**Brian Peters will be along with the regular morning discussion and Weather Xtreme video shortly**
ENJOY TODAY: We expect a sunny sky today with a high around 60 degrees… but much colder air blows in here tomorrow, and things go downhill quickly after midnight Sunday night.
WINTER STORM WATCH: NWS offices in Huntsville and Birmingham have issued a winter storm watch for late Sunday night (after midnight) and Monday… this discussion will mainly involve “round one” of this winter storm which comes Monday.
TIMING: Wintry precipitation will begin over far Northwest Alabama around midnight tomorrow night; it will expand and cover much of North and Central Alabama by 3-5 a.m. Temperatures should creep above freezing at some point Monday afternoon with slow improvement, but expect very hazardous travel conditions between midnight tomorrow night and 3:00 p.m. Monday. However, icy travel could linger into Monday night for far North Alabama, mainly north of the Tennessee River.
ACCUMULATION POTENTIAL: We project 2-4 inches of snow for that part of Alabama north of a line from Vernon to Jasper to Oneonta to Gadsden. To the south, it will be mostly freezing rain and sleet, where ice accumulations to 0.3″ are possible. Remember, this is just a guideline; the precipitation type won’t change exactly along these lines.
Some icy spots are possible as far south as U.S. 80 (Demopolis to Selma to Montgomery to Opelika), but it will be mostly rain for those communities, and points south.
IMPACT: Travel will be severely impacted, with bridges becoming ice covered quickly. With temperatures in the 20s early Monday morning, even black top roads can become ice covered and very dangerous. While major, widespread power outages are not expected for now, where ice does accumulate to 0.3″, some power outages are possible. Preparing for power outages is never a bad idea, in case a worst case scenario develops.
ALABAMA POWER IS READY, ARE YOU? Our friends at Alabama Power are monitoring the forecast closely, ready to deploy people and assets to quickly address any outages that might occur. Read a special message from Ike Piggot about their commitment to their customers.
WIND CHILL ADVISORY: We should also mention the NWS Huntsville has issued a wind chill advisory for tomorrow; wind chill values could drop below zero at times as the cold air rushes in.
CONFIDENCE: Our forecast confidence is relatively high for the events expected Monday.
IMPORTANT: Please read this post about winter weather forecasting. As you know, we have a limited skill set in dealing with winter storms in Alabama, and forecast changes are very possible as we get closer to the event. Be sure and check the blog often this weekend.
ROUND TWO: For now we expect just a cold rain Monday night, but there is a decent chance the rain changes to snow on Tuesday before it all ends.
This looks like a rather quick hitting event, but it could produce snow amounts of 1-2 inches during the day Tuesday, with accumulation possible as far south as a line from Eutaw to Centreville to Calera to Sylacauga to Roanoke. Confidence is lower in this forecast, and the exact impact remains uncertain. However, there is real chance it could impact travel Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night, and possibly Wednesday morning across North and Central Alabama. We will be much more specific about this threat tomorrow.
Wednesday looks cold and dry.
Stay tuned for frequent updates throughout the weekend.