Close calls with wintry weather in early February

January ends in Huntsville with only 1.52″ of total rainfall and a whopping 0.4″ of measured snowfall. ‘Normal’ January snowfall is 1.1″ averaged out over the 1981-2010 climate period. The average temperature was -3.5ºF off the norm for the month, and that meager amount of rainfall is the fifth-lowest January rainfall total on record in Huntsville.

Deep eastern US trough closes off the moisture supply for North Alabama

Why? The same pattern that brought the cold shut down the normal storm track that would supply as much as 4″ to 5″ of rain in a typical January.

Rain is coming, and so is some colder weather for the end of the week.

While there’s a slim chance that some of Thursday night’s rain could briefly change to light snow as cold air moves in, there’s no reason to worry about any real impact from that. The cold is the real attention-getter!

Temperatures take a nose-dive into the 20s by Friday morning, and a stiff north wind makes it feel a lot colder than that! The ‘feels like’ temp at 6 AM Friday will drop as low as 5ºF to 15ºF with a north wind around 10 to 20 miles per hour.

Friday afternoon won’t be much better; even with sunshine temperatures only rise into the mid-30s with a ‘feels like’ down in the 20s all afternoon. We’ll warm up a little on Saturday as clouds move in ahead of the next round of rain; expect a high in the 50s.

Sunday offers a good chance of a miserably cold rain. Expect highs in the 40s Sunday afternoon with a good soaking of up to 1.00” of rainfall beginning early in the morning and tapering off by mid-afternoon.

Next week: There’s not much solid forecasting ground to stand on beyond the weekend outlook. A very fast-paced weather pattern throws a few curve balls in the next 10-14 days putting us close to some winter weather threats and some very cold air. It does not look like early January, but the next few weeks will definitely be interesting to watch!

How interesting?  Take a gander at this.  It’s straight model data which in no way tells you anything precise about the near-future.  I think this is probably overdone; however, it illustrates the pattern pretty well: an active jet stream with multiple shots of cold air coming south.  Storm systems ride that boundary between the cold and warm air bringing rain where it’s warmer and snow – maybe a lot of it – where it’s colder.

An active band of wintry weather likely sets up just north of Alabama and Tennessee through the first 7 to 10 days of February

North Alabama *probably* misses out on the snow this time; however, the pattern is definitely in place for one of those systems to produce something around here if the cold air gets farther south.

It’s not Thursday.  It’s not Sunday or Sunday night, but it’s not out of the question before Valentine’s Day.

The odds are long, but not zero.

Interesting to watch for sure!

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!