Up front, this is not going to be a big winter storm, but it could be impactful if you have travel plans early Saturday morning. Since temperatures stayed in the 30s with almost no direct sunshine from Huntsville west today, the ground is cold enough to support a light accumulation of snow tonight. How much will we get? That depends on where you are; this will vary greatly from place to place. It’s all because of this batch of precipitation moving toward us from Texas and Louisiana (current radar loop):
The best chance of measurable snow comes after midnight, and that best chance is also mainly around The Shoals northwest into West and Middle Tennessee.
The midday NAM simulated radar forecast looks like it is doing a good job of representing the pattern of the precipitation. I’ll caution you, though! This is a model; most of what it is showing as green will come down in the form of snow instead of rain. It’s also not a perfect representation of where precipitation will fall…it’s just an approximation:
(Advance the graphics to watch precipitation move across North Alabama and Tennessee…notice how it fizzles out as it gets east of I-65):
The snow accumulation chart isn’t very good for this since the model thinks it will be partly rain, so we’ll look at the “QPF” instead – how much liquid the model is forecasting:
The snow ratio tonight will be around 9:1, so that suggests a pretty healthy one-half to one inch snow around The Shoals by morning. This will taper off as it moves into Athens, Decatur and Huntsville, and there may be very little left by the time it gets to Jackson County.
The Bottom Line:
If you have to be at work early Saturday, at a ballgame, at practice, or expect to be out hunting, do not take your eye off the ball. These “light” systems can sneak up on us quickly; it only takes a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation to have icy roads when you have cold ground like we do now.
Be sure to have your TV set on WHNT News 19 Saturday Morning so you can get the latest on this – if it’s a total bust and no snow falls, you are good to go. If there’s just enough to cause some headaches, we’ll be there to let you know where those problems are happening!