Winter Storm Warning: Freezing Rain, icy conditions expected through Tuesday morning

Weather

Winter Storm Warning in effect Sunday and Monday

The Winter Storm Warning in effect through 6am Tuesday. The impacts will arrive in two waves. The first wave came through Sunday night bringing sleet to the Shoals. A thin layer of freezing rain for areas just east of there. The second waves moves through around mid-morning through the afternoon.

  • Remember: Freezing rain means rain is freezing on contact with frozen surfaces, including the ground. This has a high impact for travel, especially along bridges and elevated roadways, especially for areas west of I-65.

Monday Timeline and Impacts

BE PREPARED TO BE STUCK WHERE YOU ARE FOR UP TO 48 HOURS.

BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES TO LAST 48+ HOURS.

It’s becoming clear that a substantial amount of freezing rain and/or sleet will fall over Northwest Alabama and Southern Tennessee early Monday morning through Monday evening.

The primary precipitation types in Alabama look to be freezing rain and sleet, however northwest Alabama will also experience additional snowfall on top of the frozen glaze from the earlier rounds of precipitation.

These are the most extreme impacts we expect, but you should be prepared for the worst case scenario.

  • Northwest Alabama: The wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet will arrive along the Mississippi state line after 6am and push through to Lawrence and west Limestone County through 11am. This is when the majority of the freezing rain and ice will form! Be sure to avoid traveling after 6am Monday.
  • Central North Alabama: Freezing rain will approach east Limestone, Morgan and Cullman counties around 10am; Madison and northwest Marshall County may also experience freezing rain after 10am through 12pm, but no later than 3pm.
  • Northeast Alabama: As of this writing, (liquid) rain mixed with sleet and a few areas of light freezing rain are expected after 3pm, continuing through 5pm. Monitor conditions throughout the day Monday, especially in higher elevations of Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain, as wintry precipitation my arrive sooner and be of heavier amounts than previously stated.

Monday’s Impacts: Freezing Rain, Icy Roads, Potential Power Outages

Prepare for what could be a significant amount of freezing rain accumulation (more than 0.25″ and up to 0.5″) that could cause power outages and hazardous travel in Northwest Alabama and Southern Tennessee.

This much freezing rain accumulation could cause bridges and overpasses to freeze over, forcing the closure of local roads and highways.

Freezing rain accretion on power lines can also cause them to sag due to the extra weight, pulling them closer to the ground and eventually breaking — resulting in widespread power outages. This would be make for a very cold situation for anyone without a power source for heat, and refrigerators as well as microwaves would also be rendered useless. Be sure to have non-perishable food available in the event of a power outage.

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 through Monday afternoon.

That could mean some icy roads and bridges through Monday night and Tuesday morning. Add sleet and snow into the equation and many roads may be too slick for travel for much of Tuesday and Tuesday night as well.

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.

Continuously monitor for updates

Don’t let this be the last time you check the weather online or on News 19! Due to the nature of winter weather (is there enough cold air? enough moisture?) weather conditions can change quickly and drastically.

If you can, try to stay in place Monday through Tuesday morning. If you must travel, check the weather before you head out — and monitor for any road closures and travel hazards as well.

Track freezing rain and snow showers with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! You can also get up-to-date, location-based alerts wherever you are on Live Alert 19. Download it today for iOS and Android.

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