The April chill finally wears off a little through the middle of this week but not before a cold night ahead. Expect low temperatures tonight in the 32ºF to 37ºF range with a light wind and a clear sky. Some frost is possible in the usual cold spots; however, this does not look like a widespread, destructive frost or freeze.
Warmer air starts moving in soon; we get a nice temperature ‘bounce’ on Tuesday. From a starting point in the 30s, most communities see afternoon temperatures hitting the upper 60s and lower 70s by mid-afternoon. Another weak cool front moves through on Wednesday, and that ends our warming trend with a small chance of some light, scattered showers.
Cold spots get…cold. North Alabama and Tennessee are full of ‘microclimates:’ small regions where the weather is not quite the same as the surrounding area on a consistent basis. That’s where our ‘cold spots’ come into play. For example, Guntersville (near a big body of water) shows an average final freeze date of March 27th; Valley Head (in a cold, deep valley between Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain) has an average final freeze around April 15th.
Expect some of the usual cold spots around Valley Head, Fort Payne, Russellville, Moore’s Mill, New Market and Fayetteville to have some frost and a light freeze in the coldest areas. Temperatures likely remain above freezing (but still cold) for the rest of the area early Tuesday.
Looking toward the weekend: Eleven of sixteen weekends in 2018 have featured rain: and a lot of it! Over 50% of the rainfall this calendar year has fallen on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s amazing when you consider that weekends only make up 32 of 106 calendar days through Monday!
This weekend brings yet another chance of some rain; however, we’ll get at least one ‘good’ day! Saturday looks dry and warm; Sunday’s outlook is grayer and wetter. The timing of the rain is still in question, but it looks like Sunday afternoon to Monday morning offers the best chance of some downpours. As much as 0.50″ to 1.50″ may come down in that period.
When will it warm up!? As of 2 PM Monday, Huntsville International reported a high (so far) of 49ºF making it the second-coldest April 16th on record. The formal high for the day would have to go over 53ºF to drop as low as third-place.
April has been cold to say the least, and there’s not much hope of ‘pool weather’ anytime soon. Huntsville usually hits the 90s by middle or late May, and at this rate, we’re not going to come in with any 90s a solid month early this time! Long-range guidance shows a strong ‘colder than normal’ signal through the end of April and first part of May.
Here’s the catch: ‘average’ or ‘normal’ is getting warmer, so being ‘below average’ doesn’t mean it’s going to be cold like it has been in the first half of April. It’s just not going to get extremely hot very quickly this Spring.