Nice Now… Cooler Air Ahead… Wednesday Forecast Update – 5pm #alwx

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Good Wednesday afternoon! Our local weather included sunny skies and very nice conditions for a late January day. Temperatures will gradually drop back into the upper 40s by 7pm, middle 40s at 10pm and lower 40s at midnight. Expect a clear sky overnight, but we should stay above the frost and freeze temperature tonight. Thursday will feature a warmer day as a cold front approaches from the northwest. Highs will reach the middle 60s in many areas, with an increase in clouds. A stray shower or two will be possible on Thursday as the cold front moves through.

Temperatures will drop a bit on Friday and Saturday, with highs dropping back into the lower 50s. Expect a mix of sun and clouds both days, with a higher coverage of clouds on Saturday. I don’t expect rain on Friday, but a passing shower is possible on Saturday. Lows will fall  into the lower 30s Friday night.

A weak storm system will pass over Alabama on Sunday, with a good chance of occasional rain. Temperatures will top out in the upper 50s in most areas on Sunday, with a few low 60s possible if the warm front can move into the area from the south.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Twitter: Richard_wvua

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Looking Back at the Snow Disaster of January 28, 2014… Wednesday Update – 3:45pm #alwx

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Here’s a look back at the winter weather disaster that impacted much of Alabama on the day of January 28, 2014. Thousands of people were stranded on the roads as the snow fell and quickly caused roads to become blocks of ice. It was a bad combination of very cold air, heavy snow, and tons of traffic thrown into the wintry weather at it’s peak. Schools and businesses let out at the same time, causing a rapid increase in traffic. This occurred at the peak of the snow, causing traffic to stop on all roads and interstates in our area. With people stranded in their cars, many hiked in the snow to get to shelter for the night, as temperatures were dangerously cold. Here’s a great re-cap of the event from the National Weather Service in Birmingham:

The Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast states were impacted by a rather significant winter storm during the period of January 28-30, 2014. Central Alabama had it’s encounter with the system on Tuesday, January 28th, when freezing rain and snow fell across much of the area. Below is a recap of the event across NWS Birmingham’s county warning area.

The snow event on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, really began two days earlier on Sunday the 26th. On that Sunday afternoon, it was nearly unfathomable that conditions were going to be so radically different in just a mere 48 hours. Temperatures were near 60 degrees in the northern sections of Central Alabama, while further south, it was even warmer with temperatures rising into the middle 60s in the Montgomery area. This led to the first forecast problem, the warmer ground and especially the warmer road temperatures.

As we went into Monday, a major change was taking place as yet another Arctic front was headed south across the area. Most of the region warmed rapidly during the morning through the mid afternoon hours, but just a few hours after sunset most locations had dropped well into the 20s with really dry air diving southward. In fact, several dewpoints registered in the negative digits. This drier air only served to re-enforce the already problematic forecast by making it difficult to determine exactly how long it would take to moisten the atmosphere on Tuesday. The issue of just how far north the winter precipitation would fall was also a huge concern considering the extrememly low dewpoints that were in place across portions of the area.

By early Tuesday, it was apparent that a lot of moisture was moving into the area, and those negative dewpoints were quickly rising. Meanwhile, the surface temperatures were dropping in conjunction with the heavy precipitation, and most surface temperatures were struggling to get past 20 degrees! This caused huge forecast headaches because the atmosphere had moistened so quickly that snow up north and sleet and freezing rain south were already beginning to reach the ground several hours earlier than anticipated. The next forecast issue was the colder than forecast surface temperatures that were allowing the snow ratios to be nearly 20:1, almost unheard of in Alabama. (Typically snow to liquid ratios are around 10:1 in our part of the country.) Thirdly, even though there was a lot of dry air across the northern half of the state, the snow rates were just heavy enough to allow snow to accumulate further north than originally forecast. Finally, and the worst impact of all – those warm temperatures from Sunday and early Monday allowed the first layer of snow to melt on contact and refreeze as a sheet of ice on all the roadways in the 20 degree weather. This led to all of the traffic nightmares across the entire area and people being stranded for many hours Tuesday!

In the end, Alabama State Troopers responded to 731 vehicle accidents across the state during the period Tuesday through Friday (Jan 28th-31st). Sadly, there were nine deaths attributed to accidents that occurred due to the icy road conditions. Snowfall totals across Central Alabama ranged from zero in the far northwest to 2-3 inches in a corridor from Chilton County northeast to Randolph County.  Prior to the snowfall, some counties in the southeast half of the state reported up to 0.25 inches of ice accumulation.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Twitter: Richard_wvua