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Cold, Snow, Rain, Storms

| 6:14 am March 21, 2013

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MUST BE MARCH IN ALABAMA: Quite the weather smorgasbord in the forecast this morning. Let’s take one event at a time…

SNOW/SLEET TONIGHT: The NWS in Birmingham has decided to issue a “winter weather advisory” for five counties in the far northern part of their CWA (County Warning Area)… Marion, Winston, Blount, Etowah, and Cherokee. Please note that Cullman, while in our (Birmingham) TV market, is in the Huntsville NWS CWA, and Huntsville has opted not to issue an advisory.

Not much change in our overall thinking. Precipitation will move into Alabama tonight, and the evaporative cooling effect should bring snow and some sleet to areas generally along and north of U.S. 278… or a line from Hamilton to Cullman to Gadsden. There could be enough snow for a little accumulation, mostly on grassy areas. And, with surface temperatures nearing freezing late tonight and early tomorrow, there might be a slick spot or two, but most places will hold in the mid 30s and widespread travel problems are not anticipated.

Down this way, a little sleet or a few snow flakes are possible as far south as Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Anniston, but it should be mostly light rain.

RAIN TOMORROW: The day tomorrow looks wet and chilly. Cloudy with periods of light rain; the high will be only in the low 50s. Rain amounts should be under one-half inch.

STORMS SATURDAY: SPC has introduced the standard “slight risk” of severe weather for the southern half of Alabama Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. A warm front will be moving northward during the day, and the position of that front will determine who will have the severe weather risk.

For now, it looks like the most unstable air will be south of a line from Livingston to Clanton to Roanoke, but we can’t rule out a severe storm farther north by Saturday evening. While bulk shear numbers are not overwhelming, values are high enough for an isolated tornado threat. Keep in mind this is Palm Sunday weekend, and many people will be traveling and “off the grid”, so try your best to stay in touch with weather developments.

COLDER SUNDAY: Finally getting some better clarity on Sunday. The day will be colder; some lingering light rain or drizzle is possible and the sky will be cloudy. Temperatures could very well fall into the 50-55 degree range during the day with a chilly north wind following the passage of a surface low Saturday night.

FREEZE POTENTIAL NEXT WEEK: The week will be dry, but cold for late March. We will have the potential for a freeze Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning. See the Weather Xtreme video for details, graphics, and maps.

AT THE BEACH: Dry today with ample sunshine, but a few showers or storms are possible tomorrow and Saturday; just a slight risk of a shower Sunday. Highs will be in the 60s along the immediate coast. Most of next week will be dry with sunny days and fair nights, but temperatures will be cool with a high around 60 degrees each afternoon. The sea water temperature at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab this morning is only 63 degrees.

WEATHER RADIO HELP: We will be at the Publix in Chelsea today evening from 3:30 until 6:30… if you need help with a weather radio, have questions, or need to buy one, then come see us. Every Alabama home and business needs one; Monday’s severe weather event was a great reminder of that.

ON THIS DATE IN 1932: At least 315 Alabamians were killed in our most deadly tornado outbreak on record (the death toll on April 27, 2011 was 252). Tornadoes touched down during at mid-afternoon near Demopolis. This was followed a short time later by a tornado near Linden and Faunsdale. Then a major F4 tornado hit Northport, killing 37 people along the 20 mile path. Cullman County felt the fury next, as 18 people died around Phelan, Bolti, Berlin and Fairview. The action shifted south next, with a disastrous tornado that killed 49 from Perry to Coosa County, hitting Chilton County hard. Columbiana was struck around 5:10 p.m., and 14 people died there. Another tornado paralleled the first Chilton County tornado, killing another 31 people. Near Plantersville, the Lathem family was nearly wiped out. Around 7 p.m, the activity shifted back southwest, with a tornado touch down near Greensboro. Shortly after that, people cleaning up from the first Faunsdale tornado watched in disbelief as another tornado passed nearby.

A deadly tornado targeted Gantt’s Quarry in Talladega County and then hit Sylacauga just after 7 p.m. 29 people died there. A second tornado passed near Sylacauga about an hour later. The event would hop to North Alabama, where deadly tornadoes skipped across Lawrence and Morgan Counties, then hit the Battle Ground area of Cullman county and finally wrapped up in a deadly way as a family of tornadoes killed 32 people mainly across rural Jackson County.

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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I will be doing a weather program this morning at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day…

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