First and foremost, winter weather in the south is tricky, at best. And I promise, what you want to happen versus what will happen rarely pan out. As you read this, you are in one of three camps. The “I absolutely want snow” camp, the “I don’t want any of that devil’s dander” camp, or the “I really don’t care” camp.
That said, I will give you the facts as I see them, as plain and simple as possible. I won’t hype up or downplay potentials for snow. I will share what I have, tell you how I come to my forecasts, and refine refine refine as we near said event(s).
This week we are looking at two different opportunities for rain/wintry mix. Each setup is also very different.
Starting with Wednesday, we will have a front move in late Wednesday night that will bring heavy rain. The rain begins after sunset Wednesday evening and continues into early Thursday morning. During this time, the front that is bringing the rain will also have some fast-moving cold air racing in behind it. That means some of the rain on the back edge could fall as sleet or snow.
Not to burst any bubbles, but Wednesday night into Thursday morning is NOT the snow event. There could be small ice potential EARLY Thursday morning along highway 278 from Hamilton to Cullman, as temperatures in our northwestern counties will briefly drop into the 20s, which could mean any wet roads would freeze.
This same cold front that brings us rain tomorrow will stall to our east Friday and an area of low pressure develops along the front and ripples across the southeast as it moves from the Gulf into the Carolinas. Late Friday into Saturday morning appears to be the window of opportunity for any winter weather mischief overnight Friday into Saturday morning. Those impacted in the CBS 42 viewing area will likely be in our far southern and Eastern counties, much closer to the Alabama/Georgia state line.
This event will not be a big snow producer for Alabama. It will be a much bigger deal to east, possibly east Georgia and into the higher elevations of the Carolinas.
Here is what we HAVE to be watching for. If there is a shift in the front, meaning if it drifts back to the north, that would INCREASE our chances for winter weather. The cold air is guaranteed, but we don’t have the guarantee of is moisture. Models are having a tough time agreeing on where this “stalled front” lands. The further south and east it goes, the less and less likely it is that we see anything.
No doubt, this is a system to watch. We will do our part as the CBS 42 storm team to actively analyze every model run and bring you new information as we get it. The hardest part with these winter forecasts over 5 days out, is there is A LOT, that can change. Winter weather requires so many variable to be just right that we have to look at what’s going on down here on earth’s surface, all the way up to 20,000 feet in the atmosphere. We’re monitoring melting layers, freezing layers, the depth of cold air, the winds, we are tracking it all. Every variable matters, making winter weather a challenge to iron out until about 24-48 hours prior to its arrival/onset.
Just know this. There will be a cold rain Wednesday into Thursday. And things look interesting for Friday into Saturday, but not cancel-your-plans interesting. As we get closer to the end of the week, our computer models will have much more information for us, therefore, our best and most accurate forecasts will arrive closer to Thursday night. stay tuned for updates! Have no fear, we will tell you everything we know.