CLOUDY, COLD AFTERNOON: Most of the signifiant rain has moved out of Alabama this afternoon, but clouds linger. Temperatures remain well below average for mid-December in Alabama… temperatures are in the 38-45 degree range over the northern half of the state. Clouds will hang tough through the night for most places, and we expect a low early tomorrow in the upper 20s as cold air spills southward.
TO THE NORTHEAST: The major winter storm is unfolding as forecast; heavy snow will continue tonight into Pennsylvania and the Northeast U.S.. amounts over one foot are likely for New York City, and around 10 inches for Boston. This is a high impact winter storm that will be very disruptive.
TOMORROW THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The sky becomes mostly sunny across Alabama tomorrow, but the weather stays fairly cold with a high in the mid to upper 40s. We drop well down in the 20s early Friday morning, but then we warm into the mid 50s Friday afternoon with a strong December sun. Clouds return Saturday, and we will deal with some light rain at times Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Moisture will be very limited, and rain amounts should be a quarter of an inch or less. Sunday will be mostly cloudy, but generally dry. Highs will be in the 50s over the weekend.
CHRISTMAS WEEK: The weather looks dry Monday through Wednesday; the high Monday will be in the upper 50s, then close to 60 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday. A cold front will pass through Thursday with a chance of showers, followed by sharply colder air for Christmas Day. For now we are expecting highs in the 40s, and lows in the 20s Friday (December 25). For now we are not expecting any significant chance of snow with the frontal passage Thursday or Thursday night, but we are more than a week away from that and things could always change. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY: An F4 tornado tore through the southern part of Tuscaloosa, killing eleven people and injuring over 100. Nine of the fatalities occurred in mobile homes, one in a vehicle, and one in a commercial building converted to residential use. Six of those killed were females and five were males. Ages ranged from 16 months to 83 years old. The tornado was on the ground for a total of 18 miles, all within Tuscaloosa county. The tornado path was estimated to be 750 yards wide at it’s maximum intensity.
There was an excellent warning for the tornado; a warning was issued at 12:40 p.m. on that deadly Saturday, 14 minutes before the twister first touched down in a rural area southwest of Tuscaloosa near the Black Warrior River. The tornado crossed Alabama 69 near Shelton State Community College and Hillcrest High School; destroying a shopping center and many homes. The Bear Creek Trailer Park was hit, where many of the deaths occurred. The tornado moved to the east/northeast, south of Skyland Boulevard, and finally crossed I-59/20 near the Cottondale exit.
We caught the tornado live on our tower camera in Tuscaloosa; we were able to show live video of the twister on ABC 33/40 for almost 10 minutes as it rolled through the southern part of the city of Tuscaloosa.
Later in the day, the same parent storm dropped an F3 tornado which stuck the Coats Bend region of Etowah County, near Gadsden, detroying 250 homes and injuring 14 people.
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…