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Some Freezing Rain Early Tomorrow For North/East Alabama

| 3:10 pm January 24, 2013

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THIS AFTERNOON: A cold front bisects Alabama. North of the front, at 2:00 Decatur reports a chilly 43 degrees, while south of the boundary Montgomery reports 66. Nice 23 degree spread on either side of the front. Cold air will win the battle tonight as the front continues to move slowly to the south.

ICING ISSUES: The NWS offices in Birmingham and Huntsville continue a freezing rain advisory for these Alabama counties late tonight and tomorrow…

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 2.23.36 PM

Not much overall change in our thinking; temperatures will be at or just below freezing over parts of North and East Alabama after midnight, and as precipitation moves in, we have potential for a little freezing rain.

I think the best chance of really significant bridge icing is along and east of a line from Athens to Gadsden to Anniston to Roanoke, everybody in the advisory area will need to take it easy driving, and watch for icing on bridges and overpasses. Temperatures will rise above freezing by mid-morning, with the possible exception of Jackson, DeKalb, and Cherokee Counties, where some patchy bridge ice would linger into the midday hours.

This is not the kind of event that will bring heavy ice accumulation, and no power outages are expected. And, no snow since the cold air is too shallow.

Rain will end from west to east tomorrow afternoon; totals should be under 1/2 inch.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Cool and dry weather is the story; highs in the 50s Saturday and Sunday with a partly sunny sky both days. Early morning lows will be near the freezing mark.

SEVERE WEATHER NEXT WEEK: We warm up in a big way early next week; maybe even reaching 70 degrees by Tuesday afternoon ahead of a storm system lifting out of the Southwest U.S. SPC has much of Arkansas and some of the adjacent states outlooked for severe weather on Tuesday, and we could very well be dealing with strong to severe storms late Tuesday night into Wednesday. Still way too early to be really specific on this threat. Colder and drier air follows the rain Thursday.

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I am headed down to the BJCC where I will be the Ringmaster for opening night of the circus…. look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

Freezing Rain Advisory Late Tonight/Early Tomorrow

| 6:16 am January 24, 2013

An all new edition of the ABC 33/40 Weather Xtreme video is available in the player on the right sidebar of the blog. You can subscribe to the Weather Xtreme video on iTunes by clicking here.

ON THE MAPS: A cold front is moving into North Alabama this morning, being pushed southward by a big 1045 mb high over northern Minnesota, where Crane Lake reports 36 below zero as I write this. This front will push down toward the U.S. 80 corridor by midday, setting up a huge thermal contrast across our state today.

Over North Alabama, temperatures will hover in the 40s, maybe even dropping a few degrees during the day. But, south of the front over the southern counties of the state, it will be a mild day with highs in the 60s. There might be a touch of light rain or a few sprinkles around, but the day should be generally dry despite the front.

ICING ISSUES LATE TONIGHT EARLY TOMORROW: With a shallow layer of cold air in place, and a batch of precipitation moving in from the west, the stage is set for a little freezing rain late tonight and early tomorrow over parts of North and East Alabama. Freezing rain is not sleet (ice pellets), it is liquid that falls when surface temperatures are at or below freezing. Accordingly, exposed objects can get a coating of ice.

The NWS offices in Huntsville and Birmingham have issued a “freezing rain advisory” for these Alabama counties…

Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence, Limestone, Morgan, Cullman, Madison, Jackson, Marshall, DeKalb, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, St. Clair, Calhoun, Cleburne, Talladega, Clay, and Randolph.

This includes cities like Gadsden, Anniston, Fort Payne, Oneonta, Pell City, Sylacauga, Ashland, Lineville, Roanoke, and Heflin. It does not include the Birmingham metro or Tuscaloosa.

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Here are some important points about this event…

*The main issue within the advisory is the potential for bridge icing. You will also see a little ice accumulating in trees and other exposed objects, but the precipitation is expected to be light, not enough for power outages. If you are driving across North or East Alabama late tonight or early tomorrow, just be aware that there could be some icy patches on bridges and overpasses.

*The main window for this light freezing rain is from about 11:00 p.m. tonight through 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. Temperatures should warm above freezing easily by mid-morning in the advisory area; the exception could be a few colder pockets across Jackson and DeKalb Counties of far Northeast Alabama, where a few icy spots could linger through midday.

*There is NO snow involved; the cold air is very shallow.

See the Weather Xtreme video for the graphics, maps, and more details. Otherwise… tomorrow will be cloudy and wet day with periods of rain and a high in the low 50s.

THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday and Sunday will be dry and cool with seasonal temperatures; highs in the 50s, and lows at or a little below freezing both mornings. The sky will be partly sunny.

SEVERE WEATHER NEXT WEEK? Our active weather continues. Temperatures warm into the 60s early next week with increasing moisture levels as a major upper trough begins to lift out of the Southwest U.S. SPC has much of Arkansas and the Mid-South in a severe weather risk on Tuesday, and we could very well have a similar issue here in Alabama Wednesday with very unstable air in place and some decent dynamic support. But, there is simply no way of resolving details of this system so far in advance. See the Weather Xtreme video for the details and maps.

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I will be doing a weather program today at Bluff Park Elementary School in Hoover… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

Some Sleet Reported

| 12:38 am December 18, 2010 | Comments (10)

Just received a report at 12:52 of light rain/sleet mixed at Bluff Park with a temperature of 34F. Another report of some sleet in Hoover.

We appreciate any reports you can give out there across the area overnight…just add a comment…next update by 2:30 a.m.

Redrew this map slightly after looking at temperatures in the Northwest corner of the state. Those increasing precip echoes over there will probably become snow pretty quickly.

Some definite reports of sleet from Northeast Alabama over the past 30 minutes. Vic Bell up on Lookout Mountain reported sleet and relayed a report from Altoona of sleet. Daniel over in Oxford reported very light sleet with a temperature of 36.6F.

Precipitation echoes have picked up in the past 15 minutes over Northeast Mississippi. This will likely produce sleet over North Alabama that will change over to snow eventually as colder temperatures aloft move in.

Down to our southeast, those bright echoes southwest of Tuscaloosa are definitely all rain. There could be some sleet at the onset, but I think the Tuscaloosa area should be just fine.

Areas north and east of the yellow line in this graphic have the best chances for seeing freezing rain or sleet through the early morning hours.

The precipitation should mix with and possibly change over to light snow around sunrise as far south as a line Millport to the northern Birmingham Metro over into East Central Alabama, possibly as far south as Ashland and Wedowee.

Some bridge icing is possible in areas that see snow or freezing rain, as well as heavier sleet. Keep apprised of the latest conditions before heading out this morning.

Cold, Wet, Icy Day

| 6:16 am December 15, 2010 | Comments (8)

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WATCH FOR BRIGE ICING: This is going to be one of those days where it looks like just a cold and rainy day as you look outside the window, but we are still concerned that ice will form on bridges in a few spots, making for some tricky travel as the day progresses.

THIS MORNING: We are hearing reports of a light glaze of ice in East Mississippi in places like Columbus and Starkville, where temperatures are generally between 30 and 32. Bridges in Lowndes County, Mississippi (Columbus area) are being salted now by MDOT trucks. In Alabama, we are also hearing of some ice on exposed surfaces over Pickens County. Our Skywatcher in Coker, west of Tuscaloosa, reports 34 degrees with some light rain at 5:00.

REST OF THE DAY: The light precipitation will spread northeast. We note the air in the low levels is still very dry; the dewpoint in Birmingham at 5:00 is only 10 degrees. This means we will probably see a little sleet as it begins, and it also means temperatures will drop a bit initially due to the evaporative cooling process (wet bulbing).

We now believe the greatest chance of significant bridge icing will be north of a line from Sulligent to Gardendale to Jacksonville. However, south of that line there could be a few icy spots as well. There is certainly concern over the Birmingham interstate system, which is mostly elevated through the downtown area.

So, again, everybody over North Alabama will just need to be very careful on bridges and overpasses today. Doesn’t take much with the cold infrastructure for ice to form. We just received word from the NWS in Birmingham that they will be issuing a freezing rain advisory for the potential for icy spots on bridges….

The good news is that this isn’t a long term problem; temperatures will rise steadily tonight, and even the cold northeast part of the state should be above freezing by 9:00 p.m.

TOMORROW: Much warmer. Cloudy with periods of rain, and a high in the upper 50s. Some spots south and west of Birmingham will see the low 60s. Quite a contrast to the Arctic chill of recent days.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: The front drops south again and we turn colder on Friday with temperatures in the 40s most of the day. Some scattered light rain will remain possible.

A rather challenging forecast for the weekend… most major models have backed off on the intensity of a surface low that will form in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is farther south. This means any precipitation over Alabama Saturday should be light. The air might be cold enough to support some snow over the far northern part of the state, but most of the precipitation is to the south. For now we will just mention some light rain at times on Saturday with temperatures only in the low to mid 40s.

Sunday will feature clearing and colder weather with a high only around 40 degrees and a very chilly north wind.

CHRISTMAS WEEK: Still too early for a Christmas forecast. Looks like the first part of the week will be generally cool and dry. The 06Z operational GFS shows some pretty cold air dropping in here toward the end of the week; see the Weather Xtreme video for details.

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I will be doing a weather program at Riverchase Elementary later today… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 3:30 this afternoon. Enjoy the day!

Wednesday Forecast Notes

| 5:53 pm December 13, 2010 | Comments (24)

Here are some points concerning the expected weather in Alabama Wednesday….

*The greatest chance of freezing rain (possibly mixed with sleet) is along and north of a line from Hamilton to Jasper to Birmingham to Roanoke. For now it is unlikely that Tuscaloosa has any icing problems.

*Freezing rain means rain that falls in liquid form when the surface temperature is at or below 32 degrees.

*The precipitation should begin in the 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. time frame.

*The freezing rain should be light, so we won’t expect this to be a major ice storm. In fact, we warm into the 60s on Thursday.

*However, there will be enough freezing rain for ice to form on bridges and overpasses, making for hazardous travel. There might even be some icy spots on road surfaces (not just the bridges) over Northeast Alabama. The greatest concern for the Birmingham metro, as usual in cases like this, is the downtown interstate system, which is mostly elevated.

*Temperatures should ease above the freezing mark in the Birmingham metro area by 1-2 p.m. but parts of Northeast Alabama could stay below freezing much of the day, meaning a longer period of freezing rain and more significant ice accumulations. It is often very hard for the cold air to be scoured out of Northeast Alabama due to the terrain.

Check out the Weather Xtreme video for more details… and scroll down for the full afternoon discussion.

Wednesday Morning Peek

| 9:12 pm December 12, 2010 | Comments (4)

I will have much more about this on the morning Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 tomorrow… but…

Here is the precipitation and 2M temperature output from the RPM valid at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday…

You can see fairly widespread (but light, thankfully) precipitation across North Alabama, with the 32 degree (F) line running from roughly along U.S. 82 (Tuscaloosa to Montgomery). That would mean freezing rain and bridge icing north and east of U.S. 82, if the model is correct. Could be a little messy… stay tuned…