Wet then Warm: feeling more like Florida in the Tennessee Valley for Christmas

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The chill of December is gone for now. Temperatures fell into the 20s and 30s Friday morning, but a warming southerly wind brings in a whopper of a weather change for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

That breeze will be a little chilly this evening as temperatures fluctuate between the mid-40s and lower 50s before 10 PM, but we see steady or slowly rising temps overnight as clouds move in and rain gets started. Understanding the chance of rain is critical to planning your Christmas Eve; it will not be a rain-out for the whole region. The best chance of rain is in Tennessee and near the state line in North Alabama; elsewhere, it looks warm with only a slim chance of some showers.

Guaranteed rain for some: That immediately sounds vague and ridiculous: “guaranteed rain for some.” It’s a true statement, though. Some communities are going to get soaked on Christmas Eve with more than an inch of rain; that’s most likely in Southern Middle Tennessee as opposed to Alabama.

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The 80% chance of rain for Madison and Limestone Counties as well as The Shoals refers to the chance of getting at least 1/10” of rainfall: enough to make it look and feel wet for a while. Even there, it’s not going to rain all day long Saturday.

Farther south, we’ll be hard-pressed to get rain in every square inch of Lawrence, Morgan, Cullman, Marshall, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, and even southern Jackson and most of DeKalb Counties.

Christmas Day: If you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland on Christmas morning, you will not want to look outside on Christmas Day. If you’ve ever been to Disney World in December and felt the Central Florida warmth: that’s what we are getting for Christmas Day. High temperatures top out near a record; we are projecting 73ºF on Christmas Day now, and that would tie the record high for December 25th set in 1987.

(By the way, the forecast for Orlando on Christmas Day is 83ºF: 11 degrees above average for them.)

Warm weather: ridges like this keep it warm and dry

Warm weather: ridges like this keep it warm and dry

Looking into next week: A strong ridge over Florida this weekend flattens out and weakens some allowing the storm track to get closer early next week. That should bring some occasional showers with a weak cool front Monday into Tuesday then another wave of slightly more organized rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

We still expect a big surge of colder weather in time for New Year’s Eve, and don’t be surprised at all if you start hearing rumors of winter weather for next weekend. Some model guidance hints at it, but it’s far from a guarantee. One run of the GFS guidance pointed toward something of a light wintry nature by New Year’s Day; that’s a LONG way out, and it probably will change 20 times between now and then.

One GFS run from Friday, 12/23 showed potential for wintry weather by New Year's Day

One GFS run from Friday, 12/23 showed potential for wintry weather by New Year’s Day

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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