We started out the weekend with a round of freezing drizzle and rain. While ice totals were light, it did lead to a few slick spots on bridges and overpasses Saturday morning.
A much more substantial round of freezing rain and ice is likely as we head into the start of next week.
It’s becoming clear that a substantial amount of freezing rain and/or sleet will fall over Northwest Alabama and Southern Tennessee starting Sunday night and Monday morning.
The primary precipitation types in Alabama look to be freezing rain and sleet.
That’s bad news, because ice can cause much more significant issues than snow can.
Prepare for what could be a significant amount of freezing rain accumulation (more than 0.25″) that could cause power outages and hazardous travel in Northwest Alabama and Southern Tennessee.
There’s a zone in the central part of the Tennessee Valley (Huntsville-Decatur-Athens) in which the precipitation types will change back and forth: potentially limiting the over-all impact. And then there’s Northeast Alabama: it will probably be too warm (relatively speaking) for significant ice accumulations, but it’s close: keeping an eye on it!
Timing on this ice?
The greatest chance of trouble on Monday morning will be west of the Huntsville area; however, as temperatures drop in the afternoon, the threat of freezing rain and sleet expands east into the Huntsville-Decatur area. That could mean some icy roads and bridges through Monday night and Tuesday morning.
NOTE: ice accumulation on highways is not something we can know easily because we do not know the temperature of the surface itself. The colder the air gets (especially lower than 29°F), the more likely it is that ice will build up on asphalt, concrete, etc. Elevated objects like power lines, tree branches, cars, roofs, etc. will be cold enough for accumulation before most roads.