DRY THROUGH TOMORROW: Sunshine returns to Alabama in full force today; look for a high between 45 and 49 degrees this afternoon for most communities. The average high for Birmingham on January 28 is 55. Tonight will be clear and cold; we project a low in the mid 20s early tomorrow… some of the colder spots could see low 20s. Then, during the day tomorrow, the sky will be sunny with a high in the mid 50s.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: The day Saturday will be dry with a high in the low to mid 60s. After morning sunshine, clouds move in by afternoon, and rain arrives Saturday night. For now the air looks stable, and there is no risk of severe thunderstorms, and probably little thunder. The rain will end Sunday morning… rain amounts of 1/2 inch or less are expected. Clouds linger through much of the day Sunday, and temperatures will remain mild with highs in the 60s.
NEXT WEEK: Colder, drier air arrives Monday as high drop into the upper 40s. Then, we stay rain-free Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the 50s. Rain, and possibly a few thunderstorms, will return Thursday night and Friday; too early to know if strong storms will be a possibility. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
ON THIS DATE IN 2014: Light snow was forecast for North/Central Alabama as a winter storm approached Alabama… heavier snow amounts were expected for the southern half of the state where moisture was deeper. A “dusting” was forecast for places like Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. As it turned out, Birmingham would receive two inches of snow from the event. Light snow, but still more than a “dusting”. It turned out to be a “dusting of chaos”.
But, the big forecast bust involved impact, which is all that matters. We expected “no travel issues” for the I-20 corridor. Horribly wrong. As the light snow fell on the morning of January 28, it melted due to warm ground temperatures. But, the air temperature was only 18 degrees, and the snow melt immediately turned to ice. A flash freeze… something we have no experience with here. Roads were coated with ice, and turned into skating rinks. The 2 inches of snow had the impact of a major ice storm for travel, and as everyone left from work and school at the same time on ice covered roads, there was gridlock. Some were stranded on roads for over 10 hours. Many abandoned their vehicles and walked, look for shelter. There were nine deaths attributed to accidents that occurred due to the icy road conditions.
We often wonder if we should be in the business of forecast road conditions anyway; our training is all about what happens in the atmosphere, not ice accretion on roads.
For me, in terms of forecast busts, it ranks number two on the list in a 42 year career. Number one was the 1982 ice storm, a catastrophic event when ice and snow came in almost 8 hours ahead of forecast.
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 3:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!