Valleywx.com: Light Freezing Rain/Sleet Possible – Snow Thursday?

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It will continue to be a soggy day as moisture continues to stream northward from the southwest. Temperatures have warmed above the critical freezing temperature, so just rain is expected during the rest of the daylight hours. After peak heating and especially after the sun sets, temperatures will start to cool back to near freezing, particularly around the Shoals and north into southern middle Tennessee. There is the concern for more light ice accumulation, mainly on elevated and metallic surfaces (trees, power lines,vehicles, light poles), similar to yesterday, with isolated slick spots on the roads (mostly bridges, overpasses, sidewalks) overnight into early Wednesday.  Any slick spots on roads that develop will melt once temperatures warm above freezing Wednesday.

Low clouds, fog, mist and rain have already been limiting visibility and hindering driving, along with the wet roads…as temperatures dip near to below freezing in Northwest Alabama and adjacent southern middle Tennessee, that’s when slick spots could form and driving could become even more hazardous than it already is, so please use extreme caution driving and take it slow.  On top of potential ice, due to the saturated ground from the recent rain, runoff and more rain could cause creeks, streams and rivers to swell even more, so be cautious of flood roadways and never drive across a flooded road.  For the latest on Flood Watches and Warnings click here: Flood Watches & Warnings.

Rainfall totals have ranged between 2-4″ over the past few days, with some areas in the Tennessee Valley already nearing 7″of rain so far in the new year.  For more information on rainfall totals since December 1st and January 1st and the wet winter, click here: Rainfall Totals. 

Snow continues to look like a possibility Thursday as an upper low develops to our west will track northeast across north/central Alabama, though the exact track and strength of the upper low still remains in question. Even with temperatures forecast to be above freezing Thursday, dynamic cooling within the cold core low could change the rain to snow.  Therefore wet snow could mix in with rain, or a transition to all snow.  Models vary with the potential snowfall totals, below are the NAM and GFS.

There are still a lot of question marks with this disturbance, so it is difficult at this time to determine exact snowfall amounts. I think it is safe to say that a dusting to 1″ is possible across the Tennessee Valley, with isolated higher amounts, especially if a heavy band develops and tracks across the area.  Factors that could limit snow accumulation is still the somewhat warm and also wet ground, but still light accumulations are a pretty high probability somewhere in the Tennessee Valley. The wet ground should help to prevent widespread travel issues as well.

- Jennifer Watson, WHNT News 19 Meteorologist

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