July 12, 2024

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A Little Snow Now in Northwest and North Alabama

4 min read

Here is the radar from Birmingham with precipitation type turned on:

The light blue is snow and it is now falling from much of Marion County into western Winston County and across southern Lawrence, northern Cullman, and southern Morgan.

The forecast is on track. Our NWS offices in Birmingham and Huntsville have issued area forecast discussions which I don’t think can be improved upon. From Alex Sizemore at the NWS Birmingham:

Tweaked the winter graphic earlier mainly to highlight potential light accumulation in the higher terrain tonight. 1000-850 thicknesses still too high for snow, but layers above that are definitely cold enough. Nonetheless, some light rain mixed with snow will be possible through the overnight hours with any accumulation limited to grassy/elevated surfaces, as well as higher terrain. KBMX is in VCP 31 now. We’re seeing returns increasing from the west ahead of a vort max swinging southeast through western TN on water vapor imagery. Mt. Cheaha probably stands the best chance!

And this:

(Tonight through Saturday)
Issued at 756 PM CST FRI DEC 29 2023
Near-term forecast updates include increased PoPs north of I-59,
with RADAR returns really picking up downstream of a vort max now
moving southeast from western TN. Light rain is being reported at
many area observations, with light snow mixing in across portions
of northern AL as temperatures have cooled into the mid 30s at
those locations. Nonetheless, the forecast remains on track
overall with light precip impacting the northern half of Central
Alabama, with the heaviest across the northern two rows of
counties. This will include the potential for light snow
accumulation on elevated surfaces across the north, and in areas
of higher terrain. This quick-hitting system will not cause any
major impacts, and this is why there is no winter weather
advisory. Precip will spread west-to-east through the next
several hours as temperatures fall into the low to mid 30s

And from Huntsville as well:

Issued at 855 PM CST Fri Dec 29 2023
Very light rain, mixed with ice pellets and light snow at times
has developed over locations near and west of the I-65 corridor
primarily. This area of mixed precipitation is moving to the
southeast steadily this evening. It is associated with an upper
level disturbance that is moving southeast from western Tennessee
and into northwestern Alabama tonight. It has fairly strong upper
level forcing at 500 mb along with some weaker forcing around 700
mb. Thankfully, air temperatures are between 33 and 36 degrees in
most location with dewpoints basically in the same range. This is
good, because as long as this continues, we will see some light
snow or sleet at times mixed with rain that melts after it falls.
If these dewpoints were to lower, than freezing temperatures and
more effects from this mix of precipitation and accumulating
wintry precipitation would be a bigger concern. However, models
seem to have a good handle on this and are showing dewpoints
staying between 33 and 36 degrees overnight in most locations.
Even well upstream in the boundary layer over northeastern and
north central Mississippi dewpoints between 34 and 37 degree are
in place. Thick cloud cover and winds between 5 to 10 mph with a
few higher gusts should help to keep temperatures from dropping
much at all even if dewpoints do go slightly lower than expected
(but not expected that in most locations). Expect most of the
precipitation to fall between now and 2 AM, totaling less than
0.10 inches.
One caveat though overnight towards daybreak. Some models hint
that dry enough air could make its way into extreme eastern
Franklin county (TN), Jackson county (AL), and DeKalb county (AL)
around daybreak from the east. This could allow temperatures to
drop briefly around freezing in those locationsm, even if coverage
of any additional precipitation becomes very isolated to widely
scattered (which is expected). We will have to watch these areas
during that period for a very brief potential for slick conditions
(especially above 1300 feet). A Special Weather Statement or
other winter product may be needed, but will monitor temperature,
precipitation, and dewpoint trends for now. Overall, still expect
mainly dusting to up to one half an inch of snowfall at best in
the higher elevations above 1300 feet. However, confidence is very
low this will happen given observational and model trends.

Scott Martin will keep you updated the rest of the way tonight. See you tomorrow.

Bill Murray

2023-12-30 03:06:18

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