Data pix.

Wednesday Afternoon, January 22, 2020
Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson

Clouds thicken ahead of some wet weather through Friday

A cloudy sky leads to some rain soon!  While the weather stays dry on Wednesday evening, it’s likely that we get some rain – possibly mixed with a little sleet or snow at the onset – by the time the sun rises on Thursday.  Yes, a little wintry mix is possible; however, the light nature of the precipitation and temperatures hovering in the lower/middle 30s mean very little chance of any travel hazards other than wet roads in a few communities.

Rain gets more widespread and persistent through the day: especially in the afternoon and evening.  Afternoon commutes from work and school look a lot wetter than the morning drive.  Total rainfall through Thursday night and early Friday morning (when the rain tapers off) looks to be around 1/2″ to 1″ in all.

Looking into the weekend: Persistent rain moves out on Friday morning, but some spotty, light rain and low clouds linger on Friday afternoon and evening.  The weather looks drier to start the weekend.

Expect a cool, partly cloudy Saturday.  Daytime highs warm into the mid-40s with a chilly northwest wind.  It’s possible that a few leftover showers could pass through during the day.  We’re not forecasting a completely dry weekend, but rain looks sparse both Saturday and Sunday.

Another round of showers:  The unusually wet period lately (mid-December to mid-January) is over, but that doesn’t mean the rain shuts off completely!  December, January and February often bring a lot of wet and stormy weather.  From December 15 to January 20, Huntsville International Airport recorded a whopping 13.57″ of rain: the fourth-most on record in Huntsville for that period.

Rain on Thursday and Friday adds another 1/2″ to 1″ on average, but additional rainfall in the next seven to ten days looks relatively light and of little impact.

NOAA/WPC total rainfall through Wednesday, January 29th

Colder than average means what?  Winter is the most variable time of the year for Alabama and Tennessee.  Sure, we have ‘average’ data for Huntsville, Decatur, Muscle Shoals, Birmingham, Nashville, and so on, but an average January day is very, very different from an average summertime day!

July 11th is historically the least-variable day of the year in Huntsville; the standard deviation from average (think how warm or cold compared to a single ‘average’ temperature) is only 4.7ºF for the high and 3.3ºF for the low.

In other words, the normal range of temperature in mid-July is around 85ºF to 95ºF in the afternoon and around 66ºF to 72ºF at night (early morning).

January?  That’s a different animal all together!

It’s more than double the normal range for a summertime day on January 30th: 11.7ºF for the highest and 11.1ºF for the lowest temperature of the day.

That means an average late-January day usually runs between 40ºF and 62ºF for a high temperature; that’s between 21ºF and 44ºF for an overnight low.

So, the weather we’ve had this week (and the weather we expect through early next week is pretty close to ‘normal’ for late January.  The temperatures fall within those ‘normal’ boundaries for the foreseeable future.

The good news?  No extremes.  No severe cold, no unusual warmth, and no severe storms.

The bad news?  Well, if you’re hoping for snow, that’s not looking like a reasonable possibility anytime soon.

Tennessee Valley Forecast:

TODAY:  Partly cloudy and chilly. Highs in the upper 40s. Wind: SE 5-10.

TONIGHT: Lows around and just above freezing. Partly cloudy. Light southeast wind.

THURSDAY: Cloudy, chilly and wet.  Showers begin by sunrise – possibly mixing with some sleet or snow at the onset.  Rain becomes steady by midday and lasts through the afternoon and evening.  Highs in the low-40s.  Wind: SE 6-12.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Showers becoming widespread. Not as cold. Lows in the 40s.

FRIDAY: Cloudy and cool. Widespread rain ending between 5 AM and 9 AM. Spotty showers possible in the afternoon and evening. Highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s.  Wind: W 6-12.

SATURDAY: Cloudy, dry, and cooler.  Daytime highs in the mid  40s. Wind: NW 6-12.

SUNDAY:  Partly cloudy and a little bit warmer. Highs in the upper 40s and low 50s.  Wind: NW 5-10.

MONDAY: Partly cloudy with highs in the mid 50s. Wind: N 5-10.

TUESDAY: Partly cloudy and warmer.  Highs in the upper 50s to low 60s. Wind: SE 5-10.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 50s. Some showers possible. Wind: SE 6-12.

THURSDAY: Highs in the 50s. Showers possible. Wind: SE 10-20.

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