Model guidance across the board is coming into line with reality on this winter weather set-up for tonight. From the beginning, we have not forecast or expected a major ice storm for North Alabama or Southern Tennessee. Some schools have strategically already delayed the start of the school day on Friday; you can see those updated as they come in here on WHNT.com.
While that is not a bad idea due to the chance of some patchy early morning ice, the threat is low enough that students should definitely go ahead and get homework done and prepare for tests: you’ll likely be in school by midday Friday!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about who gets what with this event. Here’s The Bottom Line:
- Be Prepared for a Glaze of Ice: Everyone in the Freezing Rain Advisory has a chance of some light freezing rain. That chance is best in northeast/east Madison, Marshall, Etowah, DeKalb, Cherokee, and Jackson Counties of North Alabama and parts of Lincoln, Franklin, Moore, Bedford, Grundy, Marion, Hamilton, Sequatchie, and Coffee Counties in Southern Tennessee.
- Most of us will just get rain: The vast majority of the Tennessee Valley will see rain on Friday morning that gives us no more trouble at 34-36º than it would have at 75º in the summertime. It’s those isolated spots (microclimates) in the higher elevations that could have a glaze to around 1/10″ of ice accumulation mainly on trees, power lines, cars, rooftops, etc. through 9 AM Friday.
- Temperatures Will Be Rising! As the Arctic air erodes in the morning, temperatures will be above freezing over most of North Alabama by 10 AM. Huntsville, Decatur, Athens, The Shoals, Cullman, Russellville, Hamilton, and Moulton should have no trouble whatsoever after sunrise in the morning.
- Today’s sunshine is a big help! A good sunny day helps to ward off major travel problems the next day. There is a lag time for temperatures to drop significantly on major highways, and we don’t expect it to be cold enough tonight for them to freeze. That means the Tennessee River bridges on US 231 and I-65 should be open and passable in the morning as well as the O’Neal Bridge between Sheffield and Florence.
This is not a major winter storm, and it does not have the same capacity to sneak up on us like that upper-air low did a week ago. Travel problems will be at a minimum overnight and Friday morning.
If you are traveling to Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville or Atlanta, there will be places between here and there that do have some worse problems.
Around here, we are using the hashtag #valleywx on Twitter to keep up with weather information specific to the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee.
In the Nashville area, you can follow the hashtag #tspotter on Twitter for updated information from @NWSNashville and @NashSevereWx. The #tspotter network is designed to relay information for Davidson and Williamson Counties in particular.
For the rest of Alabama, it’s #alwx, Georgia is #gawx, and Tennessee is #tnwx.