBERT…FRANKLIN…
LAWRENCE…AND LIMESTONE COUNTIES IN ALABAMA AND
LINCOLN…MOORE…AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES TENNESSEE.
* ACCUMULATIONS…LESS THAN TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH ACROSS FAR
NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND BETWEEN ONE AND TWO TENTHS OF AN INCH
ELSEWHERE IN THE ADVISORY AREA.
* IMPACTS…A GLAZE OF ICE WILL BE POSSIBLE ON EXPOSED AND ELEVATED
SURFACES…SUCH AS CARS AND TREES. DUE TO WARM GROUND TEMPERATURES
AND WET CONDITIONS FROM RAINFALL EARLY ON SUNDAY EVENING…IMPACTS
ON LOCAL ROADS ARE EXPECTED TO BE CONFINED TO SLICK AREAS ON BRIDGES
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN WILL
CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED
VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
March came in like a lion across the South on this date in 2009 as a strong upper low spread snow across Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. After dumping over a foot of snow on western Tennessee on Saturday night, snow moved into Alabama during the early morning hours on the 1st. One to two inch amounts were common, with several amounts in the three to five inch range. The snow moved into Georgia, bringing heavy snow to the Atlanta area.
There was some confusion about whether it marked the end of an amazing snowless streak at Birmingham’s official reporting station, the Shuttlesworth – Birmingham International Airport, where two inches of snow fell. A cursory review of the records indicated that it put an end to a streak that had lasted over nine years. Even the State Climatologist’s online records indicated it had not snowed since January 28, 2000. It was going to go into the record books as a 3,319 day streak.
But not so fast my friend, as Coach Lee Corso likes to say.
The official records at the National Climate Data Center showed that It had snowed 0.1 inches at the Airport on March 8, 2008. So the counters were reset to that date instead. While the streak was not quite as long as it could have been, it still was by far the longest in the city’s history.
While the streak was a year shorter than earlier thought, Birmingham residents were generally thankful for the snow they got.
Birmingham’s longest snowless streaks
1. 2961 days 1/28/2000 until 3/7/2008
2. 2225 days 2/1/1951 until 3/6/1957
3. 1769 days 2/13/1905 until 12/18/1909
4. 1387 days 2/13/1971 until 12/1/1974
5. 1137 days 1/5/1919 until 2/15/1922
6. 1069 days 2/23/1901 until 1/28/1904
After a pretty nice Friday afternoon across Central Alabama, which saw highs top out near 60F, showers have been moving across the state tonight. Rainfall amounts have been light, generally less than one tenth of an inch. The showers are diminishing and moving to the east late tonight.
Mild temperatures are in store across the area today, which even nicer readings in store for tomorrow. But even though we turn the page today to March and to meteorological spring, don’t count your chickens just yet. Winter has a few more reminders left that it is officially not out the door until March 22 by the calendar, including some colder weather this week.
With a good supply of sunshine Saturday, temperatures will warm well into the 60s. Highs will generally warm into the middle 60s from US-78/280 northeastward, with upper 60s and even a couple of 70 degree readings possible in places like Livingston and Demopolis. Lows Saturday night will barely make it into the middle and upper 40s.
IF YOU LIKE SATURDAY, YOU WILL LOVE SUNDAY: It doesn’t get much better than the weather we expect Sunday here in Alabama. With a good supply of sunshine under partly cloudy skies, highs will warm into the middle 70s. That’s right, you heard it: 70s. Go outside and roll around in the grass like a puppy! But change will not be far away, even as you are frolicking.
It comes in the form a a big load of heavy, cold air that will be making its way over the border from Canada into the northern and Central Plains. This cold air is behind all of the mischief to our north. By Sunday night, the cold front will be moving into the Northwest part of Alabama. Showers and some thunderstorms will push into the state starting late Sunday afternoon and progressing southeastward through the overnight hours. Rainfall amounts won’t be especially heavy, averaging around one half inch, with some one inch amounts possible.
IMPORTANT HEADS UP IF YOU’RE DRIVING NORTH: It is hard to imagine that while we are talking about 70s here in Alabama, Winter Storm Watches are posted not very far to our north. Places from eastern Kansas and Oklahoma across all of Oklahoma, northern Arkansas, northwestern Tennessee, much of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and all of Kentucky into western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
A major, crippling ice storm is expected across much of Kentucky with a quarter of an inch to one half of ice expected to accumulate. To the north, heavy snow is expected. 10-14 inches of snow will fall across North Central Ohio, which 6-8 inches around Cincinnati The snow will fall on top of a thin layer of freezing rain. St. Louis is expecting 5 inches of snow, and around 7-10 inches around Indianapolis. If you are traveling north into these areas starting Saturday night through Monday, please check the latest forecasts and warnings.
TORNADO WARNING TONIGHT:
The NWS in Sacramento issued a tornado warning tonight about 8:30 p.m. CST for a storm northwest of Sacramento. A funnel cloud and lowering did pass over I-5 near Woodland, but I have not seen any indication that a tornado touched down.
Temperatures continue to drop across north-central Alabama this morning. Most locations along the Interstate 20 corridor have now dropped into the 30s and those temps are going to continue to fall the next few hours. Haleyville has dropped below freezing and many areas along the U.S. 278 corridor are flirting with the freezing mark currently.
We are beginning to see the precip taper off across northern portions of the state this morning. The back edge of the main precip shield is approaching the Alabama/Mississippi border and we should see the precip taper off from west to east across the state during the morning hours.
We have seen a few reports of some sleet mixing in with the rain in areas to the north. Reports from Etowah, Cullman, Marion, and Fayette Counties confirm light to moderate sleet falling with the rain. We will likely see similar reports the next few hours as we will see a chance of a rain/sleet/snow mixture.
Everything looks fine this morning as well and the forecast looks to remain on track. No road issues being reported currently. The majority of the precip will be exiting the region by mid-morning.