Some Snow on Christmas, But How Much?

| December 23, 2010 @ 6:15 am | 87 Replies

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COLD MORNING: Much colder this morning, with most communities below freezing at 5:00 a.m. Look for ample sunshine today along with a high in the upper 40s. We stay dry tomorrow, with a high somewhere between 52 and 56 along with a partly sunny sky. OK… that is the boring stuff. Let’s move on to…

CHRISTMAS DAY: Again, I encourage all of you to watch the Weather Xtreme video for all of the graphics and maps that go along with this discussion. But, here is where we stand early this morning…

*Confidence is high that we begin the day with rain (for North-Central Alabama, and the I-20/59 corridors), with a change to light snow at some point during the midday or afternoon hours.

*Re-read the first point… we start the day with rain. Do not expect to look out the window early Saturday morning with gentle snow flakes falling in your front yard as the kids open the presents. That is a wonderful scene in our minds, but we do not expect that to happen unless you are in Tennessee that early in the day. Sorry.

*There is a bewildering model spread with moisture and UVV fields, making for a low confidence forecast on the timing of the snow changeover, and the available moisture for snow. Again, watch the video.

*This will not be a big winter storm… long time readers here know me well enough to understand I have not been bullish on this system all week, and I still don’t expect anything more than a dusting to 1/2 inch for North-Central Alabama. The evidence is simply not there at this point. The best chance of getting more than 1/2 inch will be over Northeast Alabama, and even there the risk is marginal. Don’t get the kids excited about making a snowman… you might have enough for that, but I doubt it.

*To technically have “white Christmas”, we need to have more than a dusting, but there is some chance we get 1/2 inch at Birmingham by Saturday evening. Just a chance.

*The main window for light snow will be from about 2:00 until 10:00 p.m. Saturday. The change begins up north, and spreads south through the afternoon and evening hours. For some of you, the change won’t happen until the sun goes down.

*We do not expect any travel issues during the day Saturday with temperatures generally in the mid 30s, above freezing. The roads will be just wet. However, there could be some icy spots on bridges Saturday night as temperatures drop down into the 20s.

*For our friends in South Alabama, there could be a few snow flakes Saturday evening as far south as Camden, Greenville, Troy, and Eufaula, but no accumulation is expected there. The bulk of the precipitation will fall in the form of rain down south.

BOTTOM LINE: For Saturday the day will be breezy and sharply colder, with rain during the morning changing to light snow during the afternoon and evening hours. Nothing more than a dusting to 1/2 inch. Hopefully somebody will see enough to make a snowman, but that will be a stretch for most places.

SUNDAY/EARLY NEXT WEEK: Very cold air settles in here. We won’t get out of the 30s Sunday despite a sunny sky, and we will drop into the 17-22 degree range early Monday and Tuesday morning.

LONG RANGE: The GFS continues to advertise a big warm up as we head toward the New Year, and it still paints a picture where some strong storms could be involved in the December 31-January 2 time frame. The NAO flip to positive will make it hard to get really cold air down into this part of the nation for any length of time during the first half of January. It can turn cold, but it is just harder for that to happen.

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 3:30 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

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Category: Alabama's Weather

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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.

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