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COLD CORE ON THE WAY: At 5:00 this morning, Lake Charles, Louisiana is reporting snow with 33 degrees. Moderate snow is falling at Baton Rouge with 34 degrees and 1/2 mile visibility. I would imagine the college kids at LSU are having a blast.
Other late reports from the west:
*WDAM-TV reports large snow flakes are now falling in Hattlesburg
*WAPT-TV reports snow is beginning to accumulate in McComb, MS
*WBRZ-TV reporting convective snow (snow with thunder) in Baton Rouge
From the Jackson, MS NWS IM confernce:
JAN: Hattiesburg [Forrest Co, MS] emergency mngr reports SNOW of M0.5 INCH at 06:27 AM CST — there are now reports of up to half an inch of accumulation on grassy surfaces and bushes…and also on cartops.
JAN: 5 Ne Bude [Franklin Co, MS] trained spotter reports SNOW of U0.0 INCH at 06:30 AM CST — snow beginning to accumulate in the eastern part of franklin county with moderate snow falling
JAN: Brookhaven [Lincoln Co, MS] dept of highways reports SNOW of E0.0 INCH at 06:30 AM CST — snow beginning to accumulate on bridges and overpasses…and three car accidents have already been reported.
JAN: Columbia [Marion Co, MS] law enforcement reports SNOW of M0.5 INCH at 06:32 AM CST — reports of half an inch of snow in the city of columbia.
That cold upper low is moving in our direction, and will bring snow to parts of Alabama today. As we have discussed many times here this week, you can pretty throw out model data when working with these things; simply look out the window and use observed weather as your main guide.
WHAT HAPPENS IN ALABAMA: As the dynamic cooling process begins today under the cold core upper low, temperatures in the lower column of the atmosphere will fall, and the rain should change to snow. Snow flakes are possible all the way down into Southwest Alabama, where the NWS in Mobile has issued a winter weather advisory for Choctaw, Washington, and Clarke counties. Most communities north of a line from Chatom to Demopolis to Birmingham to Gadsden have a decent chance of seeing snow flakes, but I still think the best chance of accumulating snow will be over Northwest Alabama.
Watch the Weather Xtreme video, and you can see the banding effect should set up in the general area from Columbus and Tupelo to Hamilton and to Moulton and Athens. This is where heavy, wet snow could develop, producing possible 3 inch amounts on grassy areas. There is usually a small strip with heavier amounts, and no human knows exactly where that will happen this morning. We will just have to wait and watch. I would say the counties with the best chance of 1 to 3 inches on grassy areas today will be Pickens, Lamar, Fayette, Winston, Marion, Lawrence, Franklin, Colbert, and Limestone.
For the I-59 corridor, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Gadsden, there could be enough snow for a dusting in grassy areas later today.
IMPORTANT POINTS: As we have said all week, the ground is warm, and surface temperatures are not expected to drop below freezing, so there should be no travel problems. Even up in Northwest Alabama, where 1 to 3 inches of snow is possible on grassy areas, the roads should be simply wet. This will not be an event that will disrupt everything. And, where the snow accumulates on the grass, it won’t last long; a strong December sun tomorrow will melt it all away.
And, the most important point is that we have little skill in forecasting an event like this, so all of this could change as the day progresses.
The sky will clear quickly tonight, and sunshine returns tomorrow with a high in the 47 to 51 degree range.
WEEKEND AND BEYOND: Cool and dry weather is the story for the weekend with highs in the 50s on Saturday, then approaching 60 on Sunday. Early next week, there could be enough moisture for a few isolated showers Monday and Tuesday, with a slightly better chance of showers Wednesday as a stalled front just north of here drifts southward. A ridge nosing into Alabama from the Gulf will prevent any cold air from reaching us next week.
In fact, the weather for the latter half of December will be relatively mild as the coldest air will settle into the western U.S. Hopes for a White Christmas in Alabama look very very small this year, as usual. See the Weather Xtreme video for more.
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We will have frequent updates today… so stay tuned. The next Weather Xtreme video will be posted here by 3:30 this afternoon.