Category: Winter Weather
We are watching the rain transition to snow across North-Central Alabama this afternoon as the much colder air spills into the state. A band of rain/snow mix is now working towards the Interstate 65 corridor and the Birmingham Metro. Within this band, there a numerous reports of bursts of heavy snow, but nothing more than that and certainly no accumulations at this time.
Expanding the radar out of Central Alabama, there are additional areas of snow across Mississippi and Tennessee that could rotate through the state and continue to provide periods of snow and snow showers as we head into the evening and overnight hours, but these will be very light in nature as the deep moisture axis shifts east of the state
At this time, the weather service is going to maintain the Winter Weather Advisory until 6AM Saturday morning, but will re-evaluate later this afternoon. In addition to the Winter Weather Advisory, there is a Wind Advisory in effect for all of Central Alabama until midnight. With a tight pressure gradient, winds are quite blustery this afternoon and are sustained in the 15-25mph range, with gusts over 30mph. These gusty winds could bring down some tree limbs.
Looking at the latest traffic maps, we are not seeing any reports of impacts on travel this afternoon, as temperatures remain above the freezing mark. Roads are in decent shape this afternoon and that should remain the case through the evening hours. Late this evening, into tonight, and first thing Saturday, is when a few slick spots are expected.
Current temperatures are in the 30s for most locations in West Alabama, while 40s persist over East Alabama. We are going to continue to see falling temperatures this afternoon and evening as those blustery northwest winds advect that much colder air into the state. It looks like most of us will stay above freezing until the evening hours.
After about 8PM is when there could be a few icy spots as the temps go below freezing. The main area of concerns will of course be this bridges and overpasses. Of course we urge everyone to use some extra caution the next 24 hours, until overall weather conditions improve. Stay safe and enjoy the pretty snowflakes!
All Jefferson County Schools will close at 1 p.m. today.
Precipitation echoes are starting to pick up again in a band of snow that is rotating eastward across Northwest and West Central Alabama late this morning.
The heavier snow will be across the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama. Places like Moulton, Decatur and Hartselle will see some of the best snow.
This band will push eastward, reaching Tuscaloosa before 11 a.m. and Birmingham around noon – 1 p.m.
Here are current temperatures:
The ground is still warm and snow will melt faster than it falls unless you get in a heavier snow shower.
As the low ramps up tonight and turns northeast, more moisture will wrap into the North and East Central Alabama. There will be some dustings to 1.5 inch accumulations, especiallly east of I-65.
One of the fun parts of any winter storm event is tracking the snow report. Here are some late ones:
…Dusting in Russellville. Roofs are white.
…Big fluffy flakes at Vernon in Lamar County.
…Snow starting to fall at Sulligent in Lamar County.
…Snowflakes at Aliceville in Pickens County.
…Saw a Twitter report of snowflakes at St. Vincent’s in Birmingham.
Here is a mid-morning update.
The forecast remains unchanged:
At this hour, light to moderate rain is pushing northeastward across North and Central Alabama. The surface low (1006mb) is just east of Birmingham. The rain is heaviest and most widespread north of the low in the US-278 corridor curving down into East Alabama round Anniston.
Another batch of moderate rain is pushing ENE across Perry, Dallas, Autauga, Montgomery and Elmore Counties.
Here is the radar with surface temperatures and snow reports.
Lots of schools are dismissing early. Marion County will shut down at 11 a.m. Pickens County and Fort Payne Schools at 11:30. Cullman County at noon. Haleyville, Winston Co and Lamar Co at 11:30. Jasper City at 12:30. Check with your school system.
NORTH ALABAMA AND MISSISSIPPI
Temperatures are in the upper 40s and 50s southeast of I-59, with middle 40s east of I-65 over North Alabama. Readings have already fallen into the 30s over Northwest Alabama. It is 37 at Haleyville. It is already below freezing over northern Mississippi, with 32 at Batesville. There is 2 inches of snow on the ground at Oxford. There is 7 inches on the ground at Little Rock.
The heavier precipitation that produced this snowfall has diminished considerably in the past two hours.
While the snow over northern Mississippi has tapered off, snow is wrapping around the low back over western Tennessee and some of this will work its way into northern Mississippi and Northwest Alabama this afternoon.
Rain should change to light snow at Muscle Shoals and down through Franklin and Marion and Lamar Counties within the hour. Sleet and snow is already being reported in northern Lauderdale County. This part of Northwest Alabama could see up to 2 inches of snow.
The band of snow should reach Tuscaloosa by noon-12:30 and Jasper around 1 p.m.
It should reach the Birmingham and Cullman areas around 2 p.m. as a rain/snow mix and changeover to all snow. Temperatures should still be above freezing in the Birmingham area though and travel problems will be limited.
As for accumulations further south in places like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston, it will take heavier snow bands to produce those. Snow was falling at Starkville but having a hard time sticking because it was light in nature and the ground is warm. This will be the story until temperatures come down and you get some heavier areas of snow.
That should happen this evening in areas east of I-65 as the big winter storm ramps up for the East Coast. Snow should wrap back down into areas east of I-65 after 6 p.m. and intensify. Areas north of I-20 and east of I-65
The NWS maintains a winter weather advisory for Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Shelby, Talladega, Clay and Randolph Counties and points north across the state. 1/4 to 1.5 inches of snow is expected in some locations in the advisory area, depending on where the snow bands fall.
QUICK ROUND UP AROUND THE REGION
…Nice snow in Nashville already. 3.5 inches reported in Belle Meade. 5 inches in East Nashville, and still snowing.
…Snow has been light in the Memphis area. 1 inch reported in Millington with 2-3 inches in Atoka.
…Not much over northern Mississippi, just that 2 inch report from Oxford .
…Already 6 inches this morning near Roanoke and Blacksburg in Virginia.
A very powerful storm system is starting to come together this afternoon over the Gulf Coast Region. It will go onto become a historic storm for the Mid-Atlantic States, with a side swath of 18-24 inch snows from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina through Roanoke VA and up I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley. The Blue Ridge Parkway will be buried in snow.
The surface low (1006mb) is located between Vicksburg and Jackson MS. The very deep upper trough extends from Minneapolis to Kansas City to Dallas at this hour. Upper winds ahead of the trough are diverging, or spreading apart, and this leads to rising motion.
Ahead of the surface low, a stationary front extends across South Central Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. To the south of the front, temperatures are in the 60s with 70s over southern Louisiana.
The warm, moist air, aided by daytime sunshine that broke out, is combining with colder air aloft to produce moderate instability.
Thunderstorms have broken out in this warm, moist airmass and have been very organized, with significant amounts of wind shear (50-60 knots). They have been severe, with numerous reports of hail. Wind damage has been reported near Alexandria LA and near Natchez MS. The storms have been prolific hail producers as well, with numerous reports of 1-1.75 inch hail across a long swath from near De Ridder LA to near Jackson MS.
A possible tornado was reported at 430 pm in Copiah County Mississippi. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of eastern Texas, Louisiana and southern Mississippi. More tornado watches will be issued later this evening into Southwest Alabama.
Now, as the storms approach the stationary front, they become elevated, meaning that their bases are well above the surface. This means that the rotation will likely stay aloft as well, and the tornado threat should diminish. But large hail will still be a threat.
ALABAMA TIMING AND IMPACT
These storms are moving ENE at 35-40 mph. They will reach western Alabama between 730 and 830 p.m. For areas south of a line from Aliceville to Moundville to Selma and points south, the storms could produce isolated severe weather reports. Further south, south of a line from Butler to Monroeville could produce more significant severe weather. Damaging winds and hail will be the highest threats, but there is a decent chance of a tornado in Southwest Alabama in counties like Choctaw, Clarke, Monroe, Escambia, Washington, Mobile and Baldwin.
Moderate to heavy rain will start overspreading West Alabama between 7-8 p.m. and will continue until after midnight. 1 to 2 inch rainfall amounts will be widespread. There is a flash flood watch for the Tennessee Valley.
This system will explode as impressive energy aloft helps to intensify the as it makes the turn up the East Coast later tonight. The blizzard watch has been upgraded to a blizzard warning for the D.C area, where up to 25 inches could fall inside the Beltway. If that happens, it could be the 2nd biggest snowstorm in the history of our nation’s capital. It certainly looks like it will easily be a top five storm.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES ISSUED IN ALABAMA
As the big storms winds up and heads northeast, colder air will be drawn into Alabama and will combine with a large reservoir of leftover moisture over the southeast. The best accumulations of snow will extend across northern Tenenssee and Kentucky, wrapping back into northern North Carolina and up through West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic.
But here in Alabama, we expect ¼ to 1 inch of snow across much of North Central Alabama, with some dustings as far south as Clanton or perhaps Montgomery. The Tennessee Valley could see 2-3 inches.
The NWS in Huntsville has issued a winter weather advisory starting at noon tomorrow for their northwestern counties (Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, and Limestone) and at 6 p.m. tomorrow for their northeast counties (Cullman, De Kalb, Jackson, Madison, Marshall, and Morgan). The advisories currently go until early Saturday morning.
The NWS in Birmingham has issued winter weather advisories starting at noon tomorrow and lasting until 6 a.m. Saturday for Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston Counties.
Are you a snow lover? Looking for that first snow? Well, the NOAA Climate Center has created the perfect graphic for you. That graphic, shown below, shows the historic date of the first snow. Unfortunately for those of us who like to see a good snow, much of the Southeast US does not historically see their first snow until December or January. And I just love the gray dots over the Florida Peninsula showing that a snow event is too rare to analyze.
Anyone up for a field trip, say to the Rockies and a higher elevation to catch where snow has already fallen?