CLOUDY, COLD MORNING: Temperatures are generally below freezing early this morning in areas north and west of Birmingham, where snow was falling at this time yesterday. Keep in mind a little patchy black ice is possible on bridges there, but elsewhere we are seeing mostly mid to upper 30s at daybreak. We expect some gradual clearing this afternoon, especially over West Alabama, as dry air slowly pushes into the state. The high today will be in the 44-49 degree range; the average high for January 12 at Birmingham is 53.
An upper low now over Texas will move over Alabama tomorrow, but at this point the air looks too dry for any meaningful rain. Odds of any one spot getting wet tomorrow are only 5-10 percent; otherwise the day will feature a mix of sun and clouds with a high in the low 50s. The warming trend continues Thursday; the sky will be partly to mostly sunny with a high between 55 and 58 degrees.
FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: A cold front will pass through early Friday morning. It will bring clouds, but again the air seems too dry for any really significant precipitation. We will mention just the chance of a few isolated showers during the morning, but most places will be dry. Temperatures will likely fall during the day Friday as colder air returns; they settle into the low 40s by afternoon with a chilly north wind.
The weekend looks cold and dry. Partly sunny Saturday and Sunday with morning lows in the upper 20s, and highs in the mid to upper 40s. Clouds will increase Sunday night with a disturbance moving in from the west; that feature could bring some light rain to South Alabama Sunday night.
NEXT WEEK: The quiet weather pattern continues. The week looks generally quiet, although a disturbance could squeeze out a little light rain late Wednesday or Wednesday night. Temperatures will be fairly close to average for mid-January with highs around 50 and lows around 30. No sign of any winter weather problems, bitterly cold air, heavy rain, or severe storms around here for the next 7-10 days. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
ON THIS DATE IN 1982: Birmingham experienced one of its worst winter storms of the twentieth century as snow swept into Central Alabama about midday on January 12, 1982. Morning forecasts had called for a winter storm watch for occasional sleet and freezing rain that would arrive by sundown. But, freezing rain and snow arrived about 8 hours earlier than anticipated in the Birmingham area that turned roads in skating rinks. Thousands of motorists had to abandon their vehicles on roads and hike home or spend the night in shelters. Brookwood Village mall became a huge shelter. So many wrecks occurred that the Birmingham Police Department could not answer the calls for accident investigation.
As temperatures hovered near the freezing mark through the night, freezing rain created a thick coating on all exposed objects. Trees snapped, pulling down power lines and putting as many as 750,000 Alabamians in the dark. A state of emergency was declared and National Guard Armories were opened to serve as shelters. It was a catastrophic ice storm; when it was all said and done, twenty Alabamians were dead and another 300 injured and damage totaled $78 million.
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!