Winter Storm Conditions Possible Friday & Friday Night… Thursday Update 9am #alwx @wvua23
January 5, 2017 Leave a comment
Good Thursday morning! We’ve had an interesting change in our overnight model data, with a trend wetter and colder on all computer models. In response to that, the National Weather Service has expanded the winter storm watch to include all of central Alabama. The winter storm watch includes these counties listed: PICKENS-RANDOLPH-SUMTER-GREENE-HALE-PERRY-CHILTON-COOSA-TALLAPOOSA-CHAMBERS-MARENGO-DALLAS-AUTAUGA-ELMORE-WALKER-BLOUNT-ETOWAH-CALHOUN-CHEROKEE-CLEBURNE-TUSCALOOSA- JEFFERSON-SHELBY-ST. CLAIR-TALLADEGA-CLAY-BIBB.
Here’s the latest. A deep upper air trough across the central and eastern US is providing very cold air across much of the US and deep south. An upper air disturbance tracking along the southern edge of the trough will kick off a weak surface low in the northern Gulf on Friday. Moisture and precipitation will overspread the cold air over central Alabama sometime Friday morning and into Friday night. A good portion of central Alabama will likely experience wintry weather with this event, with accumulations possible across a large portion of central Alabama as well. The low will cut across northern Florida and into the Atlantic by early Saturday morning, brining an end to the precip to Alabama. Models have trended further north with the precipitation shield and a bit colder, so confidence is higher for a winter weather event. Could it still change and not amount to much, yes. However, at this moment, confidence is much higher on winter weather problems across a portion of central Alabama.
Where and what time: Areas along and north of I-20 from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Anniston should have all snow with this event. The further north of I-20, the lighter the snow and lower accumulations. Only a dusting to 1 inch at best is possible along the HWY 278 zone from Hamilton to Cullman, increasing amounts closer to Gadsden. Along I-20 looks to be the “sweet spot,” where snow accumulations may be maxed out. There could easily be some 2 to 3 inch snow amounts near the Tuscaloosa area, stretching east towards Birmingham and Anniston. That zone could easily shift north or south, so keep checking back in with us for updates. If this indeed occurs, travel issues would become likely sometime Friday afternoon and last through Saturday morning.
Areas south of I-20 (south of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Anniston) to areas near the HWY 80 corridor (to near Demopolis and Selma), the precip will likely start as a mixture of rain, freezing rain and sleet, transitioning to snow at some point Friday afternoon into Friday night. Snow amounts will be higher closer to I-20 and lower the further south near HWY 80. Some of you in this zone may get little to no accumulation, with some getting up to 3 inches. The transition will work southward through the afternoon and overnight hours, as deeper cold air progresses southward with time. The best chance of getting accumulating snow on the ground will be to the north of HWY 80, but snow accumulations are possible as far south as Linden by Friday afternoon into Friday night. If this indeed occurs, travel issues would be likely sometime Friday afternoon and last through Saturday morning.
This is an evolving situation and could easily change as the event approaches our area. It is very important to keep checking back with me for updates incase of sudden forecast changes. As you know, forecasting winter weather in Alabama is incredibly challenging. Any tiny change in the track of the surface low or uplift/moisture/cold air combination could easily prevent or produce winter weather in your area.
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