Winter Wx Discussion & 7-day Forecast Update… Wednesday Update – 4:15pm #alwx @wvua23
January 4, 2017 Leave a comment
Please take time to read all of this discussion and not just look at the map!
Good Wednesday afternoon! I think it’s safe to say that most people are talking about winter weather. It always amazes me how news of snow spreads like wildfire, even in the most minor events. We’ve had some significant events in Alabama’s history and one of those occurred 2 years ago, when many Alabamians were stranded on roads for hours. Winter weather forecasting is always a challenge in the deep south, and this event is more complicated that average.
A cold front will gradually push southward across Alabama Thursday night and Friday morning, transporting very cold air into the state. At the same time, a weak upper level disturbance will track around the base of the eastern US trough and will kick off a weak surface low in the northern Gulf. The track of the low, amount of cold air in place, how much moisture is available and uplift will be critical.
The GFS model has been very consistent in the idea of a swath of light snow on the northern end of the precip shield near the I-20 corridor. The ensemble members of the GFS agree as well. The 12z EURO increased the precipitation shield across Alabama, but still has little snow across central Alabama. The high resolution RPM and NAM have a thin band of light snow swinging across the northern portions of central Alabama, but not enough moisture to cause accumulations. However, given the setup and the track record of previous events, we must take this event with caution and account for the possibility of more moisture and stronger uplift than expected. I would rather warn you of the possibility of some snow accumulations, than play too conservative and end up with a mess on the roads.
There is a fair chance a band of snow sets up near the I-20 corridor Friday morning and remains through the overnight hours. If that is correct, snow accumulations would be likely in areas near Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Gadsden to Anniston, with lesser amounts outside of that zone. Accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible along I-20 and I-59, mainly near and points east of Tuscaloosa. If snow occurs, travel issues may develop as well, so keep that in mind anytime between 9am Friday morning and sunrise Saturday morning. There could be a wintry mix as far south as the HWY 80 corridor Friday evening and into Friday night, as colder air gets pulled further south. Again, the accumulations are only possible given the moisture, cold air and uplift is available across our area. This could easily turn into a cold and cloudy day with no snow accumulations. It is very important to keep checking back with us for updates, as forecast changes are very much possible.
The air will remain really cold on Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the 30s on Saturday and low 40s on Sunday. Lows will drop into the upper teens Saturday night and Sunday night. A slow warming trend will take over by the middle of next week.
For more updates, go to the weather blog at wvua23.com, scroll to the weather tab and click weather blog. Updates are also on our Facebook and Twitter page. My twitter is @RichardWVUA23 and facebook is WVUA23RichardScott
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WVUA Chief Meteorologist