Cold Air Settles Into Alabama

| December 11, 2012 @ 6:02 am

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CHILLY DAY: We are projecting a high of only 48 degrees today; if that verifies it will be our lowest maximum temperature since February 12 of this year when the high was 42. Keep in mind the cold air is shallow, and in the higher levels we still have a southwest flow aloft with a long wave upper trough axis still to the west. Clouds should thicken around here later today and tonight as the trough approaches, but no rain is expected over this part of the state.

TOMORROW: Rain will develop along the Gulf coast tonight and tomorrow; wet weather is likely for places like Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, Dothan, and Ozark, but we stay dry. Clouds tomorrow morning will give way to a partly sunny afternoon; we start the day near freezing, and the high will be in the middle 50s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: Expect a slow warming trend with a good supply of sunshine both days; we will reach the upper 50s Thursday, and a 60 degree high is likely Friday. Mornings will stay cold with lows in the low to mid 30s.

WEEKEND SHOWERS: The next weather system will bring some risk of rain to Alabama over the weekend. The latest GFS in hand suggests the main window for showers here will come from about 9:00 p.m. Saturday to 12:00 noon Sunday. And, with only limited moisture, rain should be on the light side with amounts generally 1/4 inch or less. The high will be near 60 degrees both days.

NEXT WEEK: The surface front is expected to stall somewhere over South Alabama Sunday night, and the GFS keeps showers going on Monday over the southern third of Alabama, while Monday looks cool and dry up our way with a high in the low 50s.

Snow lovers are already talking about the GFS output for Tuesday (December 18, a week from today); the past two runs have shown a deep, cold core upper low over North Alabama with potential for some light rain over the northern half of the state. The very low 1000-500 mb thickness values (below 5400 meters) are certainly attention getting, but that is mainly the result of very cold air aloft, and not really cold air at the surface. But still, under a 500 mb cold core like that (-25 to -30 C), you sure can have some snow, even if surface temperatures are 40 (F) or warmer.

No way we can resolve the issue this far in advance; we will just mention a cold day Tuesday with some risk of rain, and we will fine tune the forecast as the event gets closer.

CHRISTMAS WEATHER: Global models continue to show a pretty chilly look for Alabama around Christmas Day, but no way of knowing now how cold, or the exact timing of the cold air shots. See the Weather Xtreme video for the graphics and details.

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Category: Alabama's Weather

About the Author ()

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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