BIG CHANGES AHEAD: Today will be another fairly pleasant December day across Alabama as temperatures rise into the low 60s this afternoon. But, clouds will gradually increase, and rain moves into the state tonight ahead of a sharp cold front. SPC has parts of South and Southwest Alabama in a low end “marginal risk” (level 1/5) of severe thunderstorms late tonight…
A few storms there could produce strong gusty winds, and there is an outside chance of an isolated, brief tornado (the southwest corner of the state). For the rest of Alabama, strong gradient winds will develop overnight (not related to rain or storms). These winds could gust as high as 30 mph during the night, so be sure and secure any Christmas decorations that might blow away. Rain amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch are expected overnight as the cold front pushes through the state.
MUCH COLDER TOMORROW: Temperatures across Alabama go the wrong way tomorrow. We start the day in the 40s, but fall into the 30s with an icy north wind. In the colder air, some light sleet, snow flurries, and snow showers will be possible, but we are not expecting any meaningful accumulation or impact. The ground could become white on grassy areas across higher terrain of Northeast Alabama, but icy travel is not expected with temperatures above freezing and warm soil temperatures.
The sky will clear tomorrow night, and by daybreak Christmas we project lows in the 15-25 degree range over North/Central Alabama. Again, no travel problems are expected as roads will be dry by then. Then, during the day Friday, the sky will be sunny with a high between 36 an 42 degrees. There is a good chance Birmingham will stay below 40 degrees; it will be only the 12th time that has happened on Christmas Day since 1900.
THE ALABAMA WEEKEND: Saturday morning will feature another hard freeze; temperatures will again be somewhere between 15 and 25 degrees as the day begins. Then, we warm to near 50 degrees Saturday afternoon with sunshine in full supply. Sunday will be another mostly sunny day with a high in the mid to upper 50s.
NEXT WEEK: A passing disturbance could bring a few sprinkles Monday, but models have been trending drier with that feature. A significant storm system will move out of the Rockies at mid-week, and will have the potential to bring rain and strong storms to Alabama by Wednesday or Wednesday night… too early to know if severe storms will become an issue. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.
ON THIS DATE IN 1998: A major ice storm struck central and southeast Virginia and much of North Carolina beginning on Wednesday, December 23, and lasting until Christmas Day morning. Icy conditions caused injuries from slips and falls and numerous vehicle accidents. Ice accumulations of up to an inch brought down trees and power lines. Outages were so widespread with 400,000 customers were without power on Christmas Eve. Some people were without power for up to ten days.
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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!