Still Cold and Wet; Snow Thursday???

| January 15, 2013 @ 6:18 am

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SAME OLE SONG: Thankfully I have heard of no travel issues across Northwest Alabama this morning due to icy spots on bridges. Temperatures are generally in the mid 30s, and roads are simply wet. There might be a cold pocket or two with an isolated icy spot on a bridge, but generally speaking the news is good on travel. Of course, the roads are very wet and you still need to take it easy.

Cold and wet weather continues today with rain and temperatures in the 40s. Flooding remains possible in low spots since the ground is so saturated; average rain totals are in the 2-4 inch range since Saturday.

TOMORROW: The rain won’t be quite as extensive, but still the day will be cool and wet with periods of rain. We just might touch 50 degrees if we are lucky. But, don’t count on it.

WINTER WEATHER MISCHIEF THURSDAY? Cold core upper low, weatherman’s woe. Here we go; a deep, cold 500 mb low is expected to pass right over North-Central Alabama Thursday. The 06Z runs of the GFS and NAM are actually in pretty good agreement now. No doubt Thursday will be cold and wet with rain likely statewide; temperatures should be mostly in the 40s.

But, these cold cores bring dynamic cooling; they literally generate their own cold air from above. This process can change the rain to snow in a heartbeat, and the process is difficult to forecast. One of my greatest forecast busts came on December 14, 1997; our rain forecast didn’t work out so well since Demopolis wound up with 8 inches of snow on that Sunday. The entire U.S. 80 corridor back into Mississippi saw heavy, wet snow. Read more about the event here.

I do think there is a very real possibility that the rain changes to snow along a 50 mile strip under the cold pool Thursday. Exactly where that happens remains to be seen, but it should be somewhere close to I-20. Surface temperatures will be above freezing, and the soil isn’t all that cold, and that should be a limiting factor when it comes to accumulation. But, some places could wind up with an inch or two, and should the 1997 scenario repeat, somebody under a heavy snow burst might see a little more.

But, I despite the snow potential I really don’t think this will be a high impact event. Any accumulation should mostly on grassy areas; roads will be generally wet since temperatures will be above freezing, and I really don’t expect many travel issues. We will just have to watch for any leftover moisture late Thursday night and Friday morning, when temperatures should go below freezing.

The main window for snow will come from about 6:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Thursday. Take a few minutes to watch the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

FINALLY, THE SUN: Sunshine returns Friday with a high in the low 50s as we begin to dry out. Look for similar weather over the weekend; dry and cool with high in the low 50s Saturday, and upper 40s Sunday.

BIG COLD SHOT NEXT WEEK: Models agree the coldest air so far this season will invade the continental U.S. next week in the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame. Looks like highs on Tuesday will be in the 32-36 degree range, with lows by daybreak Wednesday between 12 and 16. These numbers could change, but that is a good “first guess” at the type of cold air we will be dealing with. Temperatures will then begin to moderate a bit by Thursday. No snow; this is a dry airmass.

But, snow lovers will like the voodoo charts late in the month; again see the Weather Xtreme video for them.

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. Scroll down for the snow notes on this week’s new episode we recorded last night. Great to have Bob Baron of Huntsville on the show with us.

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I will be doing a weather program today at Trace Crossings Elementary School in Hoover… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day and stay dry…

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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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