Will he or won’t he? If your groundhog, opossum, or other mammal, marmot or marsupial of choice is in North Alabama or Southern Tennessee early Sunday morning, he’s probably seeing a shadow if we’re being completely honest with ourselves.
The official national groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania probably won’t see one because of clouds. ‘No shadow’ supposedly means ‘Spring is right around the corner,’ but there are exactly six weeks and four days until the first day of Spring (March 19th) regardless of shadow-seeing ground-dwellers.
Winter isn’t ‘over’ yet; we still have some cold days to go now and then, but we don’t see anything that looks like a major Arctic outbreak or winter weather threat in the near future.
February’s first week starts on a wet note: A spring-like warm-up early next week means several days in the 60s (maybe even a 70ºF reading here or there) from Monday to Wednesday.
Expect some scattered showers in this warmer air. Monday’s chance of rain is only around 10 percent; most of us won’t get a drop on Monday. Tuesday’s chance jumps to around 50 percent, but the best chance of rain and storms comes Wednesday (mainly afternoon and evening) ahead of a strong cold front.
The Storm Prediction Center outlines a risk of severe storms in the region on Tuesday and Wednesday; we’ll watch that threat in coming days to see if it becomes an issue for North Alabama and Tennessee.
Behind the front, temperatures fall back to a below-normal range: highs in the 40s to near 50ºF, lows in the 20s and 30s, and a chance of some spotty rain through Friday.
How much rain? While most of the significant rain falls on Wednesday alone, total rainfall from Monday to next Friday looks fairly heavy: up to 1.5” to 2” on average with some spots getting as many as three inches in all.
Friday’s WPC (NOAA) rainfall projection shows over two inches for most of North Alabama by midday Friday, February 7th.
If Huntsville gets exactly 2.58″ as projected here (estimated forecast value), we would be among the top ten wettest starts to the calendar year through the first week of February with over ten inches of total rainfall.