Valleywx.com: Winter Storm Watch Through Thursday Evening

winter_storm_Watch

(WHNT) – A Winter Storm Watch for most of North-Central and Northeast Alabama is in effect through Thursday evening for Limestone, Madison, Jackson, DeKalb, Marshall, Morgan, Cullman, and Lawrence Counties in Alabama as well as Franklin, Moore and Lincoln Counties in Tennessee.

There is always a surprise with a system like this. Since they are high above the ground, we don’t have the ability to measure them very well. Satellites make it easier, but there are still gaps in the data because we don’t have a dense network of observations 4 miles above the ground.

What can the surprise be? It can be a forecast for rain that ends up being heavy snow or vice versa. Sometimes we may expect either rain or snow and get nothing at all. In other words, these kinds of systems do not show their hand very well before they get to us; they’ve got a great poker face.

The Bottom Line

    • It’s going to rain tonight – we expect another 0.25″ to 0.75″ of rain through Thursday morning.
    • Some snow is possible, but the amount is in question. With systems like this, we forecast something then stick our head out the window and do a lot of now-casting and adjusting on the fly.
    • Some communities above 1200′ in Madison, Jackson, DeKalb, Marshall, Etowah, and Cherokee Counties could get a very healthy snow exceeding 3 inches on the grass, rooftops, cars, etc. Roads may become slick as the heavier snow falls, but they would likely improve quickly as temperatures remain in the lower 30s.
    • In Huntsville, Decatur, Athens, The Shoals, Russellville, and Moulton – this looks like mostly a rain event with some periods of light snow or a rain/snow mix. Widespread travel problems are not expected except in the higher elevations of Madison County.
    • With all that being said, we reserve the right to change this on the fly. It’s really a very difficult kind of forecast.

-Jason Simpson, WHNT News 19 Chief Meteorologist

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