Rain Today; Snow Tomorrow!

| January 16, 2013 @ 6:17 am

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THE DREADED “S” WORD: Before we talk about tomorrow, let’s mention that our weather just won’t change much today. A stalled front is just south of here, and over the northern counties of Alabama low clouds will stay in place with periods of rain. Temperatures won’t get out of the 40s north of Birmingham, but down in South Alabama some places could touch 70 degrees again with a few peeks of sunshine. River flood warnings remain in effect for the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers in West Alabama.

COLD CORE UPPER LOW, WEATHERMAN’S WOE: As stated here many times, we don’t have much skill dealing with these kind of systems, at least in the snow impact. Perhaps I am still haunted by December 14, 1997 when one of these brought 8 inches of unexpected snow to parts of West Alabama below Tuscaloosa. Below is what I expect tomorrow, but also expect a surprise or two.

*The greatest chance of snow tomorrow will come from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The upper low will move pretty quickly, so I doubt if the snow continues much past the lunch hour.

*Due to the warm, wet ground, accumulations should be light, mostly one inch or less. However, parts of East and Northeast Alabama can see 1-2 inches. Maybe some 3+ amounts above 1,500 feet (like Cheaha State Park). The snow accumulation will be mainly on grassy areas.


*Surface temperatures will remain above freezing (you look for freezing temperatures at 5,000 feet to determine the rain/snow line, not at the surface), roads will remain just wet, and we do not expect any significant travel issues. Temperatures won’t go below freezing until late tomorrow night, and most of the moisture will have evaporated off roads by then.

So, the bottom line is that snow is likely over the northern half of Alabama tomorrow, but accumulation should be confined to grassy areas and travel should not be impacted to any serious extent. But, with a cold core upper low, the door is open for surprises, so stay tuned for updates as this thing gets closer. Computer models and meteorologists have really struggled with these things. See the Weather Xtreme video for more details and the maps.

HELLO SUNSHINE: The day many of you have been waiting for will arrive Friday. A sunny sky and warmer temperatures; after a cold, sub-freezing start, we warm to near 50 degrees Friday afternoon.

The weekend will be dry with seasonal temperatures; highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s.

COLD SHOT NEXT WEEK: While the 06Z run of the GFS is not as cold, other GFS runs, and the reliable ECMWF, show the coldest air so far this season invading the U.S. next week. I still believe we won’t get out of the 30s on Tuesday, followed by the potential for lows in the teens Wednesday. The cold air is dry and there is no risk of any winter weather mischief.

THE LAND OF VOODOO: The pattern still looks cold and unsettled during the last week of the month, and the door sure seems open for a Gulf Coast runner or two under the cold air. See the Weather Xtreme video for the maps, graphics, and details.

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I will be doing a weather program this morning at First Baptist Church of Alabaster… look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon. Enjoy the day…

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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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