Winter Storm Potential: What to Expect on Friday and Saturday

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A Winter Storm Warning goes into effect for Northeast Alabama and Middle Tennessee Friday through early Saturday morning, and a Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for the rest of the Tennessee Valley. This is how the warning/advisory situation stacked up before 10 PM Thursday:

Winter

The WINTER STORM WARNING is a more significant alert than the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY. The counties included in it may have a period of prolonged icing; the advisory counties can expect lighter amounts of wintry precipitation.

Here’s how the timeline pans out for us as we see it tonight. The one thing you do NOT see here is the intensity of the precipitation. This will NOT be a re-do of the incredible 1985 Ice Storm . It probably won’t even be as bad as what happened in Tennessee earlier this week. That’s because total precipitation looks fairly unimpressive – only a tenth to a quarter-inch of liquid-equivalent for the Tennessee Valley.

The maps represent the type of precipitation expected; note that there are no amounts listed here.

Anything that falls will freeze, and with the kind of cold infrastructure we have right now, it won’t take much to cause some problems. We won’t be seeing a catastrophe, though, at least not in the Huntsville area.

There could be some significant icing (up to a quarter-inch) in extreme northern Madison, Jackson, DeKalb, Franklin (TN), Lincoln, Moore, Giles, Lawrence and Wayne Counties. For most of the Huntsville TV market, expect small amounts of precipitation – and therefore small amounts of snow/ice accumulation.

Well Why Did They Close Schools? That’s something I can’t forecast. I assume it’s a better-safe-than-sorry approach. The school systems don’t consult with us; they just report their decisions to us.

Don’t be surprised if your kids are sitting home most of the morning with nothing going on outside other than a cloudy sky and a cold breeze. The wintry precipitation is most likely from late morning/midday through the evening and overnight, but again, it won’t be extremely heavy for most of North Alabama. The worst of this will be in Tennessee and to a lesser extent, Northeast Alabama.

When Is It Over? We believe the threat of ice ends from southwest to northeast from Friday evening through sunrise Saturday. It will be a cool, rainy day Saturday. See the full extended forecast at WHNT.com/Weather.

-Jason
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