Huntsville International hit 68ºF at noon Thursday (the high was 70ºF); by noon tomorrow it could be as much as 35ºF to 40ºF colder behind a strong cold front and a round of rain. That colder air changes some of that rain to a wintry mix and some light snow as early as mid-morning in Northwest Alabama with a gradual change from rainy to wintry eastward through early afternoon.
The Winter Weather Advisory is a relatively low-end winter weather statement; it suggests some wintry precipitation is possible, but widespread ‘heavy’ snow or ice is not likely. Some accumulation of snow, sleet and freezing rain are possible; however, don’t expect to see a more than a fraction of an inch (to as much as two inches in a few isolated spots) of a snow/sleet combo Friday morning to Friday evening. Some more snow showers move in late Friday night into Saturday morning bringing a light coating of snow to some communities; it won’t be an everybody-gets-snow situation.
Travel impacts? Most roads in the Huntsville area will be passable Friday and Friday night; the same goes for Morgan, Cullman, Marshall, Blount, Etowah, Cherokee, Jackson and DeKalb Counties in North Alabama. West of there: Lawrence, Franklin, Colbert, Lauderdale and Limestone Counties may see some accumulation of ice/snow on mainly secondary roads and bridges from around 7 AM through the evening. Anything that accumulates will stick around unless the wind (a stiff northwest wind at that – 10 to 20 miles per hour) manages to dry it up before it can freeze.
Outside Alabama, main highways in Lincoln and Franklin Counties in Tennessee should be ‘okay’ with a few exceptions. Travel to Nashville may be dicey Friday afternoon and evening; travel across North Mississippi and West Tennessee may be very difficult, and travel eastward to Atlanta or the Great Smoky Mountains looks mostly clear with the exception of where a brief heavy snow shower quickly covers a road.
The BIG headliner is the cold: Frigid air originating over Siberia comes in two waves over the next week: first punch this weekend, temperatures in the 30s for highs, teens for lows, and ‘feels like’ temps in the 0s and 10s; next punch Monday/Tuesday with a few more snow flurries.
This air looks as cold if not colder than anything we’ve had since Christmas. Be ready to protect pipes and outdoor pets as the extreme cold returns for another week.
——————————————– NWS Winter Weather Advisory Text ———————————-
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Huntsville AL
216 PM CST Thu Jan 11 2018
…Wintry mix of precipitation on Friday…
.A cold front and upper level weather system will bring much
colder air and a light wintry mix of precipitation to portions of
the Tennessee Valley Friday.
Including the cities of Athens, Huntsville, Scottsboro,
Lynchburg, Fayetteville, Winchester, Sewanee, Decherd,
Estill Springs, and Cowan
216 PM CST Thu Jan 11 2018
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 9 PM CST
* WHAT…Freezing rain expected. The ice will result in very
slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges, including
during the evening commute on Friday. Total ice accumulations
of a light glaze are expected.
* WHERE…Portions of north central and northeast Alabama and
southern middle Tennessee.
* WHEN…From noon to 9 PM CST Friday.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Temperatures will remain below freezing
through Saturday, so any residual moisture could refreeze and
cause slick travel.