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Snow Day

| 5:44 am January 17, 2013

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EARLY THIS MORNING: Snow is falling over much of Mississippi, and is about to enter West Alabama at 5:00 a.m. Steady snow is falling in places like Starkville and Philadelphia, MS, and dynamic cooling will impact our western counties soon as the rain changes to snow. The cold core upper low driving this event is between Vicksburg and Jackson, MS just before daybreak, about where it was expected to be. This deep upper low will move right along, or just south of I-20 today.

NO REAL CHANGES: After looking at data this morning, I think the forecast from yesterday still stands…

Screen_Shot_2013-01-16_at_5.15.27_AM

PLACEMENT/AMOUNT: Within that broad area of “2 inches or less”, there could be a few spots with more, but there is no real skill in trying to identify those places. And, the higher snow totals should be across high terrain of East and Northeast Alabama, with potential for more than 3 inches over 1,500 feet. It will be fun to watch the ABC 33/40 SKYCAM at Cheaha State Park later today, where the elevation is 2,407 feet. Almost all of the snow will be on grassy areas.

TIMING: The change from rain to snow will begin over West Alabama in the 5:30-7:00 a.m. time frame. Based on the latest position of the ULL to the west, here are our updated times for the snow to begin…

Tuscaloosa 7-8 a.m.
Birmingham 9-10 a.m.
Anniston/Gadsden 11:00 a.m. to Noon

The snow will end quickly from west to east this afternoon; all of the significant snow should be out of the state by late afternoon.

TRAVEL: As stated here for the last several days, I honestly don’t expect any serious travel issues today. The ground and the infrastructure is warm, and most all of the snow accumulation will be on grass. Roads will be simply wet with surface temperatures remaining above freezing. So, even through you might be looking out the window with a burst of heavy snow, travel won’t be much of a problem. But, remember, we have plenty of wrecks around here with rain falling, and today will be like a “rainy” day on the roads, so take it easy and be careful.

Tonight, temperatures will drop below freezing, and there might be a touch of “black ice” on bridges and overpasses after 10 p.m. But, by then, most of the moisture will have evaporated and the roads will be mostly dry. Pretty much the same story tomorrow morning; maybe a touch of ice in spots where moisture lingers, but most road surfaces will be fine.

SCHOOL DELAYS: Please see the ABC 33/40 site for information about school delays, etc…

WORD OF CAUTION: Also as stated here all week, we have a limited skill set in dealing with cold core upper lows and the amount of snow they bring. I will almost guarantee you there will be a surprise or two today. Maybe a big one. Some will get more snow than they bargained for; others will be greatly disappointed with just a few flakes. Snow doesn’t know to stick to those pretty straight lines we draw on maps, you know.

The National Weather Service continues a “winter storm warning” for much of North-Central Alabama today.

SUNSHINE RETURNS! Finally, the sun will come out tomorrow, in the words of Annie. The high will be in the 47-50 degree range, and the weekend will be dry with seasonal temperatures; highs mostly in the 50s, lows mostly in the 30s (although colder spots will be in the 20s early Saturday morning).

COLD SHOT NEXT WEEK: Much colder air flows into Alabama for the first half of next week. I am beginning to think we will have a hard freeze Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings with lows well down in the 20s; colder spots across North Alabama will have a chance of reaching the upper teens. Highs will be in the 40-45 degree range, but parts of North Alabama might have a tough time getting out of the 30s on Tuesday. The cold air will be dry and there is no risk of snow.

VOODOO LAND: A cold front will bring a chance of rain toward the end of next week, and the 00Z GFS hints at some risk of a change to snow on the back side of that rain mass. And, the pattern still looks cold and unsettled over the last week of January and into early February. We have to wonder if February will make us shiver… see the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and 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.

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We will have updates on the snow here on the blog as the event unfolds today… and the next Weather Xtreme video will be posted by 4:00 this afternoon. Stay tuned…

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Category: Alabama's Weather