Snow FAQ

| January 6, 2010 @ 11:56 am | 42 Replies

We have done our best to handle these questions over the past few days, but again here are some answers to your questions…

WHEN WILL IT SNOW? Based on new model guidance this morning, we will adjust the time a bit to reflect a slower arrival. The main window for snow will be from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. tomorrow. The snow will begin initially over West Alabama, possible as early as 7:00 a.m., then spreading east during the day. All of the snow should out of the state by 10:00 p.m.

HOW MUCH? No change. The best chance of 1 to 2 inches on the ground will be between a line from Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston on the north (I-20), to a line from Demopolis to Billingsley to Alexander City to Lafayette on the south. North of Birmingham, the 12Z models are slightly more aggressive with the moisture, but we still project 1 inch for most places north of I-20. A wintry mix is likely for Montgomery south.

WHAT ABOUT DRIVING CONDITIONS? Soil temps are low, the highway infrastructure is cold, so we do expect slick spots on bridges and the roads over higher terrain as early as tomorrow afternoon (2 to 5 p.m.), continuing tomorrow night into Friday morning. Driving will be tricky and somewhat hazardous in the 4:00 p.m. Thursday to 9:00 a.m. Friday time frame. Remember, we are just talking 1 to 2 inches of snow, but slick spots are likely.

While we will stay below freezing through the entire weekend, evaporation will mean improving road conditions during the day Friday, and only isolated trouble is expected Friday night through the weekend. But, any moisture on thee road then will be ice.

WHAT ABOUT THE AIRPORT? We expect no major issues at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, but some delays are possible.

POWER OUTAGES? Remember, we are talking light snow here, and not ice, so no significant power outages are expected. The outage this morning over West Alabama was related to a transmission line failure.

SCHOOLS? Officials will make that call later today or tonight, and we will post the closings on the main ABC 33/40 web site as we get information. We do know that Cullman County schools have decided to close tomorrow and Friday.

I will have the complete afternoon discussion and Weather Xtreme video posted by 3:30… stay tuned!


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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

Comments (42)

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  1. JVILLE says:

    hey folks i’m from florida but i now live in montgomery. I’m not like go blue. what is a wintry mix. Can I expect to recieve any accumulations from the wintry mix ? ROLL TIDE!

  2. ted says:

    I have one question for the 3340 weather office and one comment: How come James Spann is saying look for 1-2 inches, yet Jason Simpson is saying 1-3 inches. I’m not bashing anyone, but if y’all work together wouldn’t y’all have the same numbers?

    As an Alabama fan, a 3340 fan, and a sportstalk radio fan I find it quite ironic how on Monday Finebaum was blasting about the possibility of 3340 breaking in to report snow flurries, yet WJOX can’t even get a good signal or stream broadcast from LA. I found that funny the broadcast kept cutting out. Its just their job. “you should sweep around your door before you sweep around others”

  3. NewHope says:

    Ted – not necessarily. James said this morning that he and Jason had a difference of opinion on the accumulation. That’s common with weather – it’s all interpretation and educated guesses with models and data since none of us really know the outcome until it gets here.

  4. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the updates!!!!

  5. lee county says:

    so with it coming in slower, does that help places like smiths station and mont? thanks

  6. Tracy says:

    Does anyone have the 12:00pm temps for Pleasant Grove and Sylvan Springs?

  7. JVILLE says:

    hey LEE COUNTY i’m from florida but i now live in montgomery. I’m not like go blue. what is a wintry mix. Can I expect to recieve any accumulations from the wintry mix ? ROLL TIDE!

  8. Geo says:

    Huntsville stations are calling for most of the accumulation from B’ham north and the B’ham stations are saying south. We shall see.

    I’m betting nothing on the ground with only a few flurries

  9. lee county says:

    JVille…..a wintry mix is rain, sleet and snow. Mont looks to start with rain and then have a mix then to all snow. we wont really know how much snow u will get until it happens cause the temps and amount of precip will change everything. right now, it looks like best .5 but it could be 1.0. it looks to be coming in later now and maybe there will be more precip around during the night when the temps cool down more.

  10. Mark says:

    The weather channel is saying that Birmingham is going to get less than an inch of snow. I hope they’re wrong because i really want UAB to close on thurs and Friday 🙂

  11. Davis says:

    I bet the storm stays North of Bham and misses us totally. At the last minute it will turn. That seems to be what always happens. We rush out and get as much Milk and Bread as the stores have and then boom, it just goes bad in the fridge. (I hope I am wrong)

    Cullman Cnty closed for two days…. Really!

    Anyway if it snows have fun and enjoy. If it is cold you might just as well be able to play in it.

  12. Tornado Tracker says:

    Mark: that just proves that nobody, including ABC 33/40, knows what’s going to happen. They are all simply making their best educated guess. By this time, model output and whatever are useless…time to just look out the window and see what happens.

  13. Ashley says:

    Calhoun County is letting out at 11 tomorrow and will decide about Friday sometime tomorrow.

  14. ash from pelham says:

    I’ll bet that we get exactly has been forecast. The consistency of the forecast is appreciated, and should be spot on!

  15. Clint says:

    The predicted Alabama temps for tommorrow have risen by about 3 degrees throughout the day on different weather related websites. I smell a rat!

  16. Brandon in Atlanta says:

    I for one admire a tv stations with weather greats such as Jason and James that are allowed to disagree or not completly forecast exactly what the other is forecasting. Thats better to know then knowing the station has several meteorlogist that are told to forecast exactly what the chief forecaster is forecasting.

    RPM model seems to be coming in a little warmer. Keeping it all rain to the south with a mix up the 20 corridor before changing to snow. Here in Atlanta, our forecasters are coming in with the same idea of an inch (with the mountains picking up on 2 to 3 inches). The biggest difference I can find with the forecasts from the area is the idea of heavier snowfall amounts south of I 20. I’m not seeing that with any of the model runs and actually its beginning to look a little wetter (possible a wintry mix south of 20).

    The funniest part of all this to me is not the snow but the aftermath to see which forecast pans out the best and why… I’m just a weather geek though!

  17. jen says:

    yeah and the temp was supposed to get up to around 44 today and I def do not see that happening

  18. Jeff says:

    High resolution WRF model looks really good. When you see green echos showing up, that could be some moderate precipitation….

  19. mom_in_walker says:

    New Graphic from NWS B’ham…

    shows north of B’ham getting sweet spot!!! Hoora…no offense guys…but, Walker has missed out on every snow chance for 7 years now! I am ready for some snow….please, please, please, let it snow…lol.

  20. Snowangel says:

    I hear ya Mom! I just wished it showed a little more snoowwww!!

  21. Yvonne says:

    Refreshing my page isn’t working to be able to see all comments on a post, so sorry to post this just to see them. I think my browser may be having trouble handling the traffic or graphics or something on this site.

  22. Clint says:

    All of us who love snow will be sorely disappointed this time tomorrow, I’m afraid.

  23. Clint says:

    As usual.

  24. JVILLE says:

    hey Lee county if the precip comes in later won’t the temps be higher meaning just rain for our area. then

  25. HelenaRyan says:

    Well it looks like there is going to be a bit more moisture with this now. Don’t pay much attention to the GFS line on temps and where the cutoff will be as the GFS has not hit the temps correctly on these models in about 3 months. I think the best chances of a snow of over 2″s is going to be a line from Clanton to Ashland to the south and to the North from Jasper to Gadsden. I think the closer to the south the better chance of a higher snow amount as the northern side will be void of as much moisture. Once you get into the east side of the Ga Mtns…then it could get more. I think the ratio will come in around 15:1 right now Again dont trust where the GFS says the cut off will be…the temps will be lower as the GFS has been off all year about this.

  26. dadbud says:

    How will it snow if it’s 41 degrees tomorrow?

  27. chris says:

    Interesting to note that the NWS out of Birmingham has sleet I-20 south turning to rain then a rain/sleet mix then a short changeover to snow tomorrow with the 1-2 inches north of Birmingham.

  28. HelenaRyan says:

    You will prolly have to go down to about Dothan or Enterprise before you would see 41 deg temps tomorrow.

  29. Carman says:

    Why is the national weather service calling for less than one inch???

  30. tiger says:

    Does anybody know the latest GFS run? Is it 12z or 18z?

  31. chris says:

    18z nam comes out in about an hour. 18z gfs comes out around 3:30-4. It is hard for me to believe that we will reach the 40 degree mark as forecasted by the models in Central albama tomorrow considering the cold air in place.

  32. elizabeth says:

    Carmen, if you click on the tabs that show 12-3 pm, 3-6 pm, and snow total, it shows 1-2″. I was majorly disappointed until I saw those tabs!

  33. mom_in_walker says:

    NAM is just now running….GFS won’t for another hour or longer…HelenaRyan…I agree…I am hoping that the moisture surging up through Texas right now will hook up with the front.

  34. HelenaRyan says:

    Look Guys its time to just peek at the graphics but now its time to look out to the northwest/west and watch. ITs 36 degrees in Birmingham and surrounding areas are colder…thats the warmest its going to be for the next prolly 120 hours…The colder air isn’t going to be the issue and the NWS is looking too much IMHO at the laste GFS on the rain snow line…its clear now and its going to get cold tonight prolly mid and upper teens…and we do not have a warm front moving in tonight so the thinking that its going to somehow warm up to cause ice and all is a non issue…It will stay below freezing tomorrow for most everyone who is about 50 miles south of I-20/59. Trying to predict where and when even now is just like shooting darts in the dark.

  35. snonotsi says:

    How many times does James have to say it? THE MODELS DON”T HANDLE THE COLD AIR GOOD.

  36. mom_in_walker says:

    Off the 18z NAM….here is partial….will post more when it pops up…

  37. HelenaRyan says:

    I don’t know why there is the thinking that warm air is going to be pulled into this thing and cause icing near Bham and southward…where is the warm air…the upper gulf is shut off the only warm air entering this thing is coming out of south texas and moisture is coming with it. I think right now if your temp is say anywhere below 40 deg at this moment…all you will see from this is snow. Temps tonight will fall into the mid and upper teens as far south as Montgomery…that would have to be one whale of a warm up to get them evev on the borderline. I am just confused by some of this predicting of ice. It might happen but the upper air is just way way too cold.

  38. mom_in_walker says:

    here is the rest for Thursday and Friday morn…Looks a bit drier and colder…so better for Montgomery to have some snow too! But, really, now is the time to just sit back and watch…how much will the gulf open up??? How far north will the front track? All of that up in the air.

  39. adam says:

    question helen and others …what factors are we looking at right now that will change this thing? thanks

  40. mammato4 says:

    Jefferson County schools will be closed Thursday!!

  41. WeatherGal says:

    Gee, never mind James’ and Tim’s education and expertise, just listen to Clint! He obviously is omniscient.

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