Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

With Colder Air Already Here And Rain On The Way, Could Snow Follow?

Temperatures dropped 18 degrees between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon and we have no true warm-up in sight! With cold air taking over and rain expected on Saturday, you might be wondering if any rain could become snow. It probably will snow… but only thousands of feet above our heads! Then the snow will melt back to rain by the time it reaches the ground.

Determining if it rains or snows:

One of the tools we can use to determine if snow will actually fall over us is a Skew-T. This is a chart that maps the temperatures at different height levels of the atmosphere. Usually the chart will show the temperature at pressure levels, since pressure decreases with height. Then we can use the weather conditions to estimate how high up a pressure level is in kilometers, miles, or feet. This way we can see how far up we have to go to find where the temperatures drop below freezing.

At midnight Friday night the melting level (the point at which snow will begin melting) will be about 5,000 feet above Huntsville. That number only gets higher as we head into Saturday morning; by 6AM Saturday, the melting level will be closer to 6,500 feet above Huntsville. That means any snow that develops will melt back into rain thousands of feet above the ground. So, no snow for us yet!

To get more details on Saturday’s rain chances check out our forecast discussion. You can also use the discussion page to keep up with the weather so you’ll know as soon as possible if/when snow makes an appearance in our forecast this season!