Looking Back at the Big South/Central Alabama Snow of Jan 19, 2008…

snowfall map 19 Jan 08

Snowfall across Central Alabama is hard to come by, and it takes a perfect combination moisture and cold temperatures to produce it. Even when it becomes likely that the ingredients will be in place for snow, it is usually quite difficult to pinpoint what areas will get the most snow, and how much each area will get.

The signs for a potential winter weather event on Saturday, January 19, started to come into focus earlier in the week. But some computer models predicted very heavy snow for North Alabama, while other models predicted somewhat smaller snowfall potential farther to the south. Once again, the big questions would be, 1) How far north would the really deep moisture needed for snow get, and 2) Would the cold air from an advancing arctic air mass reach the state before the precipitation moved out?

The rain started moving into Central Alabama the evening of Friday, January 18. There was a bit of sleet and snow mixed in with the rain during the overnight hours on January 18 into the early morning of Saturday, January 19. But after a brief lull in the precipitation, the cold air and another batch of moisture met up just perfectly to produce a swath of accumulating snow across the middle of the state during the early daylight hours. This swath was bounded roughly by Interstate 20 on the north side, and Interstate 85 on the south side. The highest totals were in a narrower band, from Sumter and Marengo Counties, northeastward up to Chilton and Coosa Counties. [See map below.] The snow finally tapered off across the state around noon to 1 pm.

Because ground temperatures were just above freezing, much of the snow outside of the highest snow band melted within an hour or two after the snow ended. But not before kids of all ages in many areas were able to go out and play in a rare Central Alabama snow storm.

Source: NWS Birmingham

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

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Nice Now.. Rain Returns Soon… Tuesday Forecast Update – 3:30pm #alwx

Warnings_965

Good Tuesday afternoon! It has turned out to be another very nice winter day across Alabama, with everyone reaching the 60s this afternoon. A few clouds are passing by from time to time, but I don’t expect any issues with rain in the short term. There could be some patchy fog overnight tonight, as moisture levels increase. Expect temperatures to gradually drop into the lower 40s late tonight.

Wednesday will feature another pleasant day, with highs in the lower 60s. A weak cold front passing through Alabama will introduce a light north breeze, along with slightly cooler air temperatures. Expect a partly sunny sky on Wednesday.

A gulf low will organize on Thursday, and will begin to spread clouds into the state during the day on Thursday. There could be a few sprinkles or light rain Thursday afternoon, but the most widespread rain will arrive Thursday night and on Friday. Models now agree that our area will get a soaking rain out of this event. Temperatures will remain too warm for any wintry weather, with a high in the lower 50s on Thursday and near 50 on Friday. overnight temperatures will only drop into the lower 40s at night. As the low departs, some upper level energy or uplift will pass over the area early Saturday. There could still be a shower or two on Saturday, but widespread rain is not expected at this time on Saturday. Temperatures will remain closer to average to end the weekend, with highs in the lower 50s and lows in the 30s.

A clipper type system will spread some clouds into the area on Monday, with a small chance of a few sprinkles. Widespread rain is not expected, and wintry weather looks highly unlikely.

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Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Twitter: Richard_wvua