Wednesday Morning, February 21, 2018
Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson/Meteorologist Ben Smith

Record-setting warmth continues, rain and storms still likely soon

Spotty showers around this morning won’t amount to much, and it stays warm and humid. Expect lows in the middle 60s. Today looks like another record-setter with a high of 79ºF (record: 76ºF in 1922). The bulk of our expected rain stays northwest of Alabama through most of the day; however, some scattered showers are possible at almost any time.

Rain becomes more likely as the day wears on; look for more widespread rain and a few locally-heavy thunderstorms in Northwest Alabama from noon to 5 PM.  Those heavier showers and storms spread eastward into the Huntsville-Decatur-Athens area between 3 PM and 7 PM and continue working east toward Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain through the late evening hours.  A few storms could produce some small hail and gusty winds, so we’ll keep a close eye on them!

Some changes to rainfall expectations: A strong ridge over the western Atlantic ‘protects’ us from the heavy rain and storms happening northwest of us through Wednesday afternoon. It will lose some influence allowing that rain to get a little closer Wednesday evening through the day on Thursday. Earlier expectations of over 2-3” of rainfall were a little over-done; the ridge won’t give enough ground for that heaviest rainfall to affect all of North Alabama and Tennessee, so we’re reducing average amounts to around 1/2” to 1” through Thursday evening.

Any storms with this? They are possible, but we don’t expect widespread heavy or severe thunderstorms on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Drier Friday, storms likely over the weekend: Some isolated showers are still possible early Friday, but most of the day looks dry and warm with some afternoon sunshine. We may come close to another record, but Friday’s record is also the all-time warmest temperature in February: 83ºF set on February 23, 1996.

The first half of Saturday looks dry, but rain and some thunderstorms develop in the afternoon and evening. Some strong storms could develop as early as 5 PM to 9 PM over Central and West Alabama, but the greatest threat of strong/severe storms for North Alabama comes from around midnight to 5 AM Sunday. That’s when a band of intense thunderstorms sweeps across Alabama and Tennessee near a cold front. Some strong, damaging winds are possible; tornadoes might also spin-up in the highly-sheared environment late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

We’ll keep you posted!

Tennessee Valley Forecast:

TODAY: Partly to mostly cloudy. Breezy and warm. Record warmth again (Record 76ºF in 1922). Few showers early; rain and some thunderstorms becoming likely in the afternoon and evening. High: 79. Wind: S 10-20. Rain: 40% (late).

TONIGHT: Rain and some thunderstorms likely. Some rain may be heavy at times over Northwest Ala. and Tenn. Low: 68. Wind: S 5-10. Rain: 60%.

THURSDAY: Periods of rain and a few thunderstorms in the area. Wet weather lingers around all day into Thursday night. High: 77. Wind: SE 5-10. Rain: 70%.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Showers still likely, gradually tapering off early Friday morning. Low: 67. Wind: S 5-10. Rain: 40%.

FRIDAY: Showers possible mainly in the morning. A warm, partly sunny afternoon. High: 79. Wind: S 5-10. Rain: 10%.

SATURDAY: Breezy and warm. Some scattered showers possible during the day. Rain more likely with some embedded thunderstorms Saturday night. Some storms may be severe! High: 80. Wind: SW 10-20. Rain: 50%.

SUNDAY: Strong storms possible before sunrise; partly sunny, breezy and mild in the afternoon. High: 68. Wind: WNW 10-20. Rain: 70% (early AM).

MONDAY: A few morning showers possible; mild with some sun in the afternoon. High: 64. Wind: N 6-12. Rain: 20%.

TUESDAY: Partly cloudy. Chilly early; mild in the afternoon. High: 65. Wind: SE 5-10.

WEDNESDAY: Becoming more humid, clouds thicken, and rain moves back into the region. High: 66. Wind: SSE 7-14. Rain: 50%.

THURSDAY: Cloudy and mild. Rainy periods expected throughout the day. High: 63. Wind: SW 6-12. Rain: 50%.