Cooler but not ‘colder’ weather arrives Friday

It’s official.  Huntsville has set a record high for a sixth-straight day: 86ºF at 1:32 PM breaks the record of 84ºF set in 2012.  There have only been two other streaks of record warmth like this in Huntsville’s records: five-straight days of record heat August 12-16, 2007 and seven-straight days September 3-9, 1925.

A cold front moving through the region tonight brings a small chance of some scattered showers.  The radar has been pretty quiet over-all, but a few communities could see as much as 0.10″ of rain.  On the other hand, most of us won’t see a single drop.  After this round of showers, there’s nothing-doing in the rain department for days.

Behind the front, temperatures drop into a more tolerable range for early November, but we are far from anything you might consider as “cold.”

Temperatures fall into the upper 50s Friday morning, and it only warms into the mid-70s in the afternoon.  That’s still about 5 to 10 degrees above average for this time of year.

Normal is 68ºF, so even a "cool down" doesn't get it cold

Normal is 68ºF, so even a “cool down” doesn’t get it cold

Drought Update: Extremely dry weather has caused an expansion of all drought categories in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor; 52 percent of Alabama is now considered to be in ‘extreme’ drought. All of north Alabama would need between 10 and 15 inches of rain to end the current drought, which now rivals the 2007-2008 drought in terms of severity.

Looking longer-term: The idea that some rain is possible next week is still on the table; however, don’t get too excited just yet.  The situation is very unclear, and it very well could end up totally dry for another 7 to 10 days in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee.

Whether we get rain or not, we do see improved odds of cooler air (maybe even “colder” air) in 10 to 14 days.  The latest freeze on record in Huntsville came on December 5, 1978; the pattern setting up for the second half of November looks favorable for a frost and/or a freeze before December 1st: maybe even as early as November 16-20th.

Backing up that idea: the midday Thursday GFS ensemble run is keying in on a scenario its European counterpart has been showing for a few days now:

GEFS temperature anomaly for Nov. 18th (produced 11/3/16)

GEFS temperature anomaly for Nov. 18th (produced 11/3/16)

That big blue spot over the South is a temperature anomaly of roughly 2ºC to 4ºC (roughly 4ºF to 7ºF) below average for a change.  The last time temperatures were below average for any extended period of time?  Nine days between May 13th and 23rd fell below average; it’s been well-above the norms ever since save a day or two here and there.

So what could that mean?

We may end up with a frost or freeze before November 20th; it’s not “likely,” but it is looking like a real possibility now.  GEFS temperature guidance puts 32ºF at around 30-40% probability on November 18th.

Need some specifics about the weekend or next week? They’re always online at WHNT.com/Weather and in the “Daily Forecast” section on Live Alert 19!

-Jason
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