Some spotty accumulations could cause slushy travel at times from Thursday morning through early afternoon.
A broad area of rain moving northeast across Alabama into Tennessee early Thursday morning. The northern edge of that rain begins to mix with some snow and sleet, potentially changing to all snow, between 7 AM and 11 AM.
We have light snow from Monte Sano as early as 6am. Expect minor accumulations in the higher elevations.
What are the impacts?
- The wintry mix could be heavy enough at times to create some slush on bridges and elevated surfaces. Air temperatures remain well above freezing (as do road surface temperatures), so any slush would be short-lived confined to the heaviest batch of frozen precipitation.
- Your best chance for any accumulation of snow or sleet would be near and north of US 72 from Florence to Huntsville and in the higher elevations of Northeast Alabama (highlighted areas above).
- The chance of accumulation greater than 1″ is very small; however, it is conceivable than a few spotty areas of 2″+ snowfall could happen in a narrow band near the Alabama/Tennessee state line. Even in that ‘stripe,’ impacts to travel will be minimal and short-lived.
Huntsville’s temperature has been above freezing since Saturday morning. That’s important because conditions prior to a snowfall matter big time in how snow or ice could accumulate: especially on the roads.
We expect temperatures to only fall to the mid-30s under the ‘heaviest’ of the wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow. That’s it. To a wet, barely frozen snowflake, it might as well be 55ºF when the ground is warm and the air temperature is not quite cold enough. Yes, where it falls faster than it can melt some accumulations are possible, but the warmth will win out quickly when the snowflakes slow down.
Pavement and air temperatures get as cold as 33ºF to 39ºF. That won’t cut it unless the snow is very heavy.
What about after this? Ice Friday morning?
You know how this works by now. Roads that tend to stay wet following a healthy rainfall (this one will be around 0.3″ to 0.7″) will still be wet Thursday night. Temperatures plunge into the mid-20s by Friday morning, so any water on any surfaces exposed to that cold air will freeze solid.
Be aware of that Friday morning! Temperatures will be in the middle 20s. Winds will be up so some drying could take place as moisture exits Thursday afternoon.