Winter storm watch issued for parts of north Alabama

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(WHNT)– A winter storm watch has been issued for parts of the Tennessee Valley ahead of Thursday morning’s winter weather threat. Areas included in the watch are generally along and west of I-65.

The greatest threat of significant ice, power outages, and hazardous travel looks to be in Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and extreme northwestern Alabama. That’s where temperatures drop fastest and precipitation will still be heavy enough to create some potentially serious problems.

This will be different than winter weather events earlier this season. For one, the ground is relatively warm now. Four-inch soil temperatures are in the 40s and 50s right now; the pavement temperature in downtown Huntsville at 2 PM was 47-48ºF. Travel impacts will be minimal if there is no “frozen” precipitation (sleet or snow). Freezing rain is rain that freezes on impact with a surface that is colder than 32ºF; that’s what we expect the majority of this precipitation to be.

We will continue to keep you updated in our newscasts on WHNT News 19, on WHNT.com and on Valleywx.com.

The winter storm watch text is posted below.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HUNTSVILLE AL
305 PM CST TUE MAR 3 2015

...SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM LIKELY ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST
ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY...

RAIN WILL BE ONGOING BEFORE AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT PASSES OVER THE
REGION ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. AS THE TEMPERATURES FALL BELOW
FREEZING...THE PRECIPITATION WILL CHANGE OVER TO FREEZING RAIN AND
SLEET OVER FAR NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE LATE
WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE PRECIPITATION WILL THEN SPREAD SOUTHEAST ACROSS
THE REST OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY THROUGH THURSDAY. TEMPERATURES
ARE EXPECTED TO BE BELOW FREEZING FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME
OVER NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE. AS A
RESULT...THERE IS A HIGH LIKELIHOOD OF BETWEEN ONE QUARTER TO THREE
TENTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATING ON GROUND AND ROAD SURFACES
OVER THAT AREA.

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HUNTSVILLE HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT
THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON.



* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY
  AFTERNOON ACROSS LAUDERDALE...COLBERT...FRANKLIN
  AL...LAWRENCE...LIMESTONE...MOORE...LINCOLN...AND FRANKLIN TN
  COUNTIES.

* ACCUMULATIONS...ICE ACCUMULATIONS BETWEEN ONE QUARTER TO THREE
  TENTHS OF AN INCH ARE LIKELY.

* IMPACTS...WIDESPREAD HAZARDOUS TRAVELING CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY
  ACROSS NORTHWEST ALABAMA AND SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE DUE TO THE
  ICE ACCUMULATIONS ON ROADS AND BRIDGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...



A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
157 PM CST TUE MAR 3 2015

...WINTER STORM EXPECTED ON THURSDAY...

.AN APPROACHING STORM SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO BRING ANOTHER ROUND OF
FROZEN PRECIPITATION TO NORTHERN AND CENTRAL ALABAMA ON THURSDAY.
AS A COLD FRONT MOVES THROUGH THE REGION LATE
WEDNESDAY...TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO RAPIDLY DECREASE BEHIND
THE FRONT. AREAS OF RAIN WILL BEGIN TO CHANGE OVER TO FREEZING
RAIN AND SLEET EARLY THURSDAY MORNING LASTING THROUGH THURSDAY
AFTERNOON. LOCATIONS IN THE WATCH AREA ARE FORECAST TO RECEIVE UP
TO THREE-TENTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE BY THURSDAY AFTERNOON.
TEMPERATURES ARE NOT EXPECTED TO RETURN TO ABOVE FREEZING UNTIL
FRIDAY AFTERNOON.

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM EARLY THURSDAY MORNING
THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON.

* EVENT...ACCUMULATING ICE IN THE WATCH AREA

* TIMING...FROM 3 AM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH 3 PM THURSDAY AFTERNOON.

* LOCATION...AREAS ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM MILLPORT TO
  BERRY TO GOODSPRINGS.

* ACCUMULATIONS...ICE TOTALS OF ONE-QUARTER TO THREE-TENTHS OF AN
  INCH ARE EXPECTED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.