Heavy Rain Moves In – Colder Tonight

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Yesterday was the day of records with four set across the Tennessee Valley.  First Record High Minimum Temperatures were set in both Muscle Shoals and Huntsville.  The lowest temperatures in Huntsville Saturday was only 65 degrees, breaking the old record of 61 set in 2005.  Muscle Shoals only had a low temperatures of 66 degrees, breaking the old record of 63 in 2005.  Huntsville also set a new record high temperature Saturday afternoon, which was 72 degrees, breaking the old record of 71, set back in 1928.  Muscle Shoals didn’t break it’s high temperature record for Saturday, but it did break the rainfall record for the day, receiving 1.75″ of rain, which ties the old record of 1.75″ set back in 1989.

This morning has been another unseasonably mild and humid start to the day, with most morning lows in the low to mid 60s, about 30-35 degrees above what morning lows should be in mid January. A southerly wind persisted overnight, continuing to pump in Gulf moisture, along with a mostly cloudy sky, which kept temperatures mild.  High temperatures today will be in the upper 60s and low 70s.  Below are 10:00 am temperatures.


The warm and humid conditions will not last much longer, with an arctic cold front situated just off to our west in Mississippi, which will slowly move through the Tennessee Valley today and tonight, bringing with it a much colder air mass.  Check out the large temperature gradient as the cold air has already started moving east of the Mississippi River. Memphis, TN is currently at 39 degrees, whereas Huntsville is almost 30 degrees warmer at 68 degrees.


A band of showers and storms developed yesterday, along and just ahead of the front in Arkansas, this line of rain has been slowly moving east over the past 18-24 hours. Recent trends over the past few hours has slowed the progression of the line of rain, with the rain just ahead of the front tapering off some, with the bulk of the rain now along and just behind the front. It looks like the heaviest rain will hold off from moving into Northwest Alabama until early this afternoon.  Ahead of the heavier rain, scattered, generally light showers will continue to be possible.


Expect showers and storms to move into northwest Alabama this afternoon, which will slowly move east throughout the rest of today and tonight.  The heavy rain may not even reach parts of Northeast Alabama until after sunset. The delayed onset of the heavier rain will allow temperatures to warm into the low 70s, making our air mass more unstable. Despite this, the severe threat remains extremely low, with the main concern being a few isolated strong wind gusts. The greater concern will be the potential for heavy rain and flooding as showers and storms train over the same areas over the next few days.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for; Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone counties in Northwest Alabama until 6:00 am Monday morning.  A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect for; Wayne, Lawrence and Giles counties in southern middle Tennessee until 3:00 am Monday morning. With the ground already saturated in these areas from recent rain, and with another 1+” of rain possible over the next 24 hours, flooding is possible, especially near creeks, streams and in low-lying areas.  Another 1-3+” of rain is possible through Wednesday. As heavy rain continues to track across the Tennessee Valley over the coming days, flooding will be possible across the entire region.  Use extreme caution driving in the rain and never drive through a flooded roadway. Below is a look at the RPM model and estimated rainfall totals expected through Wednesday morning, showing areas along and southeast of I-59 possibly picking up 3-5″ of rain during that time.


– Jennifer Watson

Twitter: @JWatson_Wx

Facebook: Jennifer Watson WHNT