Valleywx.com: Afternoon Update on Rain, Cold and Snow

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It’s been a very wet, cold day around here! Rainfall totals over the past 24 hours (through 3 PM) look like this:

Fischer Crossroads: 3.51″
Henagar: 3.46″
Flat Rock: 3.26″
Buck’s Pocket: 3.08″
Albertville: 3.06″
Aldridge Creek (Huntsville): 2.35″
Lim Rock: 2.23″
Town Creek: 2.11″
Moulton: 1.94″
Russellville: 1.83″
Florence: 1.42″

The latest model guidance confirms what we’ve been expecting all along – a change from light rain to light snow starting around or just after 8 PM (in The Shoals) and little or no *significant* accumulation around here. The best chance of seeing white ground on Wednesday morning is in the higher terrain above 1000′ in elevation: Monte Sano, Keel, Brindlee, Sand, and Lookout Mountains in northeastern Alabama as well as some of the higher mountains east of Birmingham.

A few slick areas are possible early Wednesday while the heavier snow is falling, but warm ground conditions and a gusty northwest wind should help clear any icy spots as the morning wears on. Travel on I-65 and US 72 through North Alabama should be fine; however, highways and secondary roads on the mountains could provide a challenge for a few hours between 3 AM and 10 AM.

Should you expect a Snow Advisory or Winter Weather Advisory? Doubtful. The NWS Huntsville’s criteria for an advisory is at least one inch of snow. We should be short of that except for a few spots up on the mountains by morning.

The best chance of significant snowfall is in the mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina. If you are traveling that way after midnight tonight through Wednesday afternoon, you may run into some trouble spots. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has a map of road conditions; this will be your friend if you are headed to the mountains:

Tennessee Dept. of Transportation “Smartmap” Road Conditions

The NWS in Morristown, Tennessee (the office responsible for forecasting in the Smokies) has accumulations reaching seven inches in some of the higher elevations near the TN/NC border.NWS Morristown Snow Graphic

Snow in Alabama becomes less and less of a headline as you get to understand just how COLD it’s getting behind all of this. The wind chill (what it feels like) will be in the 10s and 20s all day long as temperatures barely rise above freezing in the afternoon. A hard freeze comes Wednesday night with low temperatures all the way down in the middle and upper 10s! For more on the *slight* warming trend this weekend, see the forecast discussion atWHNT.com/Weather!

-Jason
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